Teenage Pregnancy Stereotypes Essays

Teenage Pregnancy Stereotypes Essays-79
By reading and critiquing selected novels about teen pregnancy, pregnant teens can learn to critique and to complicate the stereotype of the wild, unintelligent, lower-class teen who becomes pregnant.They can also learn to challenge the stereotype of the teenaged welfare queen, thus developing, perhaps, some intellectual armor against those who see young mothers only in these stereotyped ways.Boys might be interested as well in arguing against some of the ways male characters are depicted in these novels.

What are some of the ways pregnant and mothering teens, in particular, might use young adult novels on this subject?I read the texts discussed herein thinking primarily of the ways pregnant and mothering teens I've taught might respond to them, but it's clear that many of these novels were not written for pregnant or mothering teens.Thus girls who are not pregnant and boys who are not fathers can learn from reading and discussing these young adult books, too.In part I chose some of these books because they were ones that the teen moms whom I taught particularly liked.Others I chose because I wish I'd had them to use when I taught those girls.Readers can be helped to think critically about gendered expectations (Cherland 174) when texts are mediated through thoughtful discussion.The image of the pregnant teen and the teen mom has become a focal point where societal anxieties about female power and about poverty, sex, youth and race have coalesced (Luker 12-13).Being a teen mom myself opened my eyes to many things.I got pregnant, partially out of choice - I thought that a baby would bring me and my fiancé closer together. There was nothing that my parents or anyone else could have said to stop me from having sex.Though about a third of the students I taught during my time working with young mothers were African American, I've found only two YA novels written by and about African American women dealing with early sexuality and pregnancy.In "Images of Black Females in Children's/Adolescent Contemporary Realistic Fiction," Deirdre Glenn Paul indicates that young adult and children's novels featuring White heroines refer to sexuality and bodily development more than twice as often as do novels featuring African American heroines.


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