Author: Ng, Cara
North American adolescent girls have tremendous anxieties about food and their bodies. But what form do these anxieties take when adolescence overlaps with motherhood? One-on-one semi-structured interviews with 10 teenaged mothers were conducted in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia and voice-centred methodology was used to analyze interview transcripts. Stretch marks, weight gain, and change in breast shape from breastfeeding were cited as reasons for corporeal distress. Some participants desired a return to their ‘skinnier’ selves. While participants were able to express frustrations with their bodies, they had difficulty identifying the social context that gives rise to these concerns. Acquiescence, resistance, and contradiction are the three keys ways teen mothers engaged with dominant discursive constructions about eating and the body. To stem the tide of body and eating anxieties, schools with teen mom programming could add a body image component to the curriculum, employing a ‘Health at Every Size’ approach.
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Thesis advisor: Morrow, Marina
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