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Embodying the Problem: The Persuasive Power of the Teen Mother.

Embodying the Problem: The Persuasive Power of the Teen Mother

Jenna Vinson

Rutgers University Press

106 Somerset St., 3rd Floor, New Brunswick, NJ 08901

9780813591018, $95.00, HC, 256pp,

Synopsis: The dominant narrative of teen pregnancy persuades many people to believe that a teenage pregnancy always leads to devastating consequences for a young woman, her child, and the nation in which they reside. In "Embodying the Problem: The Persuasive Power of the Teen Mother" Jenna Vinson (Assistant Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell) draws on feminist and rhetorical theory to explore how pregnant and mothering teens are represented as problems in U.S. newspapers, political discourses, and teenage pregnancy prevention campaigns since the 1970s.

Professor Vinson shows that these representations prevent a focus on the underlying structures of inequality and poverty, perpetuate harmful discourses about women, and sustain radicalized gender ideologies that construct women's bodies as sites of national intervention and control.

"Embodying the Problem" also deftly explores how young mothers resist this narrative. Analyzing fifty narratives written by young mothers, the recent #NoTeenShame social media campaign, and her interviews with thirty-three young women, Professor Vinson persuasively argues that while the stigmatization of teenage pregnancy and motherhood does dehumanize young pregnant and mothering women, it is at the same time a means for these women to secure an audience for their own messages.

Critique: A considerably impressive work of original and erudite scholarship, "Embodying the Problem: The Persuasive Power of the Teen Mother" includes three Appendices, eighteen pages of Notes, a fourteen page Bibliography, and a nine page Index. While unreservedly recommended for both community and academic library Contemporary Parenting collections in general, and supplemental studies lists, it should be noted for students, academics, and non- specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Embodying the Problem: The Persuasive Power of the Teen Mother" is also available in a paperback edition (9780813591001, $29.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $28.45).

Susan Bethany


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Author:Bethany, Susan
Publication:Reviewer's Bookwatch
Date:Dec 1, 2017
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