Do (Not) Follow in My Footsteps

How Mothers Influence Working-Class Girls’ Aspirations

in Girlhood Studies
Author: Melissa Swauger
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This article examines how working-class mothers influence their daughters' aspirations. Data was gathered from focus groups and interviews with twenty-one white and African American working-class girls and fifteen of their mothers from Southwestern Pennsylvania, United States. Research revealed that the mothers' advice is gendered, class-based, and racialized, and that it emphasizes the importance of caregiving, living near family, and financial independence and security. Qualitatively examining the messages related to work and family that working-class mothers relay to their daughters and how daughters take in these messages shows the contradictions that emerge when working-class mothers support aspiration formation.

Girlhood Studies

An Interdisciplinary Journal

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