“Yes I am a mother and I am still a teenager”

Teen Moms Use Digital Photography to Share their Views

in Girlhood Studies
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If we took the time to listen attentively and carefully to pregnant teenagers and teen mothers what would we hear? If we invited them to articulate their messages to the adults who interact with them, speak to those who judge them, and give advice to their peers, what would they say? Th is photo-essay addresses these related questions by presenting some of the findings of an arts-based activist research project called TEEN M.O.M. (Mirrors of Motherhood). One of the goals of the project was to examine how a media production program, implemented within the context of an existing community organization, can empower teenage girls in diffi cult circumstances to share their views. In a series of workshops, the participants were invited, off ered guidance, and equipped to produce their own images—digital photographs, drawings, and collage work—so as to make visible their views on the personal and social issues that aff ect them directly. (In this photo-essay we concentrate on their photographs and off er comments taken from their writing and from video-taped interviews.) For two hours each week for thirteen weeks, the project gave these young mothers time away from their daily responsibilities and provided them with a safe space in which to focus single-mindedly on creating their images. Th e project culminated in an exhibition in which their work was shown to members of the community, policy makers, family and friends.

Girlhood Studies

An Interdisciplinary Journal

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