Righting the metaphor: helping teen moms in the classroom rewrite the metaphors that define them
Humans use metaphors to help them understand and interpret the world in which they live. Constructed socially, metaphors pilot our conceptual systems and influence what we accept as truth. With respect to the teen mother, metaphors depicting irresponsibility, burden and dirtiness continue to dominate in North American society. Young mothers report feeling stigmatized by these images that exist with profusion in not only the media, but in many of their daily experiences, as well, leaving them feeling marginalized and like they must prove their worthiness to be the mother of their child. For the educators of this demographic which is, often, behind it’s age group academically, it is important to adopt pedagogy that empowers and emboldens; when young, mothering women are given the tools to talk back to the metaphors that have come to define them, they see importance in their learning, and develop a confidence that will make them more likely to rise up and disrupt the words and images that hurt them and their children.