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Title: Exploring conceptions and discourses of gender, sexuality and pregnancy amongst Mexican adolescents
Author: Weil-Behar, Miriam
ISNI:       0000 0004 7231 4092
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2016
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This research, undertaken in a public hospital in Mexico City in the late 1990s, explores how the power dynamics of gendered subjectivities and how dominant discourses of gender- that is femininity and masculinity- influence the high rate of teenage pregnancies amongst working and lower middle class young adolescents. The findings suggest that gendered discourses and expectations strongly influence adolescents ́ views of education, work, sexuality and contraception, teenage pregnancy and parenthood. In particular, the thesis shows that gendered expectations about reproductive capacities- organised around binary and hierarchical constructions of femininity and masculinity- as well as the importance of the relationship with a man for teenage girls, strongly shape young women and men ́s attitudes towards sexual practices and contraception use. Although the findings generated by this study are from 1994- 1997 they remain relevant, given that Mexico is still at the top of the list for adolescent pregnancy among the countries members of the OECD (2014). Health and educational programmes have not rendered any significant results in lowering the percentage of teenage pregnancy in this country in 39 years (Lovera, 2015). An important observation is that National strategies to prevent teen pregnancies do not include specific points of action around how dominant gender discourses shape adolescents ́ lives. The original contribution of this thesis is to show the importance of understanding how gender influences views on teen pregnancy in this context. The study demonstrates in detail how adolescents negotiate dominant gendered discourses related to sexuality, contraception and parenthood, considering if and when discourses of gender, sexuality, femininity and masculinity may be shifting and how. Overall, most teenage boys in this study still refer to their active sexual practices and their role as provider in the family to define their reproductive identities, while young women seemed to comply with dominant moral expectations of sexually passive femininity, defined mainly through motherhood. However, the findings also highlight how resistance to dominant gender discourses can take place particularly with recognition of teenage girls as sexual beings with needs and desires.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available