Acquisition of Reproductive Health Knowledge: How girls in Georgia learn about their reproductive bodies Restricted; Files & ToC

Chen, Michele (Fall 2021)

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Over half of Georgia’s population experiences reproductive processes that occur to cis-women and nearly every individual in Georgia knows of someone who is experiencing it, however there are few formal discussions about this topic. Data has shown the damaging effects of American societal stigma of women’s reproductive health on a woman’s self-confidence as well as the influence of societal expectations of women on individual behavior, however not much data is collected investigating how girls and women navigate society to care for her reproductive bodies. This study uses a mixed method study to investigate, how, where, and what types of information college aged girls use to learn about their reproductive bodies. A survey asking questions regarding reproductive health knowledge and behavior related to school, religion, family, online searches, and overall confidence was collected, and eleven semi-structured interviews were held. It was found that to care for their bodies, girls act alone in knowledge acquisition, but as they begin to be more comfortable with their bodies, they converse with their peers about their bodily functions. Throughout their entire reproductive health trajectory, girls adapt their bodies and their behaviors to fit what is expected of them from societal reinforcing the idea that being a woman is challenging stigma while meeting expectations.  This research offers a unique perspective on how knowledge in different environments are set up to reinforce independent and social methods of knowledge acquisition, the changing meanings of womanhood, and provides an insight in how knowledge is acquired, and stigma is acted on.

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