Articles and Chapters

Verduzco-Baker, Lynn. Forthcoming. “ ‘I don’t want them to be a statistic': Mothering Practices of Low-Income Mothers.” In Journal of Family Issues-The Mother Issue.

Martin, Karin, Lynn Verduzco-Baker, Jennifer Torres and Katherine P. Luke. 2011. “Privates, Pee-Pees and Coochies:  Gender and Genital Labelling for/with Young Children”  in Feminism & Psychology, Vol 213

Martin, Karin, Katherine P. Luke and Lynn Verduzco-Baker. 2007. “The Sexual Socialization of Young Children: Setting the Agenda for Research”. In Social Psychology of Gender,  edited by Shelley J. Correll. New York: Elsevier Science/JAI.

Work in Progress

Verduzco-Baker, Lynn. “Teaching Social Problems Through Multimodal Projects.” Journal article.


Verduzco-Baker, Lynn. “No Excuses: The Power and Persistence of the Ideal Mother Myth.”  (working title). Book Manuscript.


Verduzco-Baker, Lynn. “Charmed Circle of Motherhood: Intersections of Race, Age, Class & Gender in the Construction of Good and Bad Mothers.” Revise and Resubmit for Gender & Society.

Abstracts for these publications are available here.

To download CV (pdf) click here.

I have a vibrant research agenda and am actively involved in professional conversations through conference presentations and scholarly publications. My work has been presented and published in both sociology and women's/gender studies venues.

Current Research

My dissertation research on low-income mothers and motherhood intervenes in academic, political and public discourses that position young low-income women, particularly young low-income women-of-color, as “naturally” bad mothers through the racialized, classed and gendered narratives of “welfare queens” and “teen moms”. These discourses affect policy and public opinion, which impact the lives and opportunities of low-income women and their children. 

Stereotypes about race, class, gender, age and sexuality together with statistics about teen parenting and children raised in poverty fuel media and policy makers’ assertions that young low-income women are too poor and irresponsible to properly care for their children. This discourse positions them as the opposite of good mothers, who have enough time, money and energy to provide their children with every educational, social and financial opportunity. 

Implicit in these dominant narratives is that no good mother would bring a child into a household with inadequate economic resources; and therefore, no low-income woman can be a good mother.

I invert the concerns expressed through dominant discourses around low-income teenage motherhood and instead ask: how do public discourses of motherhood in the U.S. affect women who became mothers while they were teenaged and low-income? 

My research approach to African-American and white young low-income mothers as social agents actively negotiating structural and cultural barriers challenges one dimensional views of teenaged mothers as social problems and creates an opportunity to understand how their perception of the role of mother is inflected by both the “good mother” ideal, which implicitly excludes them, and the “bad mother” stereotype ascribed to them.

My findings advance our understanding of how mothers stigmatized by their culturally assigned status as “teen moms” and “welfare queens” work to construct positive identities by partially embracing, sometimes resisting and often adapting the discourse of the “good” mother. Secondly, by allowing the meanings of the mothers’ parenting practices and logics to emerge from their narratives rather than through juxtaposition with middle-class norms, my analysis makes visible a previously overlooked version of intensive mothering. 

Furthermore, through close analysis of cultural discourses of motherhood and interviews with African-American and white mothers, I demonstrate how the embedding of gender, race, age and class ideologies within discourses of motherhood undermines young low-income mothers’ efforts to be recognized as good mothers and respectable citizens by the public and scholars.

Future Research

While conducting interviews for my dissertation project, I was struck by the intense desire expressed by nearly every respondent for a college education. The women explained that they wanted to obtain a degree in order to provide a better life for their children, however, although a few of them had completed a degree, most had attended college only briefly. 

Despite the concern expressed in public and political discussions about the statistical likelihood that young low-income parents will have limited prospects and continue to live in poverty as will their children, the emphasis of social policy has been on welfare to work and current policies fail to consider the barriers low-income parents face in accessing and completing college degree programs. 

My next project will shed light on statistics about low-income parents and expand beyond considerations of economic and institutional barriers as I investigate how cultural--in the form of gendered, classed and raced ideologies and discourses around parenthood (family), education and work--in addition to known structural and institutional factors affect how low-income parents think about, experience and negotiate institutions of higher education. 

Findings will further our understanding of how to help low-income parents gain access to higher education. Significantly, it will also challenge raced and classed discourses about low-income parents as it illuminates their desire for a college education and the complex factors affecting their successes and failures.

My personal and professional interest in helping low-income individuals to access and complete higher education leads me to welcome the opportunity to link this research agenda with recruitment/retention programs at Albion college.

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