My project builds off the work of Sara Ahmed, specifically her writing on gender and happiness, to examine gendered mechanisms of happiness through sub-feelings. I conducted summative content analyses of three women's magazines (Cosmopolitan, Essence, and Lesbian News), each marketed to a different demographic, to explore the marketing of happiness and the way normative happiness is both reflected and created through these norms. In order to do this, I created a list of keywords from the work of Ahmed and positive psychologists and compared how often and in which contexts those words were used in each publication for one issue every other year between 1990 and 2000. I interrogated how Ahmed and other feminist and queer theorists have responded to the work of positive psychologists in order to understand the implications of socially-marketed happiness on non-normative groups. I expected to find that Essence and Lesbian News would both be less likely than Cosmopolitan to engage coercively with normative happiness, and would either critique or reject it.


Craven, Christa

Second Advisor

Garcia, Amber


Psychology; Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2016 Sarah R. Freeman