Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies

Second Department

Political Science

First Advisor

Lori J. Marso


Happiness, Feminist Theory, Freudianism, Firestone, Ahmed, Political Theory, Gender Studies, Psychotherapy, Feminist Political Theory, Right to Pursuit of Happiness


“What do Women Want?” My thesis asks whether women can genuinely seek freedom while also hoping for happiness. I look closely at how male theorists define happiness and liberty for themselves and for others, and in particular for feminized others. My two central chapters focus on theories of individual happiness, happiness sought through another or others, and the ways feminist thinkers reimagine happiness in relationship to women’s freedom. I apply feminist critiques to the concept of psychodynamic therapy as an anti-revolutionary tool designed to isolate and silence women into believing that coping with oppression is equivalent to genuine happiness. I argue that internal mental readjustment is a result of male-designed structures which force women to be happy with what makes men happy. Throughout, I engage the work of thinkers such as Sigmund Freud, Shulamith Firestone, Emma Goldman, Sarah Ahmed, Virginia Woolf, and Simone de Beauvoir.