Honors Theses

Date of Award


Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis



First Advisor

Susan Grayzel

Relational Format



This work explores the discourse of adolescent sexuality and desire presented to readers by Seventeen and Cosmopolitan magazines published between 1970 and 1989. The essay draws distinctions between articles and advertisements, pointing to those articles and ads that promote what Adrienne Rich called compulsory heterosexuality and those that encourage a less restrictive kind of femininity. The essay claims that Seventeen, because it targets a younger audience than Cosmopolitan does, promotes a more sexually normative framework of heterosexual relationships, compulsory matrimony, and motherhood for young readers. Cosmopolitan, on the other hand, teaches readers to embrace female sexuality and desire without needing marriage or motherhood to affirm their femininity.

Accessibility Status

Searchable text

Included in

History Commons



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