Examining women's magazines and lifestyle coaching, the article explores how positivity imperatives in contemporary culture call forth a happy, confident, hopeful, and vibrant subject during the COVID-19 pandemic. The analysis shows how these positivity imperatives acknowledge stress and difficulty, and at times highlight their gendered impacts, yet nevertheless systematically figure responses and solutions in individual, psychological, and often consumerist terms. The discussion demonstrates how positivity imperatives operate not only through verbal advice but also through visual, embodied, and affective means and through an emphasis on developing new social practices—from holding one's body differently, to keeping gratitude journals, to cultivating a new virtual persona for online work meetings. The article highlights a profound paradox: in times of a global pandemic that has affected women disproportionally, and when structural injustices and inequalities have been made ever more visible, positivity and individualized self-care interpellations to women flourish, anger is muted, and critiques of structural inequality are largely silenced. Thus seemingly benign and often undoubtedly well-meaning messages of confidence, calm, and positivity during the pandemic work to buttress a neoliberal imaginary and persistent social inequalities.

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