Self-help in the Manosphere: A Case Study of the Male Self-Improvement Podcast, Good Bro Bad Bro

Khurana, Sehej
Hope, Wayne
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Master of Communication Studies
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Auckland University of Technology

The Manosphere is a heterogeneous collection of male antifeminist and misogynistic communities, across online sites and platforms. Its communities focus, variously, on men’s legal and discursive rights, navigation of the “sexual marketplace”, and a perceived estrangement from women and society. These perspectives are loosely unified by an adherence to the Red Pill philosophy, which alleges that men can be “awakened” to the “truth” of their subordination by women. Certain Manosphere communities endorse self-improvement as a means for assisting individual men to advance their status and success in the sexual marketplace. In this milieu, the podcast Good Bro Bad Bro (GBBB) is a niche, male self-improvement podcast which uses the Red Pill analogy. It claims to help men to improve themselves, without hating women.

This thesis considers the masculinist and neoliberal discourses of GBBB, in relation to the Manosphere and broader self-help genre. It employs critical feminist discourse analysis and keyword analysis to analyse seven episodes of GBBB. The patterns of language identified are set against the context of hegemonic patriarchy, neoliberalism, and the Manosphere. To inform this analysis, the thesis historically situates the Manosphere against the twentieth century’s women’s movement. From here, the de-radicalisation of the women’s movement, antifeminist backlash, the spread of a therapeutic climate and the emergence of neoliberal self-help in Western societies are considered. In relation to GBBB, this research finds that the podcast and its host, Jack Denmo, reproduce a neoliberal doxa which overlaps with masculinist biological essentialism and sexism. In all, this objectifies, commodifies, and fetishises humans and heterosexual relationships, such that individuals are positioned as isolated, competitive units in a sexual marketplace driven by economic transactions and biological whims. These findings affirm that neoliberalism and masculinism are intertwined within male self-help discourses.

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