The gendered nature of self-help

Sarah Riley, Adrienne Evans, Emma Anderson, Martine Robson

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle

32 Citations (SciVal)
461 Downloads (Pure)


Self-help promises the chance of being “better”. Across multifarious platforms, including books, apps and television shows, it offers hope that we can be our own agents of change for a happier life. Critical research troubles this premise, arguing that the recurring trope of the individualistic ideal-self found in self-help literature is at the expense of seeking solutions in collective, feminist, or otherwise politicised activism. Self-help is also problematically gendered, since women are often positioned as particularly in need of improvement, an understanding further intensified by postfeminist sensibility. These issues are examined conceptually before introducing 10 articles on self-help published in Feminism & Psychology across three decades and brought together as a Virtual Special Issue to offer a significant body of work for scholars and students alike.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
Specialist publicationFeminism and Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 07 Feb 2019


  • self-help
  • individualism
  • postfeminism
  • transformation
  • psy-complex
  • health


Dive into the research topics of 'The gendered nature of self-help'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this