EPISODE 12 - WEDDING SHAMING
Wedding shaming is our new favourite internet-based hobby.
On two huge Facebook groups, tens of thousands of people regularly insult, laugh at, and argue about dodgy cakes, ill-fitting dresses, and themed engagement shoots. Their content frequently goes viral, whether they want it to or not.
Why are people really in these groups, and how harmful can stranger shaming be? Helen finds out.
EPISODE 11 - WORKISM
The big work question used to be "Do you live to work, or work to live?" Now, it's "Can you ever work hard enough?"
In February 2019, Atlantic staff writer Derek Thompson wrote a viral article about workism - that "work has morphed into a religious identity—promising transcendence and community, but failing to deliver."
How widespread and cult-like has this become? Helen speaks to a workplace wellness expert, those trying to define success, and a 'workism reformist', to find out.
EPISODE 10 - LAW OF ATTRACTION
Speak it into existence. Stay positive. Create the life you want. The Law of Attraction might sound straightforward, but it's anything but. We've all heard of The Secret, but the Law of Attraction remains a bit of a cosmic mystery to most.
Helen hears the diverse perspectives of people who use it, and finds out if we need to understand it to believe in it at all.
EPISODE 9 - INFLUENCERS
The social media influencer industry has exploded so much, we can't scroll through our timelines without bumping into them. We've gone from seeing them as a relatively harmless novelty, to criticising and regulating them, in just a few years.
Are they misunderstood artists and curators, or too busy flogging their diet products to care about anything other than the numbers?
EPISODE 8 - MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKING
If there's something missing in your life, or you're struggling to achieve your goals, you could always spend a lot of money on a very loud motivational seminar. That should get you going.
The motivation industry is huge, but like the diet industry, it sells a big dream.
What do the motivational junkies who've tried it all actually think? Can we really trust the industry's leading speakers to give us what we need?
EPISODE 7 - PICK-UP ARTISTS
What do women want? According to pick-up, they want someone dominant and assertive who’ll come up to them in the street and ask for their number outright.
Pick-up clearly has a flawed methodology. That hasn’t stopped some ‘gurus’ making a fortune out of it, and attracting hundreds of thousands of followers.
Does evolutionary science really support their brash advice? And do the coaches actually think they’re doing men some good?
EPISODE 6 - FANDOMS
Star Wars. Sherlock. Supernatural. Their fans are many and - even if you don’t realise it - powerful.
In episode 6, Helen finds out how a BBC TV show can inspire an online witch hunt, what’s really going on with all this Star Wars drama, and why fanfiction should never be underestimated.
EPISODE 5 - PRO & ANTI VACCINATION
Anti-vaxxers are some of the most hated people on the internet - depending on who you talk to. They don't like vaccinations, and they're pretty adamant about it. Pro-vaxxers don't like anti-vaxxers, and they're pretty adamant about it too.
Are pro-vaxxers always the 'good guys', peddling sound science and common sense? Or do both sides of this polarised argument have much more in common than they realise?
EPISODE 4 - CLEAN EATING
BEFORE YOU LISTEN: Clean eating, diets, food restriction, and eating disorders are mentioned throughout. Please don’t listen to this episode if you find these topics difficult.
It’s got 36 million mentions on Instagram, and it’s got us cutting out dairy and gluten as if they're poisonous. Clean eating has been fighting off the criticism it regularly receives and prevailing for the most part.
What are people really trying to ‘cleanse’ from? Is it possible to follow a clean eating diet without it dictating your self worth?
EPISODE 3 - NOFAP
There's a group of (mainly) men on the internet who try and go for as long as possible without masturbating or watching porn. It's called NoFap, and for many, it's a form of profound self-improvement.
Are they deluded and too quick to self-diagnose? Or more progressive than the rest of us?
EPISODE 2 - MLM SCHEMES
Scroll through your Facebook timeline and you're sure to find them - people you vaguely know, promising an easy income from home. All you have to do is join their team and sell these "amazing products".
Is MLM always a scam and the recruiters master manipulators? Helen looks for the grey area in direct selling and network marketing.
EPISODE 1 - CHILDFREE
Some people just don't want kids, and often find they're questioned, mistrusted, or even hated for it. The childfree subreddit has become a digital home for 142,000 of them.
Can the internet be a place of respite for people used to being pestered by their broody parents? Or are they longing for a childfree, separatist world that isolates parents?