2022 Was the Year of Revenge

2022 Was the Year of Revenge

Forget your yesteryears of girlbosses and grinding; we're fed up, and playing nice has only gotten us so far.

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Photo: Twitter, SOPA Images/Getty Images

2022 was not the first year American women were angry—far from it—but it sure gave us a lot more reasons to be angrier. Between the massive scale-back of pregnant people’s rights and not one but two highly visible celebrity trials involving intimate partner violence in which the internet overwhelmingly blamed and vilified the women, it’s hardly surprising that revenge and its cathartic joys became such a salient cultural narrative. We’re all fed up, and playing nice has only taken us so far.

This was the year Roe v. Wade was overturned and numerous anti-abortion zealots lost key midterm races as a result. The year of Elon Musk buying Twitter and subsequently being voted out of leadership by millions of its users in his own poll. The year of crypto scammers flying too close to the sun and finally facing some consequences.

And yet, like people, years contain multitudes! This was also a year of shade and pettiness at the Cannes Film Festival, of a Kanye West subreddit being converted into a Taylor Swift shrine. Let’s take a stroll down memory lane through some of 2022's most satisfying moments.

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Teen Cyberbullied by Matt Gaetz Raises Millions for Abortion Funds

Teen Cyberbullied by Matt Gaetz Raises Millions for Abortion Funds

“Why is it that the women with the least likelihood of getting pregnant are the ones most worried about having abortions? Nobody wants to impregnate you if you look like a thumb,” Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) said at a rally shortly after Roe v. Wade was overturned. When 19-year-old reproductive rights activist Olivia Julianna took issue with his gross comments, he tweeted a photo of her with the caption, “Dander raised”—essentially calling her an ugly dog.

In response, Julianna launched a fundraiser and raised a staggering $1.5 million for abortion funds.

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Florence Pugh and Her Aperol Spritz

Florence Pugh and Her Aperol Spritz

The drama surrounding Olivia Wilde’s Don’t Worry Darling was a movie of its own, and it all came to a head at September’s Cannes Film Festival. Amid ongoing rumors of tension between Wilde and the film’s star, Florence Pugh, “Miss Flo” dodged essentially all press for the movie and appeared to show up purposefully late to Cannes—dressed for revenge with a beverage in hand.

Look, I’m a strong believer that Wilde was unfairly maligned throughout this ordeal, in part because of some very calculated choices by Pugh—but I respect a woman who knows how to make an entrance looking this hot, turning the focus of an entire press tour onto her (and her absence from it).

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Do Revenge Does Revenge

Do Revenge Does Revenge

Maya Hawke as Eleanor and Camila Mendes as Drea in Netflix’s Do Revenge.
Maya Hawke as Eleanor and Camila Mendes as Drea in Netflix’s Do Revenge.
Photo: Netflix

No one does revenge quite like teenage girls in classic movies set in high school, and I say that with all the love and admiration in the world. Thus, a movie like Netflix’s Do Revenge starring Camila Mendes and Maya Hawke as high schoolers executing a Strangers on the Train-style revenge heist against their bullies was inevitable. As classmates Drea and Eleanor respectively, they set out to exact revenge on Drea’s performatively “woke” ex who nonconsensually leaked their sex tape, and a summer camp peer who lied that Eleanor held her down and kissed her.

The result is a perfect dose of 2000s nostalgia and vengeance rendered upon sexist figures and institutions that are all too familiar in the real world. At a time when cyber sexual exploitation is rampant, and women and girls remain readily, viciously maligned for any expressions of our sexuality, Do Revenge is, itself, an act of vengeance and victory. It’s a scathing takedown of the patriarchal powers that be, set to a soundtrack featuring Olivia Rodrigo. *chef’s kiss*

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Anti-Abortion Politicians Take a Hit

Anti-Abortion Politicians Take a Hit

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Photo: Getty Images

This year was supposed to be a “red wave,” if mainstream media and every Republican with access to Twitter was to be believed. But it wasn’t! And in no small part because abortion is extremely popular, and abortion bans are extremely unpopular. The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June, and there really is no adequate consolation prize for an outcome that will inevitably kill people. But the sheer amount of anti-abortion losers who lost key races as a direct result of their support for abortion bans is, if not consolation, pretty decent revenge. For a highlight reel of said losers, I give you this slideshow from Jezebel’s own Susan Rinkunas.

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Pamela Anderson Hits Back at Pam and Tommy

Pamela Anderson Hits Back at Pam and Tommy

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Photo: Netflix

Pamela Anderson, one of the first public victims of what’s known as “revenge porn,” was understandably displeased with this year’s hit Hulu show Pam and Tommy, which was based on her traumatic experience with cyber exploitation. Anderson made this very clear, but the show starring Lily James and Sebastian Stan moved forward nonetheless, with zero input from her.

So Anderson decided to take matters into her own hands, producing a documentary about Anderson’s story, told by her. Pamela, A Love Story was announced earlier this month and will begin streaming on Netflix on Jan. 31. What revenge is sweeter than reclaiming your own story—and on a rival streaming platform, no less.

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Emily Ratajkowski’s Busy Dating Life, Post-Cheating Husband

Emily Ratajkowski’s Busy Dating Life, Post-Cheating Husband

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Screenshot: Twitter

Personally, if I were a celebrity whose (ex) spouse cheated on me, I would do exactly what Ratajkowski has done: like a bunch of tweets calling my husband a cheating twat, then very publicly go on a bunch of dates with hot DJs, art buyers, and, yes, Pete MF Davidson. (RIP to their great love, November 2022-December 2022). Like Ratajkowski, I, too, am ending 2022 on a very “fuck men” note, and I deeply respect her vision.

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Elon Musk Buys Twitter, Is Voted Off

Elon Musk Buys Twitter, Is Voted Off

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Screenshot: Twitter

To quote the nerdiest (derogatory) man on Twitter, “Vox populi, vox dei”—this time, not about whether the website should reinstate white supremacists, but whether Musk himself should remain CEO. 2022 was a wild ride for the world’s most divorced man. It was the year he bought Twitter, stoked record amounts of hate on the website, cost a pharmaceutical company and weapons manufacturer billions, tanked Tesla stock, and, to cap it all off, in one of his classically stupid, attention-seeking Twitter polls, got hundreds of thousands of people to say he shouldn’t be CEO in a poll he posted. You love to see it—until we’re all inevitably forced to bend the knee to co-CEOs @CatTurd and Jared Kushner, that is.

Getting voted off your own website by 15 points is almost as humiliating as, say, getting booed off the stage at your transphobic comedian pal’s show in San Francisco. Turns out everywhere is a tough crowd when you suck this much!

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Kanye West Subreddit Converted to Taylor Swift Shrine

Kanye West Subreddit Converted to Taylor Swift Shrine

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Photo: Kevin Winter/MTV1415 (Getty Images)

The above is clearly a very, very old photo (from 2015). Kanye West famously tanked a big moment for Taylor Swift in 2009 when Swift was giving her acceptance speech for Best Female Video acceptance speech for “You Belong with Me” at the MTV Video Music Awards. Swift and West patched things up by 2015, but it didn’t last long. He went on to very publicly feud with the singer again in 2016 over offensive lyrics about her, which he claimed she approved.

In other words, the two have a very long history, but as it turns out, Swift didn’t have to do anything to ruin West. He had that covered himself. Earlier this month, shortly after West joined Alex Jones’ show to praise Adolf Hitler and sympathize with Nazis, the fans who run a Subreddit for him converted it into a shrine to Ms. Swift, admitting that she had perhaps been right about West’s responsibility for the drama all along. Talk about karma!

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Harry and Meghan Spill the Royal Tea

Harry and Meghan Spill the Royal Tea

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Photo: Getty Images

For years now, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have been very open about their allegations that they weren’t best treated by the royal family, which they claim didn’t adequately defend them from the torrent of racist, sexist attacks against Markle from British tabloids and social media. In 2021, Markle disclosed in a bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey that she’d struggled with suicidal ideation before the couple formally stepped back from royal duties in 2020.

Well, for all the hiccups around the release of their Netflix docuseries, Harry x Meghan (Marry?) seem to have gotten the last laugh in the collective consciousness, as of the year-end. Netflix’s Harry and Meghan doesn’t provide too many new details, but it certainly doesn’t portray the royal family in a positive light, and is one of the most watched projects on Netflix ever. I’m hardly a believer that one interracial royal couple has the power to topple the generations of imperialism and white supremacy upon which the crown is founded. But they clearly have a knack for petty revenge, and I’ll take that!

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Crypto Bros Fuck Around and Find Out

Crypto Bros Fuck Around and Find Out

Between January 2021 and June of this year, the Federal Trade Commission reported that over $1 billion was reported stolen in crypto scams. It’s not surprising when you look back at the beginning of this year, as crypto peddlers and scammers—who are honestly difficult to distinguish from one another—raked in billions, often through exploiting the economic desperation of disproportionately low-income people, women, people of color, and other marginalized consumers. Well, here we are at the end of 2022, and cryptocurrency has effectively collapsed. The hot crypto start-up FTX lost about $32 billion overnight.

The price of bitcoin dropped from $69,000 (nice) in November 2021 to $16,000 (not as nice!) a year later. FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) is out on bail for $250 million, charged with two counts of wire fraud conspiracy, two counts of wire fraud, and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering—each charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years. A lot of people suffered at the hands of crypto bros, and just in time for the holidays, it looks like they’re finally getting theirs.

Perhaps SBF will find some helpful nuggets in this prison survival guide from Martin “Pharma Bro” Shkreli?

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From President to Geriatric NFT Shiller

From President to Geriatric NFT Shiller

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Screenshot: Truth Social/@realDonaldTrump

For the first time in an age, 2022 was the first full year in which Donald Trump was not for one moment president. And over the course of a few months, his home was raided by the FBI, the contents of his toilet were made public, nearly all of the Republican candidates he backed lost decisively in the midterms, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis appears to be the 2024 Republican presidential candidate to beat, and, ah, yes, earlier this month, the former president became desperate enough for money to shill a series of embarrassing NFTs.

Many of his own fans claimed that this latest act—not, you know, attempting to overthrow the 2020 election—really gave them the ick. In other words, 2022 was very much the year the U.S. got its revenge on Trump for six years of prolonged terror. There’s nothing more important to the man than appearances, than looking like a winner—and he very much does not look like one these days. All of this, of course, is more democracy than revenge, but what was I supposed to do—not include the banner year he’s had in this slideshow??

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Morocco Wipes Out One Colonizer After Another at the World Cup

Morocco Wipes Out One Colonizer After Another at the World Cup

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Photo: Getty

Sadly, Morocco didn’t win it all at the World Cup. However, they did score some small revenge for hundreds of years of imperialism, defeating Belgium, Spain, and Portugal—all countries that historically invaded and colonized Morocco or the region surrounding it. Big!! Huge!! Historic!! If I watch any sport that isn’t basketball for any reason, it’s for feel-good revenge narratives about historical colonizers being put in their place. And, of course, for all the truly heart-warming footage of sincerely overjoyed Morocco fans celebrating their W’s on the world stage.

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