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Sex. Celebrity. Politics. With Teeth

Small Mercies: The Stories We Wrote That We Loved

We wrote a lot of blogs, but these are the ones that stood out (to us)
Small Mercies: The Stories We Wrote That We Loved
Image: Bettmann (Getty Images)
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This year, like every other year that precedes it, the Jezebel staff did their best to cover the myriad ways the world was conspiring against us. Blogging through the good times and also the hard times is one way to cope with outside stress, and we did so because it is our jobs, but also, because sometimes, it brings us a modicum of joy. Here are the blogs we wrote that we loved this year, from our hearts to yours.

The Only Feminist Movie Ever Made Turns 20 This Year

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Image: Eric Ford (Getty Images)

This was a very fun appreciation blog about the movie Legally Blonde. What I really appreciated about writing this blog is that it was one of the few things I wrote this year that had nothing to do with the larger general topic of “emerging from the pandemic year,” which was something I found myself really mired in with a lot of my writing. Also, who doesn’t love to wax poetic about something as enjoyable as Reese Witherspoon’s iconic performance in this movie?Shannon Melero


Abortion in the Surveillance State

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Illustration: Elena Scotti (Photos: Getty Images, PixelSquid)

For me, one of the most peculiar aspects of the anti-vax wing’s outlandish claims about the supposed dangers of the COVID vaccine has been the idea that we’ll be micro-chipped and endlessly surveilled by the state if vaccinated. This is, of course, already happening, through our smartphones, Google searches, private messaging, social media use and more — advocates for abortion rights and pregnant people can certainly attest to this everyday reality. For years, the same digital platforms many people are increasingly relying on to access abortion care have been weaponized to surveil and possibly criminalize those who so much as seek information about abortion care. It felt important to shine light on this in context with the greater conversations taking place around surveillance state capitalism, and what that actually means for our everyday lives, especially for women and pregnant people. —Kylie Cheung

Activists Swallowed Abortion Pills on the Steps of the Capitol

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Photo: Caitlin Cruz

I joined Jezebel in Q4 and I was a beat reporter on abortion and politics, so I wrote a lot of blogs about the end of Roe v. Wade and SCOTUS. But my favorite piece was when I traveled to Washington, D.C., for oral arguments in the biggest abortion case since, well, Roe. I met up with some pro-abortion activists that pulled off a novel kind of protest. I’ve been to a lot of pro- and anti-abortion rallies and I’m rarely surprised anymore; it can be pretty prescriptive. But these activists swallowed mifepristone on the steps of the Supreme Court on the day that people legitimately argued that it’s fine to not have abortion because adoption exists. I was so glad to be able to document these activists’ funny yet serious direct action. —Caitlin Cruz


The Vaccine Rollout Failed Pregnant People

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Illustration: Elena Scotti (Photos: Getty Images, Shutterstock)

I cover abortion access and reproductive health, and one common thread between states trying to ban abortion and people dying from pregnancy and childbirth is public officials prioritizing fetuses over the lives of living, breathing humans. The COVID vaccine rollout was no different. Clinical trials routinely exclude pregnant people out of fear of harm to their fetuses and they were again excluded from COVID trials, which led to a lack of early safety data and seeming disagreement from global health agencies, the WHO and CDC. Pregnant people got conflicting information from their healthcare providers—and social media—and some opted not to get the shot until after they’d given birth. More than 25,000 pregnant women have been hospitalized with COVID and nearly 250 have died, and an unknown number have experienced premature births, miscarriages, or stillbirths. Until studies include women who choose to take new vaccines, we will continue protecting them to death. —Susan Rinkunas

Cassandra Peterson on Coming Up with Elvira, Coming Clean in Her Book, and Coming Out

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Image: Evan Agostini (Getty Images)

I mean...I got to talk to Elvira? What else needs to be said? — Rich Juzwiak

Jenna Maroney Inherited the Earth

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Image: John Lamparski (Getty Images)

I joined the team late in the year, but I deeply enjoyed writing this meditation on my favorite TV character’s weighty cultural legacy, at least partially because it gave me a good reason to do something that I was probably going to do no matter what: re-watch old episodes of 30 Rock. — Gabrielle Bruney

Remembering Rahmbamarama, the Obama Era’s Most Zealous Fan Community

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Image: Chelsea Beck

I had a lot of fun on my big features for the year, like my look at Disney Channel in the wake of 9/11, my homage to the criminally underrated Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging, and my retrospective on That Pink Dress from My Date with the President’s Daughter. But, frankly, anyone could have written about those topics. I’m the only one deranged enough to write thousands of words about Rahmbamarama, the long defunct Livejournal community where people straight up wrote horny fanfiction about President Obama’s Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel. It’s safe to say that few things on the internet have aged more poorly! —Ashley Reese

A Definitive Ranking of Hot Cheetos

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Image: Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for Frito-Lay (Getty Images)

Seeing as I started at Jezebel later in the year, I’m still getting my bearings. But I knew I was at home when Megan Reynolds responded to my pitch about Hot Cheetos with “lskdfaa;sldkfjsdkjf,” which in Megan-speak means “yes.” My colleagues have reported some truly incredible features here, and I’m so honored to be in their company. But reporting deep features also takes a toll on your mental health. And I’m grateful that I could break up some of the frustrating terror of reproductive rights and the continued silencing of sexual assault victims by providing some levity about my favorite spicy snack. Also, my boyfriend stopped reading after I used the word “diuretic,” which must mean I’m really pushing the envelope here. —Emily Leibert

Jab Me, I’m Fat

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Image: Frederick M. Brown (Getty Images)

The most wonderful thing about working at Jezebel is the freedom afforded by a staff of editors and writers with their own particular idiosyncratic visions. Luckily, in my four and a half years at the site, I’ve been allowed to explore the depths of that which truly interests me, from the Magnolia Network to HGTV’s Home Town to that big mall in New Jersey to the bleak fatalism of debt. This piece about vaccine shaming in the early stages of the rollout, when my pre-existing condition of medical obesity allowed me to get my jab, is by far the most important thing I’ve written this year, because it synthesized conversations I’d been having with friends and family about the vaccination, and poked at the meaty center of everyone’s second-favorite pandemic activity: judging other people. Sure, this wasn’t nearly as “fun” to write as some of the other stuff I’ve done this year (exploring the depths of my attraction to Pete Davidson, interrogating stripper shoes as fashion, and urging the general public to dress like a Rock of Love contestant were all a blast to write), but it is probably the most important. How lovely it has been to work at a place that truly allowed me to let my freak flag fly. —Megan Reynolds