The end of this year is finally upon us, and while everything around us all is mediocre at best and extremely distressing at worst, we managed to find a spare moment for some self-reflection. Everyone at Jezebel wrote a lot of very good blogs this year, but the ones we liked the most are the ones that were the most interesting or meaningful to write and hopefully, to read.
As a white woman who loves fall, I really enjoyed figuring out where the fuck the stereotype that white women love fall comes from for this piece. I may or may not have eaten a loaf of pumpkin bread in the process of researching! —Hazel Cills
Nothing topped the pleasure of trying to locate the costuming forces behind Britney Spears’ and Justin Timberlake’s iconic denim fits at the 2001 American Music Awards. The hunt led me down some unusual paths, and I won’t spoil it here for those who’ve yet to click. —Maria Sherman
Despite the fact that I am a terrible food blogger with the culinary tastes of a four year old, the chaos agents here at Jezebel dot com let me write about what I eat on a more regular basis than is perhaps healthy. I personally loved this blog and this meal! — Esther Wang
This year, I chose to process all of my large emotions on Jezebel instead of in the privacy of my weekly therapy sessions. Though I can’t say that I’m proud of this impulse, what I can say is that sometimes, it results in work that isn’t bad. This piece, about vulnerability, earnestness, and leaning out of being a raging bitch, was hard as hell to write, but it turned out okay. —Megan Reynolds
It felt like a personal mission this year to get more people to waste their time watching wrestling on TV with me and most importantly to get them to obsess about wrestlers as people, not just characters. I was not successful in that mission but at some point while going back and forth on the edits for my Bella Twins opus, Kelly Faircloth, said in a message to me that this all seemed interesting. And if I can bring one single soul into the twisted nonsensical world of the WWE Women’s Division then the time spent preaching about wrestling not being entirely fake is well worth it.—Shannon Melero
This job is a gift for allowing me to fill the holes that I notice in the current discourse. Alexandra Dean’s documentary This Is Paris attempted to revise the Paris Hilton mythology, which required a lot of selective storytelling and the suspension of disbelief on the part of the public, including fawning journalists who were seduced by propaganda that didn’t even do a particularly good job of explaining itself. A crucial element of Hilton’s public narrative—that she had been accused of casually using racist and homophobic slurs, and in fact caught on tape doing so many times—was completely glossed over in a movie released just months after a mass civil uprising regarding the pervasive racism in the United States. I was fortunate to get to point out the sheer gall of it all. —Rich Juzwiak
Originally, this was going to be a story about the conditions on the set of The Ellen Show. But in the process of writing, I learned the scope of true fear that ex-staffers and Los Angeles rumor-mongers felt towards the titanic television host. More stories surfaced, and I suddenly found myself not just eager to learn what really transpired on set this last decade, but why. How did a former stand-up comic turned pioneer lesbian, once forced out of the television spotlight, become the most powerful woman in Hollywood?
As young, new journalist, whose first real year in this industry was spent living through a global pandemic, this was the largest reporting and research task I’ve ever undertaken. It was thrilling and instructive, and set me on an entirely new path here at Jezebel.—Joan Summers
As my colleague, Megan Reynolds, concisely pointed out when she finally read my lengthy exploration of what Britney Spears has meant to me these past twenty years, I “really put [my] whole pussy into this.” I’ve been writing some version of this essay in my head for two decades, and after publishing it, I felt both lighter to have finally exhausted myself on the subject but also a bit sad because imagining what I might write were I given the chance to exhaust all these thoughts and feelings about Britney Spears has been a preoccupation of mine for so long I am not exactly sure what to do with all this free time. —Emily Alford
This is the only feature-length piece I wrote since I spent most of the year editing many of the pieces on this list. The pandemic and the ensuing chaos of feelings it produced occupied my mind (like everyone else’s) and this is the most coherent feeling I could muster on the page. —Stassa Edwards