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Image / Agenda / Image Writes

According to the internet, 2022 should be our villain era — but what does that even mean?


By Sarah Gill
06th May 2022

HBO

According to the internet, 2022 should be our villain era — but what does that even mean?

If setting personal boundaries and protecting your energy makes you a bad guy, then so be it.

Made up of a constant rotation of viral audios, recipes and dance routines, TikTok has seen many trends come and go since its inception. However, the current mental health trend encouraging users of the platform to enter their ‘villain era’ has been piquing interest for all the right — and some of the wrong — reasons.

If you find yourself constantly being taken for granted, walked all over, or left feeling emotionally drained at work, at home or when you’re out with friends, now may be the time to go full on villain mode.

Aimed at chronic people pleasers who have been conditioned by society to make others feel at ease at the expense of their own needs, the trend is encouraging people to reconsider their priorities and start putting themselves first.

If you’re left feeling exhausted after a long day of emotional labour, or have found yourself in a position where people expect you to bend over backwards to make their lives easier, this is a step towards protecting your inner peace.

However, the trend has been rightly critiqued for framing what is essentially owning your power and having self-respect as inherently bad things. Clearly communicating your needs, knowing your cut-off point, and finding internal validation are not villainous moves, but simple acts that allow you to advocate for yourself.

The antithesis of spreading yourself thin for the sake of others, entering your so-called villain era should not be thought of as selfish or narcissistic. For too long, prioritising your own happiness — particularly for women — has been seen as a negative trait, and this trend is reclaiming the role of the villain.

What it is not is an excuse to take others for granted, or to trial out the unfair ways people have treated you on others. Empathy is still a hugely important characteristic to have and share with others, but distancing yourself from situations that leave you feeling wilted is a form of self-love.