From Necrobotics to Infidelity Sex, the Best of The Swaddle in 2022
We look back on 2022, and what we were passionate about.
This year’s editorial fixations, hang-ups, and hot takes – in case you missed it.
This year in Culture, we…
Dove deep into the seismic shifts in tech internet culture, fandom, and the quiet agitation against work norms. As the world turned against Amber Heard, embraced anti-capitalism, rebranded quitting and carried cryptobros on its shoulders for a time, we had a different take:
- The Johnny Depp‑Amber Heard Trial Bolstered Meme Pages as the New Mass Media
- Anti‑Capitalism Is Cool. When Will It Be Revolutionary Again?
- The ‘Quiet Quitting’ Trend Has a Branding Problem
- Blockchain Ideology Is Rooted in Exclusion. A Feminist Lens Shows Why
- Why AI Art Makes the Internet — And Art — Less Authentic
Called out casteism, and all its various discontents. Caste has pervaded our texts, food, education, bedrooms, and minds for thousands of years — and we explored how exactly it’s managed to persist.
- All the Arguments You Need: to Advocate for Caste‑Based Reservations
- Why Is Removing Meat and Eggs From School Midday Meals Casteist? We Ask an Expert
- How Community Education Collectives Are Challenging Existing and Increasing Educational Inequality
- Why Caste Is Essential to Understanding Marital Rape
Unpacked where popular media is going. In the year where streaming took over and Internet criticism blended in with media analysis, we waded through the avalanche of opinions to make sense of it all. Plus, we examined everyone’s unceasing fixation with celebrities — and introspected our own.
- Why People Are Obsessed With Babies of Celebrities
- How the Obsession With Celebrity Weddings Fuels Unrealistic Expectations of Relationships
- How OTT Films Perpetuate an Upper Class, Caste Aesthetic for the Social Media Generation
- Why Usage of Trigger Warnings Persist Despite Research Suggesting They Might Be Counterproductive
- Why Accusing Harry Styles of Queerbaiting May Be Flawed
- How Streaming Turned Art into Content, and People into Consumers
Took a closer look at sex, against the grain. If the last few years were about celebrating the freedom and agency that we found through sex, this one was about pausing to take a closer look. There’s more to enjoying sex than what we’ve been told — and it’s got repercussions.
- How Novels Have Shaped Women’s Understanding of Sex in the Absence of Sex Education
- What Consent Culture Gets Wrong About Sex
- Why Sex Becomes Just Another Chore for Many Indian Women
- How Some People in Abusive Relationships Found Comfort, Freedom Through Infidelity
This year in Health, we…
Highlighted gender bias in medicine, healthcare, and public policy. It’s a tale as old as time, constantly re-written by the year in different iterations. And we are wont, we looked at what it means for people who continue to suffer health inequalities due to their gender.
- Body Matters: a series challenging what it means to be a body that matters in medicine.
- Are Differences in Sex Hormones Behind the High Prevalence of Autoimmune Disorders Among Women?
- Gender‑Affirmative Surgeries Are Helping Scientists Study the Clitoris Better
- HPV Vaccines Can Save People’s Lives. Why Is Awareness, Access Still So Low?
- Doctors Aren’t Warning Women of the Health Risks of Anal Sex, Leading to Complications: Report
Looked at how cultural trends affect health, and why the idea of “good health” is so fraught for many. Our bodies respond to structural causes and social norms as much as they do to internet trends — often, illness arises before we know it.
- Hoarding Disorder Is on the Rise. Is Capitalism to Blame?
- How Online Skincare Routines Obscure the Privilege Required for Good Skin
- Why Some People Are Convinced They’re Constantly Being Recorded, Watched
- Our ‘Bloody Lies’ Series Documents the Myths People Hear About Menstruation
- Why Misrepresenting Monkeypox as a Sexually Transmitted Disease Is Dangerous to Public Health
- How Society’s Fixation on Independence as a Universal Goal Excludes Disabled, Chronically Ill People
Explored the unknown side of eating disorders. There’s more to them than we’re fully prepared to understand — and we documented with alarm the new ones that have emerged:
- For People With Poor Impulse Control, Instant Food Delivery Apps Can Kickstart Disordered Eating
- All You Need to Know About Binge Eating Disorder
- New Research Identifies ‘Purging Disorder’ as Distinct From Bulimia
Grappled with some ethical quandaries about reversing death, ageing, and disease — and found more in common with other creatures than we realized:
- Human Neurons Were Transplanted Into Rats to Study Brain Disorders. Is It Ethical?
- Scientists Revive Cells, Organs in Dead Pigs — Hinting at the Possibility of ‘Reversible Death’
- Insects May Feel Pain Like Humans Do, Research Suggests
- Scientists Are Finding Ways to Reverse Ageing. Is It Worth It?
This year in Science, we…
Covered various solutions to an ever-growing crisis: climate change. In previous years, we reported the effects of global warming extensively — but as the urgency built, so too did our obligation to go further. Here are some perspectives that challenge the mainstream narrative about how to tackle this mess:
- Pakistan’s Floods Stir Debate on ‘De‑growing’ the Economy To Address Climate Change
- We Ask an Activist What the Aarey Forest Decision Means for Other Citizen Movements
- As COP15 Ends, ‘Biopiracy’ Is a Key Issue. What Is It?
- The U.S. May Research Dimming the Sun as a Climate Solution. What’s the Fallout?
- How Unequal Access to Green Space Impacts Health
- To Prevent Bananas’ Extinction, Scientists Are Searching for Its Ancestors
Discovered more about animals than we were fully prepared for. It gets really weird — but also wonderful.
- What Jellyfish Can Tell Us About Immortality
- Tiny Mites That Have Sex On Our Face Are Facing Extinction
- How Human‑led Poaching and Hunting Have Altered Rhinoceros Horns
- How Technology Is Helping Decode Animal Language
- Scientists Have Discovered – Not One, but Two – Clitorises in Snakes
- How ‘Necrobotics,’ or Using Dead Creatures as Robots, Is Changing Science
Looked into the cosmic abyss (and it looked back)
- Nasa Recorded ‘Cosmic Horror’‑like Sound From a Black Hole
- Alien Worlds That May Be Habitable for Billions of Years May Look Nothing Like Earth
- The Curiosity Rover Captured a ‘Doorway’ on Mars
- The First Picture of Milky Way’s Own Supermassive Black Hole Has Been Unveiled
Freaked out about: plants, parasites, and ourselves.
- Plants Might Be Making ‘Secret Decisions’ About Carbon Use
- Dwindling Insect Population May Trigger ‘Plant Wars,’ Research Shows
- A Common Parasite Could Be Altering People’s Political Beliefs, Suggests Study
- How a ‘Mind‑Altering’ Parasite Makes People Seem More Sexually Appealing
- Doppelgangers May Share Common DNA Despite Being Unrelated to Each Other
- People With Neanderthal Genes Process Medicine Differently, Study Finds
And finally, this year, we were most passionate about…
The reason this feature stood out to me out of everything else I wrote this year was because the process of diving into the ableism entrenched in society’s glorification of independence forced me to confront my own internal prejudices, allowing me to be kinder to myself, in the process. It has granted me the boon of a new perspective — one where my perception of independence isn’t as informed by society’s dominant standards.
– Devrupa Rakshit
This year I explored something I’d grown from being merely curious about, to feeling deeply invested in: how asexuality fits into queer culture. In my feature series, I learnt that asexuality is a way of interpreting the world itself. In a sex-obsessed media and pop culture landscape, peeling the layers back to look at the world through a lens that keeps sex at arm’s length wasn’t just revelatory – it was so much fun! My favorite fun fact along the way: Marilyn Monroe might have been ace. The layers to unpack here are just delicious.
I also loved scrutinizing dubious trends in tech as they happened. This year saw the metaverse gain and lose prominence, cryptocurrency ride the hype wave and come crashing down, NFTs and ultimately AI changing art itself. At the heart of my gripe – and ultimately, fixation – with all of these is a core belief in wanting the world’s resources to be directed toward something good. Instead, they were funneled into tech kaleidoscopes that mesmerized the world for a time, before it realized their folly. We love to see (and report) it.
– Rohitha Naraharisetty
This was the first time I was reporting long-form, and to begin it with inspecting one of my favorite pieces of cinema and its cultural significance was really fun. The piece allowed me to dive back into my childhood, while also offering me the chance to understand how independent artists are trying to create an original, homegrown film culture in a state without adequate cinema infrastructure.
– Amlan Sarkar
This piece looked at the intersection of the climate crisis and the changing nature of the digital landscape – two subjects I am deeply interested in. To write this, I had to suspend my disbelief. A country uploading itself to the metaverse in response to the climate crisis may sound bizarre, but it also lays bare the need for urgent climate action.
– Ananya Singh