Have you ever found yourself being an enthusiastic participant in a friend’s suggestion to have sushi though you completely despise it? Have you ever said yes to a plan even if you’re not in the headspace to go for it? Have you ever stayed back at work on a Friday to impress your senior who wouldn’t be able to tell you apart from a desk plant? Then perhaps the latest trend on TikTok called the “Villain Era” is for you.
Tiktok is like a wise and hip aunt who along with some fashion or beauty advice also imparts advice (sane and sometimes not so much) about life and love. Obviously, with a wine glass in her hand. Being a villain has always meant being a walking red flag. Probably with imaginary devil horns. Villains are portrayed as truly evil, always mean and generally difficult people to deal with. But this era is for the girls who have always played polite, when they don’t want to but especially because they are okay to compromise on their own needs and wants.
The Villain era asks girls to go easy on themselves and pushes the agenda of self-preservation. If you share your perspective with kindness and empathy, maybe people will actually understand it. I know, it can be emotionally draining to say yes to every Saturday night plan. But what’s scarier for people-pleasers is to be viewed as a “spoilsport”, “too reserved”, or hearing, “Man, you’re ruining the vibe” – a sort of torment for someone who isn’t exactly on board with these plans but struggle to say no and draw boundaries.
ENTERING THE ERA
Cassie Howard’s iconic and sharp Euphoria dialogue, it goes like, “Well if that makes me a villain, then so f*cking be it,” aptly describes this era. The coming of age of this technique of self-preservation involves people doing skincare and prioritizing their own needs. All this while reinventing a new version themselves and fully recognising their self worth. But, of course, the emergence of this era doesn’t grant you a free pass to being nasty to friends or family. It’s about setting boundaries and living your life on your own terms. If you want to call for a Coke when everyone else wants you to down 3 tequila shots? You call for the coke and ignore the Debbie Downer looks being thrown your way.
WHY IS IT “VILLAINOUS”?
Question is, why do people even need any terminology to define a completely normal lifestyle; a lifestyle where you are cognisant of your anger, of your boundaries being breached and are true to your needs, not letting anyone walk over you. The need for a term is up for debate. For many people, the feeling of being suffocated because they are barely able to rustle up a no, probably needs some sort of validation and the self-preserving nature of the villain era makes sense to them. It is time to walk out on the guy that leaves you on read and find pleasure in things that make you happy.
Whatever you want to call it, if it’s helping people be more aligned with their exigencies then let the Villain Era thrive and go on. Forever, preferably.
If you want to read my rant about TikTok as a marketing tool then see read this.