A dystopia is a society that is plagued by issues that affect the majority of its population in a negative way and only those at the top of society are benefiting.
This new defintion I have come to was developed over the course of this semester. With all the readings and examples of dystopias that I have encountered over the course of the class I have come to an almost obsolete understanding of dystopia.
Our very first reading by Iris Young, “The Five Faces of Oppression”, taught me that someone has to be benefiting because when you oppress someone else you are benefiting in some way. When you decide to exploit someone, you are gaining something. When you choose to involve cultural imperialism the person(s) doing the oppressing obviously find something about their culture to be more dominant than that of the oppressed. When you choose to make someone feel powerless no matter what you take from them or even give them the person(s) oppressing are gaining something from those moments whether it be satisfaction or one less person to compete with for power. When you inflict violence among someone else it whatever for it maybe you are taking a piece of them away. Last but not least, when you choose to marginalize a group and make them feel like they can only do certain things in society it takes a toll on future generations to come. This reading had a huge impact on how I analyzed dystopian society because I took those five words, and I applied it to whatever I was reading or watching.
If I take the example of the Handmaid’s Tale, the movie, there was no doubt about this movie being a dystopian film. This movie had example of all five faces from the marginalization of their women in the society to inflicting violence so no one would revolt in this society to try and escape. The only people benefiting were the commanders because they still were able to enjoy the world before it became Gilead without being penalized. If I compare the most recent movie, we all watched The Planet of the Apes (1968), I would not completely agree calling it a dystopian society. I see a reverse in roles of humans and apes and there is definitely an order to the power, but it seems those the apes are able to move freely and choose the career paths like humans are able to do.
Overall, my new defintion of a dystopia is befitting after much research that has been done in this class.