Merriam-Webster.com defines dystopia as “an imagined world or society in which people lead wretched, dehumanized, fearful lives”. In my opinion, this definition only takes into consideration the experience and point of view of those oppressed. In fact, if we look into any dystopia, there are always people that are suffering as well as people who are causing the suffering. Of course, from the point of view of the hurt, their life is fearful and wretched, but would the people causing this pain describe their lives as wretched and fearful? There are always two sides to a coin, and that is why the definition provided by Merriam-Webster.com is not entirely truthful. Any society could be considered to be a dystopia, but also as being an utopia, depending on the eyes that are judging it.
The first thing I think of when I hear the word dystopia is our current society. The worlds and events described in the few dystopian books I have read all have very close ties with modern society. I see Orwell’s Big Brother in the way we use social media. We are constantly posting and sharing personal information that allows individuals to control our movements, likings, feelings, and ideas. In addition, Swift’s book Gulliver’s Travels has never been more fitting even if it was written in the 18th century. Our politicians still engage in petty debates instead of focusing on leading and bettering the country, and wars like the one between Lilliput and Blefuscu are still happening across all continents. It is also easy to see the similarities between The Handmaid’s Tale and the lives that thousands of women are subjected to in many communities across the globe.
Me considering our society a dystopia will not stop another person from defining it an utopia, which makes it hard to provide a definition of either of those words. Because of their duality, the words utopia and dystopia should be considered as a single word. I propose Udystopia to be the new noun that describes this dualism. This word emphasizes the importance of the “U” since, as previously mentioned, the same situation may be defined as an utopia or dystopia depending on the person analyzing it.