But before we go, what is a dystopia?

A dystopia can be described as a society that is under oppression (that they are usually unaware of) because it’s beneficial to the government.

Throughout this semester I have been able to come up with a more concise definition of a dystopia. I have also been able to deepen my understanding through readings, videos, and news sources. My initial definition was “a society in which the treatment of its people is poor and can be overcrowded, this is usually run by a group of people in a government who profit off the misfortunes of the society.” Now that I look at it, I still agree with it however, my viewpoint has changed from focusing on the look of the society (poor and overcrowded) to focusing on the treatment of the people which is oppressive. I also think it is important to note that this treatment of the society is so normalized that those who are a part of the society believe that it is acceptable and ideal. 

The reading that was most influential and has led me to this thinking is The Five Faces of Oppression by Iris Young. Oppression plays a major role in dystopian societies so it is important to fully understand what makes something oppressive. The five faces of oppression are exploitation, violence, marginalization, powerlessness, and cultural imperialism. The first face of oppression that is notable in dystopias is powerlessness. This is the face that is most prominent in dystopias. Powerlessness is the lack of control, decision-making, and freedom that one has over themself. In dystopias, the government or ruling class has all the power and control over its society. In most dystopia examples, such as 1984, The Giver, and Fahrenheit 451, the government controls the speech, the exposure, and actions of their societies. With the type of power the governments have in these societies, it is deemed perfect and ideal because everyone is used to abiding by the laws of the society without question.  This powerlessness ultimately leads to cultural imperialism which is another face of oppression. Cultural imperialism ultimately stops the citizens from deviating from the expectations of society because that is all they know.

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