Dystopia Real not Imagined

My definition of dystopia is a place, state of mind, or situation where one is being treated poorly and has to fight for equality and equity. By definition from Merriam-Webster dystopia as a noun is described as “an imaginary place where people are unhappy and usually afraid because they are not treated fairly”. The definition I provided for dystopia is more fitting to describe the term because to be treated poorly we do not have to exist in a “fictional” society.

Dystopia in my eyes can be a place because it can be the world or society where one experiences unfair treatment. Many factors contribute to a dystopian world. For example social stratification, control, restricted knowledge, or loss of human connection. The clear division between famous or rich people and the “regular” people in the world like you and me is a great example of social stratification. The way the world economic system is setup it leads to easier success for those with money while oppressing the majority of the population who don’t have nearly as much money as millionaires or billionaires. In a dystopian society, people also would suffer from the loss of human connection. For example, people who are in prisons or are in custody and held away from the outside world.

Another way dystopia can exist is through a state of mind. I think this is a valid way to describe a dystopia for those who are disadvantaged. Not only racially but also those who suffer from mental illnesses that spark different emotional states in everyone. For example, people who suffer from trauma and feelings of isolation and loneliness. People who lack the proper mental health support are experiencing a dystopian society. Living in a society where people are always posed with threats or witnessing crimes can trigger traumatic stress in individuals. Living in this type of society places psychological strain on individuals, the pressure to fit in, and the knowledge knowing they lack certain resources contributes to depression, stress, and anxiety.

The interpretation of dystopia may vary from person to person. Dystopian narratives, and the many ways they oppression people in a society affect everyone differently based on our own experiences and values. Whether it is viewed through the lens of political or social concerns dystopia will always be a complex concept.

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