Dystopia definition

Originally, my definition for dystopia was, essentially, a society that lacks equality and freedom, and propagates subjugation and violence to achieve this inequality. With this definition, many of today’s societies could be considered dystopian, because there is rampant inequality across the globe. Today, I find this definition accurate, but lacking a bit of detail to fully define what sets a dystopian society apart from an un-equal society.

To begin this new definition, I mist reference Iris Young’s 5 Faces of Oppression, because I think it outlines the conditions of oppression perfectly, and these conditions are essential to what inequality is for an oppressed group. To go beyond these conditions of dystopia, I think there is also an added element of the mental state of the oppressed populace within a dystopia. They must have either accepted their fate, or be unaware of life outside of this dystopia. To me, a dystopia seems semi-permanent, not a simple obstacle to overcome, but a completely separate and perverse way of life from normal, or generally good and healthy conditions. In Gaza, which I would consider a dystopia, the Palestinian people have been met with oppression for decades, but more severely in the past few months. In the article “Six months of this cruel nightmare,” Ruwaida Kamal Amer describes her conditions. She says, “I have given up on looking for any glimmer of hope that the war will stop and this pain will end.” This level of hopelessness can also be observed differently in 1984, where people’s memories are distorted and they accept society because they cannot remember it being different.

Therefore, my final definition for dystopia, is a society in which an oppressed group faces violence, marginalization, exploitation, powerlessness, and also has given up hope/ accepted these conditions, or cannot remember life as being different.

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