Musings On Utopia

Musings On Utopia

Do they have any practical use?

Okay, so I might be slightly obsessed with contemplating this topic, but hey, it is a huge topic and while the word “utopia” usually might bring on thoughts of fictional universes, I think that thinking about the concept is a great way to at the very least think critically about the world in which we are currently living. The contrast presented in fictional utopias, at least for me, makes me think—well, what is different from this world and my world? Does this utopia present a reasonable universe? Could it really work? Should it work? Is it better than the world that I occupy?

In considering these questions, one must inevitably ask oneself—what components would factor into a utopia, as you’d conceive it? Would there be government, and law? If so, what kind of laws, what kind of government? Who would get to decide? Would there be states, countries? What about money? Jail? In considering these concepts, too, one must consider the assumptions underlying them.

For example, I don’t think that jail would have a place in utopia. The assumption that informs this belief is that no one should have that kind of power over another person; that is, the power to take all power away from another. Additionally, from what little I know of jails and prisons generally and historically, they do not solve anything and the only things they create are negative things. I mean, it seems the purpose of them is not reform but a show of power—you break the laws that a being or entity more powerful than you has set in place, you suffer the consequences.

Anyway, I digress, but see what I mean? It isn’t as simple as saying yes this should exist or no it should not. In thinking of every element that is present in a utopia (or dystopia) one is forced to take apart the society that is presented, piece by piece, and really consider these elements. This is where the fictional aspect is useful, because it displaces us from our daily lived experience of the everyday here on Earth. If you’re not forced to question how things function, if they work for you, well why should you?

In any case, read more dystopias and utopias! They’ll get you thinking about all kinds of things. I recommend “The Dispossessed” by Ursula Le Guin. I would go so far as to say that it is the book that got me started thinking about all of this mess months ago.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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So What is Feminism?

It's Time to do Our Homework!

In light of the Women's March on January 20th 2018, I find it pertinent that we just recap what feminism is.

Some of you might be groaning already:

"ugh why do we even need feminism? it’s like the 20th century women have rights already?"

"yea... some women just need to be better than men ....and that’s just not gonna happen"

(***eye roll with an extra healthy dose of sarcasm sprinkled on top***)

So what EXACTLY is Feminism?

Feminism is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as:

"The advocacy of women's rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes."

and defined by Miriam Webster Dictionary as:

-"The theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes"

- "Organized activity on behalf of women's rights and interests"

"Woah woah woah! hold up... what’s all this "equality" mumbo jumbo?"

I am SO glad you asked!

Lets break this down: Feminism is actually a sociological term to describe the efforts to have equal rights, representation, wages, healthcare and education for ALL people.

“Once more for the people in the back!”


So, if you believe that everyone, no matter their socio-economic background, ethnicity, religion, education but most importantly: their gender, should have access to basic human things such as

  • Access to healthcare
  • Access to equal education opportunities
  • Access to fair and equal wages
  • Access to housing
  • Access to healthy nutrition

Then congratulations, you’re a Feminist.

Now this doesn't mean that you need to break out your body paint and most glittery bra and join a social movement (but props to you if thats your thing!)

All it really means is that you care about other people sharing this space, this country and this world with you.

...and hey, maybe they deserve the opportunity to work just as hard as you do to earn the things that you have.

Recap: Feminism= rights for ALL PEOPLE.

Cover Image Credit: Samuel Corum, Anadolu Agency/ Getty Images

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Mass Shootings And Masculinity Go Hand In Hand

What we're not talking about.

Nineteen mass shootings. Nineteen mass shootings have happened since January 2018 and we’re only in the middle of February. This past shooting at Parkland high school really hit me hard. As I saw the victims of the shooting they reminded me of the kids that I went to high school with. One of the victims was apart of her high school’s color guard and I thought about how much I loved guard when I was in high school. I connected with her.

I saw the videos posted on Snapchat of what the students actually experienced and shed tears with my hand covering my mouth from shock. I saw how insanely graphic the scene was and how being there physically can traumatize one for the rest of their life. No one should have to go through this.

The debates on tv include those of gun control and mental health. On social media, different countries are being thrown around as examples for both stricter gun control, and the allowance for more guns. I also see how the shooter was seen as “mentally ill”, and the stigmatization of those who have mental health issues are dangerous is furthered. The one issue that no one is talking about that plays a huge role in these mass shootings in masculinity.

A large majority of these shooters are white men. While these shootings are also a racial issue I’m going to focus on the gender issue. From a young age, men are exposed to what society deems as masculine. Media hypermasculinized everything to the point where it’s ridiculous. Don’t believe me? Look up Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and see how ridiculously buff they are. They’re cartoon turtles, yet the societal standard of masculinity applies to them.

Even when it comes to toys the commercials for nerf and water guns show only males. Showing that guns are masculine. Young boys are raised to engage in masculine activities or they’re isolated socially and emotionally. Even when young men are engaging in “masculine” activities they still may not be good enough. Getting angry, being the bad boy, having a temper are seen as “cool” traits that males desire to have in order to give themselves an edge.

Now most young boys go through this, and masculinity is not the main factor in mass shootings but it is still a factor. It is a factor that we need to consider because eliminating any factor that helps to produce a mass shooter can help save lives.

Cover Image Credit: Brooke Cagle

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