2017 was undoubtedly a year for the record books, in so many ways. We couldn't help but end the year by focusing on the many days, weeks and months of crisis we all experienced - clearly in the hope that 2018 would be a year of renewal, energy and empowerment! Enjoy here our year-end posts about #crisis - and never forget that we are all in this together, no matter what, where, why and how shit happens. Thanks for a great year of solidarity and community - and here's to an amazing 2018 for all #CampusWomen!!
the proFmagazine team....
selected “complicit” as the word of the year based, in part, on the interest it generated after
Saturday Night Live
satirical commercial of the same name
selected “feminism,” and cited events like the Women’s March on Washington, Hulu’s television show
The Handmaid’s Tale
, and the reboot of
as supporting validation. More recently, Merriam-Webster
, was the rise of interest in feminism “in conjunction with the many accounts of sexual assault and harassment in the news.”
During the course of this calendar year, I taught hundreds of students and nine courses, and based on my classroom experiences, I opt for a much different word of the year:
Crisis of Power: A Review of Naomi Alderman’s Dystopian Novel
Early in Naomi Alderman’s brilliant novel
The Power, an epigraph from the futuristic “Book of Eve” states:
It follows that there are two ways for the nature and use of human power to change. One is that an order might issue from the palace, a command unto the people saying “It is thus.” But the other, the more certain, the more inevitable, is that those thousand points of light should each send a new message. When the people change, the palace cannot hold.
Moving forward from this quotation, Alderman shows the genesis of the time of women, precipitated by the emergence of a strange new power awoken in young women. Through a skein of tissue by the collarbone, young women can generate electrical power and send it out through their fingertips. Eventually, they help awaken this power in much older women as well, and the chaos that ensues is much like what is portended above: thousands of women send messages to men that they, the women, now are in charge. The new world cannot hold the evolution of such power.
The novel focuses on four main characters: Roxy, the illegitimate teen daughter of a British mobster; Tunde, a Nigerian man and promising journalist; Margot, a mayor of a large U.S. city; and, Allie, an older teen who grew up in U.S. foster homes. For ten years, the novel traces the evolution of women’s power. Once the transition to full female empowerment is complete, the novel finishes in a crescendo of chapters where the plotlines converge and diverge.
Crisis of Complicity?
Each year, Dictionary.com selects one impactful word that represents the world, “for better or for worse.” For 2017, the word is “
Complicit means “choosing to be involved in an illegal or questionable act, especially with others; having partnership or involvement in wrongdoing.” Or, put simply, it means being, at some level, responsible for something . . . even if indirectly.
Dictionary.com says that on March 12, 2017, there was an increase of 10,000% of searches for the definition of “complicit.” Why? It was the day after the
Saturday Night Live
in which Scarlett Johansson played Ivanka Trump.
National Public Radio
New York Times
have excellent takes on “complicit” as 2017’s word of the year. Neither, however, address higher education – an environment in which we know it is an issue. So I ask you, ProF readers: is there a crisis of complicity on your campus? If so, what are the implications? Why do we allow bad behavior to continue? How can we affect change?
Abridged #Crisis Catalog, 2017
And more, and more…
Next Chapter - #Renew, 2018