The word of the year for 2022 was announced at the end of November.
And the word question is “gaslighting”.
Gaslighting is to mess with people’s minds, usually over a long period. Systematically or individually.
The origin of the word is a story. A 1944 movie called ‘Gaslight’ (interestingly, the movie does not use the word anywhere. It later came to be used by the New York Times in the 1990s, and picked up usage after 2010.)
You know how we love a story around here!
In the 1944 American film Gaslight, a husband uses trickery to convince his wife that she is mentally unwell so he can steal from her. The title refers to the gaslight illumination of the house, which seems to flicker whenever the husband leaves his wife alone at home. The lights flicker because the husband was trying to find the wife’s grandmother’s fortune in the walls. The gas lines ran through the walls, and hence the flicker. The wife kept saying to her husband, ‘is this dark in here’? And he kept saying ‘no’, until the point that she was declared certifiably crazy.
That’s what gaslighting means.
Why is ‘gaslighting’ the word of the year in 2022?
Bear in mind ‘gaslighting’ beat out a number of words, including words like “oligarch” (ah yes, the year of another global war – our 2022!) and compound words like “cancel-culture” and even “Omicron”. The reason for that is over the last few years, since 2020, since the horrific, publicly viewed murder of George Floyd in the streets by a cop who was since convicted, we, as a society have been coming to terms with the need for a higher state of consciousness. People have started to think about what counts as ‘equity’. And understanding our own role in furthering equity over the years.
My 11 year old daughter knows what gaslighting means.
And the reason for that is because the awareness, in general, has increased, which I think is an exceedingly good sign.
The language around us provides a huge cue for the state of the world, and what will resonate in terms of your marketing and communication.
Pay attention to it.
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In my book UNboring, take your content marketing from blah to brilliant – there’s a chapter that deals with navigating marketing and communication in a world that possesses a higher state of consciousness. Here’s a snippet 👇I’d love if you put it on your business reading list since you’ve been so good this year 💪😁