This week Hulu released the first three episodes of “The Handmaid’s Tale.” Based on the book by Margaret Atwood, the series is set in a future dystopian United States which is now called Gilead. The country has been stricken with an infertility crisis and population is rapidly declining. The women who are deemed fertile have been rounded up and forced into sex slavery to bear children for the elite rulers whose wives are barren.
The patriarchy and theocracy have taken over in a return to traditional values and women’s roles in society have been reduced to bearing children, cooking, cleaning, shopping and remaining meek. They are not allowed to read, travel alone and there are eyes watching them everywhere to make sure they behave.
The main protagonist, Offred (played by Elizabeth Moss), was once a successful, happily married woman with a daughter but after the infertility crisis, the original Constitution was amended and women were stripped of all rights. Her bank account was frozen and she was fired from her job. Since she was still able to bear children, she was violently taken from her family and thrust into her new role as a handmaiden for The Commander and his wife.
The theocrats at the top claim that God sent the plague to punish society for the use of birth control, the morning after pill and abortion. Rape is the woman’s fault because she led the man on and women who embrace sexual freedom are called “sluts” and “dirty women.” The women who were in academia were rounded up and sent to “the colonies” where they work to their death because they dared to think for themselves.
Gay people are also looked down upon and are called “gender traitors.” Most are hung but the fertile lesbians are mutilated so they can’t enjoy sex but can still bear children.
Since the show’s debut, feminists have been praising it for drawing attention to what’s going on currently in the fight for reproductive rights under the Trump administration. Just this week there was a piece in The New Yorker titled “We Live in the Reproductive Dystopia of The Handmaid’s Tale.” The article draws comparisons between the book/show and what it calls a Republican, religious, misogynist assault on women’s reproductive rights in 2017.
I hate to break it to the author (and the feminists on social media) but there is no war on women’s reproductive rights. Republican’s don’t want to take away your birth control or access to health care. What they DO want to do is grant the same human rights you and I enjoy to the unborn, who are every bit as human as you or I.
While the show is incredibly well done and the story intriguing, it also makes a lot of digs at Christianity and the misconception of how women are treated within the church. And if someone watching “The Handmaid’s Tale” truly thinks the church wants to send women back to the 1800s, they obviously have a very skewed view of religion. The way Offred and the other women are treated align more with Islam than Christianity but it’s doubtful the left will even see the parallels there and instead will choose to point a finger at the Christian church and scream “this is what’s going to happen to you if you refuse to pay for our birth control and abortions.”
According to people who have read the book, the resistance is coming on the show. I’m looking forward to seeing how it all plays out and what other misconceptions about conservatives the plot will bring.