If you’re like me, you don’t need a reason to watch The Handmaid’s Tale. You’ve already read Margaret Atwood’s books previously and fallen in love with them.
Atwood’s always had a bit of cult following. She first wrote the Edible Woman in 1969 and still writes to this day, often focusing on technology, apocalyptic themes and women’s bodies. For the record, I’ve read 5 or 6 of her books, which is quite an achievement for me!
The Handmaid’s Tale recently launched on Hulu, then got picked up by Channel 4 to be broadcast in the UK. The subject matter is haunting in the book, but the TV series just makes it even more real. The primary subject matter: ownership of women’s bodies, is unfortunately a conversation still being had today. Apocalyptic TV shows, such as The Handmaid’s Tale, are so terrifying because it is relatable to some minute degree.
But then I got wondering, how far away is it actually?
Recently Ivanka Trump went on a ‘female empowerment’ tour in Saudi Arabia, a country famous for its human rights’ abuses. It entirely covered the issues that Saudi Arabia has in regards to its human rights’ abuses. And that’s exactly part of what The Handmaid’s Tale addresses. The women in the Handmaid’s Tale essentially become owned by the state, but they’re supposed to feel empowered by the ‘blessing’ they’ve been given – to give life to a baby/child. It’s not even seen as an issue that it is forced upon these women to do so.
Yes giving birth to a child could be empowering for some, but not all. A small minority of these women benefit from an ’empowering’ government and not all.
What makes this more terrifying is that the DUP recently got elected into Theresa May’s government. The DUP are notoriously awful to be blunt, but nobody knew who they were. One of their most notorious (and terrifying) policies is anti-abortion. An abortion for women in Northern Ireland can mean a life-sentence. H0w fucking terrifying is that? This is trying to force women, by prohibiting abortion, into having children. It’s scarily reminiscent of the Handmaid’s Tale and it’s something that still happens.
The Handmaid’s Tale gives you perspective. That one woman’s dream could be another woman’s hell. Recognising the differences between women and what they want is an important part of the feminist experience and path to a truly equal society.
My main reason to watch The Handmaid’s Tale is that it’s a damningly haunting. In some minute way, in the 21st century, we can relate to it as women.
If you’re curious to read my recommendations of Atwood’s novels, you can also find a blog post here just about that!
I’m Eleanor, a UK Manchester based Lifestyle & Beauty Blogger. I write about beauty products, feminism, mental health and my adventures in the big city of MCR.