The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
I have tried diligently to avoid trailers for the Hulu adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, because I wanted to avoid the hype and feeling disappointed (I’m *very* disappointed Hulu renewed it for a second season, because it should be a one-and-done deal. Like, where else are you going to take this story? ANYWHOO). I decided before I started the Hulu series that I needed to re-read the book, because it had been about 5-6 years.
HOLY SHITSNACKS YOU GUYS.
I told my husband that It Can’t Happen Here is the story of Trump’s presidency, but that The Handmaid’s Tale is the story of Pence’s, when it inevitably comes to fruition.
We’re so f**ked.
I’m no stranger to religious misogyny, as my own church has more than its own disgusting share. Our big fights right now are in the ordination of female clergy and how do we treat LGBT+ individuals, especially if they’re out and have children? [eyeroll] But this kind of religious oppression is based directly in the Bible and involves a few select passages with which to clobber women and minorities in a way that props up the “righteous” and punishes the dissidents. Women, of course, partake in it as well as men. That’s what makes this book so chilling.
What’s scary is that Atwood depicts so well the small slides into dehumanization of women that start with micro-aggressions and end with full-on sexual slavery. The flashes back and forward in time are effective at building this suspense, because you wonder “how did they get here?” and then when you realize how they did, you notice that it had been building for years.
The part that really struck me to the heart this time around was the scene where Offred finds out that she and all the other women have been let go from their jobs and look at each other in shame and confusion. I have felt this when I have been publicly demeaned or shamed but had no language for it. Atwood lays it open and makes you nod, because you’ve been there before.
I’m not going to talk about the show at this point, because I’m still processing what I’ve seen. Episode 3 is brutal.