Women and Feminism in the Handmaid's Tale

796 Words4 Pages
Explore the Issues of women and feminism in the Handmiaids Tale. The novel the Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood is considered a feminist dystopia because it is set within an imperfect society of the future, and adresses the mysogyny of patriarchal culture. It conveys a sharp reminder of the continued need to guard and develop more fully women's rights and positions. In the Handmaid's Tale, the state of Gilead had complete control over women's bodies through their political subjugation. Women were deprived of their basic human rights, such as the right to read and write or to make choices in their lives, such as what to wear: “Then i think: I used to dress like that. That was freedom.” They were robbed of economic independence when the state took control over their bank accounts and therefore all their finances. The Commander and the Aunts claimed that women were better protected in Gilead, that they were treated with respect and kept safe from violence: “There is more than one kind of freedom, said Aunt Lydia. Freedom to and freedom from. In the days of anarchy, it was freedom to. Now you are given freedom from. Don't underrate it.” Yet while it claimed to suppress sexual violence it actually institutionalised it, as we see at Jezebel's and during the ceremony. The ceremony depicted the de-humanisation of Handmaids and Wives, who were made to participate as passive objects and victims in a sex act robbed of sensuality, desire and love: “The commander is fucking. What he is fucking is the lower part of my body. I do not say making love, because this is not what he's doing. Copulating too is inaccurate, because it would imply two people and only one is involved.” In Gilead women were grouped according to their domestic functionality: Handmaids served to reproduce and were reduced to “two legged wombs”. Marthas were obliged to take care of all
Open Document