Last week, the long anticipated series “The Handmaid’s Tale,” premiered its first three episodes on Hulu. Whether you’re familiar with Margaret Atwood’s novel that the series is based on, or have only recently become aware of the stories existence, odds are you’ve heard it associated with a certain “f” word.
Before you start getting any crazy ideas, the word I’m talking about is feminism.
It’s not an inaccurate label, but it is one that has led to some false assumptions that this story and series are meant solely for a female audience, which couldn’t be further from the truth.
While the story centers around a woman, Offred (Elisabeth Moss), it is an epic tale of humanity.
Set in a dystopian United States that’s ruled by a religious order, “The Handmaid’s Tale,” could be viewed as a cautionary tale. It depicts a world where women have slowly had their rights stripped away, and are “valued” only for their ability to reproduce. Given the current political climate, it’s hard to ignore the parallels between the series and the religious and personal leanings of some politicians. Personally, I think we’re still a long way off from the dark theocracy created by Atwood.
We’re not on the verge of plummeting into a full-on religious, civil war. We may not be perfect, but we’re still a ways off from devolving into a theocracy that uses less fortunate, but fertile women as human incubators for the rich and powerful…I hope.
For me personally, while the more far-fetched aspects of the show serve as a reminder of what humanity is capable of, it’s the quieter, less violent moments that really send a chill down your spine. In one instance, a well-meaning husband says he’ll take care of his wife after she’s no longer allowed to hold a job or own property. It’s a kind gesture that ignores the stripping away of an entire gender’s rights. Even the ridiculous rules placed on the handmaidens seem far-fetched, until you consider the rules most women learn to live with. Don’t walk alone at night. Always keep an eye on your drink. Don’t attract the wrong type of attention (whatever that is)…have I made my point yet?
It’s a dark and incredibly relevant show, that may not be a sign of things to come, but it is a reminder of our own short comings. It’s also beautifully acted and filmed, and worth viewing if you’re fan of well-told stories about humanity.
…just for fun: