With the 6th of June approaching at lightning speeds, it is time everyone is reminded to tune-in to the dystopian world of The Handmaid’s Tale. The reasons we love The Handmaid’s Tale are endless, but the truth is: men and women need to watch it.
Sure, it is a really addictive show, so there’s that reason. However, the sickeningly horrific details within the story are the reason we should all be watching.
For those living under a rock, The Handmaid’s Tale is set in the not-to-distant future and follows June, who has been condemned to life a Handmaid. Her fate as a Handmaid includes (but is not limited to) having her daughter taken away from her; being held captive in a house; being sexually assaulted; becoming impregnated; having that child taken away; moving to the next house and repeating.
While the show’s plot may seem far-fetched and unnecessarily brutal, is it actually really important that viewers discuss the horrors that unfold. The Handmaid’s Tale is full of warnings and reflects so many of the weaknesses in our society that threaten to tear us apart.
Women need men to be on our side
The Handmaid’s Tale highlights the importance of having men as allies. While it would be great if every man with even a teaspoon of power defended out rights, it’s equally important to encourage your average, everyday guy to defend women publicly. While you might not have the support of the Fred’s of the world, having guys like Luke rooting for you is equally important.
Guys – do you see a woman being shamed for being assaulted, just for walking home on her own? Speak up. Are your mates being vulgar and exchanging degrading comments about women? Stop them. Have you overheard a conversation about women having set roles and needing to follow certain gendered rules? Educate them.
This isn’t a fight for women to battle on their own. It is an issue we all need to get behind.
Women need women to be on our side
Gosh, it hurts to hear women speaking about other women negatively. To hear women explaining that murder victims were careless for “putting themselves in that position”. Sorry, but if by “that position” you mean they went about their lives like any man would, there’s the problem.
Serena Joy shows how dangerous it is when women are the ones spouting misinformed ideologies about how women should behave. Her push to move us all down in the pecking-order resulted in the revolting world of Gilead. In a nutshell, her preaching basically resulted in the apocalypse of life for women. Sex slavery. Stolen children. A blanket-ban on reading ANYTHING for all women. Dismemberment or murder for breaking the law. The list goes on. Shout-out to Serena Joy for that!
If we can’t learn to love each other, our future is terrifying. I mean, look how fast Constance Hall’s “Queens” turned on her as she rose to fame.
Women need other women to lift them up. Gilead lacked that by the eff-load.
We can see the warning signs
We can see signs that things may go awry. We can see when leaders may be leading us on a path we do not want our world to head in *cough* Trump *cough*. We can see the failures within this work of fiction to stop them from happening. Instead of learning from real-life atrocities, we can spare our world of the suffering needed for major lessons to be learned.
Surely, in this day and age, we can agree on what is right and what is not. Surely, we should not have to worry about the government back-peddling on legislation that gives equal rights to women, same-sex couples, unmarried couples, refugees, transgender people. Surely, this isn’t even a conversation we need to have in 2019. Surely. Surely. Surely.
The fight for equality is a tide, coming in strong and washing over us all with hope. Then something will happen – like, a terrorism attack by a radical Christian group – and that tide recedes. Season 3 of The Handmaid’s Tale has us all filled with hope that June’s badass demeanour will help her bring down Gilead and restore order. Only time will tell.
At the end of the day, while the show is insanely confronting, it reminds us that complacency is dangerous and freedom is is a fragile concept.