OPINION: ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ is the nation’s wake up call and we keep snoozing


Ashlynn Gallagher, Contributor

It’s no mystery that we live in a time where many women fear for their safety. A world where we question a woman’s word but have no problem trusting a man’s. A reality that sexual assault is something even the president of the United States can allegedly commit without punishment.

For these and countless other reasons, the events in “The Handmaid’s Tale” no longer seem fictional.

For those not familiar with this show, it follows a terrifying future where the government is overthrown and an elite establishment takes over. The elites strip women of all their rights, ultimately making them the property of men.

Women are no longer are allowed to vote, read, have their own money or own property. With infertility at an all-time high due to radiation and pollution, a group of women referred to as “the handmaids” are forced to be childbearing slaves to the elite. They are grouped and identified by their red cloaks and white bonnets that represent their submissiveness.

To some people, this type of future may sound completely unrealistic, and while I agree it may be a little over the top, its representation of the lack of respect towards women is spot on.

Just look at the news. Over the past year, countless women have spoken up about their own encounters with sexual assault. How many of those women were criticized and called liars? How many were accused of seeking attention or money?

The fact that most of the men accused were in a position of power shows the similarities in the elite’s thinking that they are entitled to a woman’s body.

The women in “The Handmaid’s Tale” are expected to cover every inch of their body to avoid attracting other men. This sounds eerily like some schools across the country telling young girls to cover up because their shoulders might “excite” the boys.

The handmaids are also taught to believe that they are responsible for their own sexual assaults. They are told that because of how they dress or act, they are asking for it.

Some people believe that this show was created to villainize Trump and his administration. What these people are apparently oblivious to is that this show is based on the 1985 novel “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood.

This means issues that were apparent over three decades ago have yet to improve. Women are still sexualized, blamed and belittled for their own adversities.

I want to be very clear that I am in no way placing all the blame on the men of the United States. I am aware that plenty of other countries are guilty of this type of oppressive behavior and female empowerment is sorely lacking around the world, but now is not the time to abandon or doubt each other.

Let the handmaids be our warning for what is to come if we don’t start taking these issues seriously. If we start treating everyone equally, there will no longer be room for discrimination. The only way we can make a change is if we work together.

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