Check It Out: The Handmaid’s Tale

May 3, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper |


From a reader:

In the near future, fascist military officers, seizing on a crisis triggered by declining fertility rates and using an alleged terrorist attack as a pretext, take power in most of what was the United States. They establish the “Republic of Gilead,” a Christian fascist society in which biblical law and patriarchal values—as updated and interpreted by the new rulers—are increasingly imposed.

A law is passed barring women from having bank accounts or credit cards; their finances will be handled by men. Then women are fired en masse from their jobs. Soon armed enforcers and hidden spies are everywhere. Borders are sealed. Escape, resistance, even dissent, is ruthlessly suppressed—hanged bodies appear around the city. Over the course of five years, society is completely locked down. Women are assigned strict roles—some bear children, some do household work, some heavy and dangerous labor. And some—the “aunts”—indoctrinate others to accept all this. Fear—of the authorities, of other women, of betrayal—permeates life completely.

Even as this happens, while some resist, most go along, either stunned into paralysis or unable to believe it is really happening. Over time it becomes “normal.” One of the “aunts” tells women under her “care”: ‘“Ordinary’ is just what you’re used to. This may not seem ordinary to you right now, but after a time, it will. This will become ordinary.”

This is the world of The Handmaid’s Tale, a new original TV series. The Handmaid’s Tale is fiction... sort of. It’s based on the 1986 novel by Margaret Atwood, and watching it evokes visceral outrage because of its similarities to what is happening in the U.S. right now.

The Handmaid’s Tale is streaming on; three episodes were released on April 26, and a new one will be released each Wednesday. Based on what I’ve seen so far, it is well worth subscribing to Hulu for this. I recommend having friends and family come over to watch and discuss the first three episodes together, and then read the Call to Action for Refuse Fascism and ask people to join and financially contribute to Refuse Fascism. They will be feeling plenty motivated!





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