Wednesday, April 28, 2021

The Rage Inherent in The Handmaid's Tale

For the last three weeks I've been rewatching the first three seasons of The Handmaid's Tale in order to prepare for the premiere of the fourth. I thought my anger would have died down a little after a year's hiatus. I was wrong. So I decided to make a list of what's been bothering me just to calm down a little. Also I need to give myself a break from Joseph Fienne's face for a while because damn he makes me want to break something. 

Trigger warning: rape, harassment, abuse, imprisonment 

Rage Item #1: Ritualized Rape whitewashed as "The Ceremony" 

Maybe the Commander/Wife pairs who have thus far been unable to conceive en masse should read the room: God doesn't want any of you having children, so why not just focus on your knitting or your gardening and leave the handmaids out of it? Despite the fact that a very small percentage of the handmaids actually signed up for their positions, NONE OF THEM enjoys the rape ceremony, having the babies they carried stolen from them, or being harassed and leered at by their respective commanders. No, Fred, she's not hot for you, she's scared, she wants her kid back, and she wants to GTFO. I'd go so far as to request a personal message on the ridiculousness of it all delivered by God, Jesus, and Mary themselves stating "Hey, you've got this 100% wrong," but clearly they'd ignore it, anyway. And do they think it's working? The majority of these situations end in negative outcomes and the people in charge don't seem to be learning any lessons or adapting the setup at all. 

Rage Item #2: PTSD

Moira, Emily, and countless others (as well as the young children), despite having escaped, will have lasting effects from their time in Gilead. Were Canada not a free healthcare nation with solid refugee resources I'd say the entire bill should be directed right back to Gilead, specific to whichever Commander/Wife pairs were responsible. Aunts, too. They cannot just be allowed to DAMAGE A HUMAN RACE. True there cannot really be a dollar amount attached to the psycho-emotional damage that has been done but there should still be accountability. The commanders are war criminals; treat them as such.

Rage Item #3: Gilead being allowed

Watching the episode that described the insurrection dismantling the former United States is definitely a different experience, post 1/6/21, but the question in both cases is the same: WHO LET THIS HAPPEN? WHO STOOD TO THE SIDE AND ALLOWED IT? I can't believe anyone, any country would take this seriously or acknowledge the Gilead experiment in any way, shape, or form.

There are mentions in various episodes of how other countries view Gilead (Mexico continues trade and considers handmaids for their own society; Canada accepts refugees and refuses to extradite but is wary of Gilead's military), but where was the UN? Where was the resistance? We've heard about the wars in Chicago and the map shows Texas in rebellion, what's happening there? Can people escape southward?

Rage Item #4: Women as Things

They rape the women, take their children, enslave them, and beat them. The handmaid's bodies' worth is judged solely on the ability to provide healthy children. Their eyes are expendable. Their hands and feet are expendable. In Washington, the handmaid's mouths are clamped shut with wires. Serena Joy has the misguided idea that as a prominent wife of a commander, her thoughts and feelings count just as much as her husband's, but she soon learns that her position is also limited; she is to be controlled and governed over, too.

Rage Item #5: No reading

Females--- children, handmaids, Marthas, and wives --- are not allowed to read. Again, Serena Joy thinks her past experiences as spokeswoman for the religious cause and former book author exempts her but she's wrong. In Canada she seems embarrassed when given an illustrated no-word itinerary sheet (as would be the norm in Gilead); after requesting permission for Gilead's girl children to be allowed to learn to read the Bible, she loses a finger for her efforts at the command of her own husband.

Where will it all go in season 4? I have hopes and dreams for Janine, June, Emily, Moira, and Hannah. Don't let the bastards grind you down, ladies! You get your shit together and you FIGHT! 

(season 4 premiere recap forthcoming!)