The Handmaids Tale – Review and Spoilers

An ode to the misogynistic past of global society. How we have treated women in the past is abhorrent, and the handmaids tail is a unrelenting reminder of the gender split mindset of our world which is displayed in this amazing dystopian tv series. The show explores a world where fertility rates drop significantly across America resulting in babies and fertile women becoming a precious commodity. As this happens a deeply disturbing ideology sets in which gains political traction where all the fertile women are to be rounded up for breeding purposes.  The new born ideology  is enforced  through indoctrination, maiming, violence, torture and sometime even execution.It’s a fascinating insight into the connections between sexual behaviour, power and the human greater good. The concept is original, contemporary and devastatingly realistic which is why it’s been well received by critics and viewers.

Elizabeth Moss plays Offred, who is a resolute handmaid, constantly battling with her circumstances in this new world. The show allows us as viewers to rummage around the psyche of Elizabeth, as her situation is unravelled to us revealing the true horrors of her situation. The handmaids are taken from their regular lives, kidnapped due to the their being fertile in an infertile world, and then placed in the households of rich and powerful couples who are unable to bear children. The handmaid is then forced to have sex with the husband of the household in the hope that she will become pregnant, the baby now claimed by the rich couple and the handmaid moves on to another household. It is rarely explicitly touched upon in the show that the women are being raped. The situational setup is framed around the absence of humanity and this can be seen from the language being used to the limits put on the handmaids, effectively making them sexual slaves.

It makes me think about the extent human beings will go to continue to populate. The handmaids tale concept is very realist in its depiction of the human relationship with reproduction, and how fantastic it can be, how it unifies us and even offer spiritual as well as physical satisfaction. The flip side of that coin is how sex can be used as a tool to control, humiliate and even destroy others. The fact that we still choose to use sex in this way, especially as men, shows me that maybe we are still in the early days of a sexual revolution. It was  around fifty years ago that the birth control pill was invented, and at the same time we saw more countries adopt a more liberalised approach to  abortion and same sex relationships. The handmaids tale gives us the opposite of sexual progression and offers us an extreme conservative perspective, where a women’s choice of life is taken away and essentially they become sexual slaves. However it is for the greater good of mankind…right?

Why is it so important for us to re-populate? We do make a big deal out of it as humans, and even though there is a slight cultural shift in the normative expectations of the average person, having children seems to be the ultimate goal for many people. What I think people miss in the real world and in the handmaids tale world, is that ‘how’ people come into the world is just as important as ‘if they do’, maybe even more so. Children brought into this world, unplanned and uncared for is a tragedy and even though hardship whilst young can add resolve to a child’s personal traits, when the hardship spills into suffering this can be severely detrimental to a child’s life. The show definitely has more mileage in it and I salute the acting, writing, directing and production. The soundtrack is pretty on point too. I do hope the next few seasons are as riveting as the last two and I hope the content keeps the conversation flowing.

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