Barbara Kay of the National Post admits she has not read The Handmaid’s Tale, nor has she watched the new television show.
“Pious Christians are the last people on earth to dream up a system in which the state has control over everyone’s sexual and reproductive lives…”
It’s pretty clear she doesn’t know the story. In Margaret Atwood’s book, there is a plot reveal halfway or maybe two-thirds of the way into the story that made me foot stomping mad. Because… of course! The men in charge of Gilead are certainly not pious, they are hypocritical oligarchs.
Just as Animal Farm so deftly pointed out the problem with communism – its leaders are corrupt with power –
“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”
– so does Atwood point out the problem with the marriage of politics and religion in modern America.
Jerry Falwell made the political push in the 1980s with The Moral Majority. Donald Trump will be giving the commencement speech at the Falwell-founded Liberty University today.
Around that same time the preachers and religious lobbyists gaining such influence were also revealing their true nature. This continues today.
As soon as a group (in this case, and in most cases, of men) has power over other groups (in this case, and so often, of women) that power corrupts. And the leaders see themselves as exempt from the rules they impose.
In The Handmaid’s Tale there is forced sex (rape), and forced pregnancy, and forced birth. In American politics there are men deciding the reproductive rights of women.
Donald Trump dismisses his brags of sexual assault as “just locker room talk”, and his first wife has recanted her story of how he raped her in a fit of anger. The demonization and limiting of access to birth control and abortion is forced pregnancy and forced birth. These things are happening right now across America.
In the past the midwives attended the births, and medicinal plants known to women were used as birth control and aids for miscarriage. In other words, most of the men didn’t even know what was going on, it was the mystery of womanhood. (And a lot of men still don’t understand female anatomy.)
The Handmaid’s Tale resonates with American women so much that political protesters are donning the costume to add emphasis to their demands for control over their own reproductive health.
Birth control is every woman’s right, and nobody else’s business. Claiming religion as a basis to exert power over a women’s body is a corruption. Atwood is Canadian, and our political policy is to uphold a woman’s autonomy over her reproductive rights.
I can’t wait for the explosion of commentary over the internet after the episode with the big plot reveal airs.