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The Handmaid's Tale - Printable Version

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The Handmaid's Tale - Dr. Jezebel - 06-07-2017

Full disclosure: I've not read the book, and I'm not far into the TV series. 

This piece was written by a former Fundy about the novel, and I'm curious if other former Fundies, especially women, draw similar conclusions. 


RE: The Handmaid's Tale - Workin' Mama - 06-08-2017

I've not read the book or seen the TV series; this is the first time I've ever heard of it. But I found the article really fascinating.

It does not mirror my own upbringing, but it does reflect my observations of a few fundy families I've met who were really on the fringe.

One thing that I found really interesting was what the author says about political and cultural trends -- she seems to fear that the far right is getting stronger and getting more extreme. I would agree. I think both the far right and the far left are getting more extreme. I've seen the drift within my lifetime, and I'm not very old. It seems there's no room for moderation anymore. No room for the two sides to really come together and have a meaningful discussion in which both truly listen to each other. Or maybe the extremists are just the ones getting all the press (as well as all the power within their own parties).

I do believe that some far right groups are purposely having large numbers of children for political reasons -- so that they can swing the vote in the next generation. In fact, I once heard this concept actively promoted by a guest preacher (although his approach was not as extreme as that of the Quiverfull movement).

I also believe that so-called complementarianism and religious patriarchy are growing, and they are spreading their ugly tentacles into mainstream evangelicalism and mainstream protestantism, which I find very concerning. It seems that when I was a child, there were occasional snide remarks about "feminism" in church circles; there were sexist jokes about women told from the pulpit, and women were not allowed to have prominent leadership positions in the church. But there was not the constant harangueing about gender roles and "male leadership" that I've seen in recent years. At least that's been my experience. Maybe I'm just biased because of the pattern of denominational changes that my family and I went through during my lifetime.

RE: The Handmaid's Tale - captain_solo - 06-09-2017

I haven't watched the series, but I have read the book.  

Atwood's speculative fiction isn't good because it follows an ideological template, it's good because it deals with scarcity in a novel way.   All speculative dystopian fiction does this, and it's why so much of the young adult dystopian material out there is crap.   Its just book publishers bandwagon jumping to try to match the success of say, the Hunger Games and failing because doing this type of thing right is hard. You have to be smart with the details of the dystopian world, not just able to write awkward social scenes between young characters with too many hormones and plop stupid interactions that could be from a fundy Amish Porn novel into a supposedly dystopian world where aliens, or communists, or fundy armies attacked a small town in Iowa with biological weapons.

Atwood's core scarcity is around women who are physically capable of bringing to term genetically viable offspring.  The economic/human survival forces which produce the strange social norms and the somewhat vaguely familiar feminist themes surrounding them are actually not all that similar to what we see today because our problem tends to be the opposite.  There is not enough scarcity.  Eugenics, feminism, patriarchy, social mores around the protection/veneration of women as birth mothers, all take on very interesting and unreal aspects when placed in a society which will supposedly collapse if procreation isn't managed ruthlessly and what that would look like combined with christian fundamentalist totalitarianism, something that is even more unbelievable than the more mundane aspects of the setting.  I can't envision any realistic scenario where you could get enough fundamentalists to agree with each other to the point that they could impact society on a large scale let alone set up a coherent one if they did take out the current crop of miscreants.   In fact I see Atwood hit the inevitable class hierarchies that arise out of totalitarian regimes more on the nose both for the men and women in the novel than the actual male/female aspects of the book. She goes out of her way to depict the way many women participate in the subjugation of other women directly in a way which to me made it much more realistic (and is probably the closest connection to the quiverfull movement's dark underbelly as per the article)

I really like Atwood's book because of what it is, and bothers me that it's being made into some kind of cautionary tale about Trump and/or Pence.  This is not the only article that has taken that approach and I find it tenuous and silly.

I guess when all you have is a hammer...

RE: The Handmaid's Tale - Dr. Jezebel - 06-09-2017

Quote:She goes out of her way to depict the way many women participate in the subjugation of other women directly in a way which to me made it much more realistic (and is probably the closest connection to the quiverfull movement's dark underbelly as per the article)

This is one of the things I find most unsettling, because I've definitely experienced this aspect in fundamentalism.