Feminism In The Handmaid's Tale English 102 Research Paper

1662 words - 7 pages

Zach Bender-Kokx
3/18/18
English 102
Research Paper
Through gross violations of human rights in today’s society, many parallels have been drawn to the novel “The Handmaid’s Tale. Through this religion-based oppression and hardship, people have banded together, fighting back against the oppressors as well as creating strong bonds with each other. This oppression in both THT and our society have brought forward many feminist ideals, like sisterhood and equal rights. The parallels between the two universes exist not only between human rights violations but also literal contexts pulled from the novel. Atwood’s novel was intended as a dystopia with hopes that the ideas in the novel would be seen as outrageous, and not actually set into motion in one form or another. Because of these consistencies with the work of dystopia people in our world have revived and started talking about issues pertaining to the novel.
The first parallel we can observe in today's society is the issue of childbearing. In THT woman are completely prevented from having children when they want to, and instead forced to procreate with Commanders whenever they deem necessary. Many people who believe in woman’s rights are starting to draw the parallels between this factor of Gilead and current laws being passed. While it is true that abortion and contraception methods are still legal in the United States, elected officials are attempting to reduce accessibility to birth control methods by cutting Planned Parenthood budgets, instating a mandatory waiting period as well as requiring multiple appointments, raising the cost of abortions. In both societies, the destruction of basic human rights is extremely apparent.
This parallel to THT has sparked a certain outrage in woman’s rights supporters across the country, bringing more aspects of Atwood’s work into today’s world. One overwhelming example of this is woman dressing up as handmaids in protest to the new laws being passed. In an article written by Christine Hauser for the NY Times, she describes a scene in front of the white house, stating “Silent, heads bowed, the activists in crimson robes and white bonnets have been appearing at demonstrations against gender discrimination and the infringement of reproductive and civil rights.” During this protest, woman were fighting back by dressing up in handmaid’s outfits as they now symbolize this idea of sisterhood and sticking together that was so apparent in THT. THT novel was written as a work of fiction, however, we see these injustices pertaining to birthing rights happening all across the country. Recently on June 17th of 2017 woman in Handmaid’s tale costumes attended a hearing in order to protest a bill that would outright ban Ohio’s most common abortion practice. This again is an attempt to force the birthing rights away from a woman, much like in Gilead.
In THT novel, there are many examples of strong feminist characters. One example of this is the characters...

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