Thursday, February 7, 2019

Oh, Good Lord, I Just Found Out Margaret Atwood Has Written A Sequel

Last night, going to read a blogger who I have a lot of respect for but who doesn't post nearly as much as I wish she would these days, a passage in her post made me realize that Margaret Atwood's "Handmaidens" concept, what was so effective in her fantasy novel back when it was first published, has proliferated and it now obscures the motivation in most oppression of most women which is purely economic exploitation and financial bondage and enslavement and not based on their reproductive systems.   Neither is the sexual enslavement of women based on any motives of reproduction but of sex, women sold to men to have their vaginas and mouths and anuses rented out for sex and not for reproduction. 

The extent to which the make believe anti-religious "Handmaidens" image is focused on is the extent to which the very real exploitation of women under very secular economic systems is ignored.  While there are certainly horror cult-criminal gangs like the Fundamentalist LDS which should be prosecuted, that is hardly even a significant part of the oppression of women.  Even in those the focus isn't as much reproductive as to provide degenerate gangsters with women to have sex with, they certainly don't seem to care much for the welfare of the children that result except as sex partners, especially the boys who are dumped on the side of the road so as not to compete with the old goat gangster-pedophiles.

My guess is that a lot of those who watch the TV show - and the, certainly, the far smaller number who read the first book or will read the sequel, aren't really greatly bothered by the very real trafficking in women, for economic exploitation, both as formal slave labor and wage slavery and as disposable raw material in the sex industry.   I think most of it, frankly, is more like the zombie mania that sprang up as the Living Dead franchise decayed and spawned or, in a perverse way, like the Pride and Prejudice mania that . . . I wonder if anyone has done a comparison of Jane Austin and "Handmaidens".  Certainly some masters candidate needs some unimportant concept for a thesis.

I wish there were some way to know if that's the case.  I certainly can't imagine that's what Atwood intended or intends but that's how it strikes me. 


  1. Most of the "acceptable" metaphors of fiction obscure rather than reveal. As Eliot's bird said, humankind cannot bear very much reality. Too true and it's offensive; the more comfortable it makes us (because we are better off than that, and can fear someone else through the story, but never ourselves), the better. The best are the ones that let us think others are responsible; but, again, never us.

    I've gotten tired of the entire genre.

    1. I thought the idea was good to OK back when the novel was published, I never saw the one (or is it two) movies, heard the opera or looked at the TV series but have discerned that the use of it in common currency is certainly not what Atwood claimed it was, I think it got away from her and she's on a thrill ride - or maybe the sequel will be an attempt to get it back on track. I remember reading an interview with her in Sojourners in which she denied her intentions were anti-Christian, that she recognized what those characters were was anything but Christian, so she knows better. I doubt one in a hundred of the viewers or maybe one in ten of the readers would tend to get that. It certainly is a first-world concern in a world with far too real horror for women of a completely different character. I don't think she got the American dictatorship right, it's far more pagan than Fundamentalist.

    2. Oddly, I looked at the versions of it that are out there, movies, opera, etc, even radio plays I believe, and it would seem the adaptations are largely if not exclusively done by men, Pinter did the movie screen play, for example.