The Handmaid`s Tale
Try not to binge watch
An emotional rollercoaster, Hulu show, the handmaid’s tale should be on everyone’s must watch TV-show list this summer.
Adapted from the book by Margaret Atwood, Handmaid’s tale is set in dystopian world where fertile women have no control over their bodies. The book was written in 1985, during an era where United States was going through a wave of different issues regarding AIDs, LGBTQ community or anti abortion. You would think the times have changed, United States as a nation has progressed, where women have more power on what the want and need. But the nightmares from the book lives on. Similar to shows like ‘Black Mirror’ or ‘Mr. Robot’ the parallels from reality to fiction can not be ignored.
One more reason to watch is Elizabeth Moss from Mad Men, who plays Offred a borrowed name which means nothing more than a womb, a baby making machine slave, who does what her commander and his barren wife wants. With a plain long red uniform representing menstrual blood and childbirth along with bonnet hiding her face her life involves around just shopping with another maid because they cannot travel alone and taking part in the ‘Ceremony’. Ceremony is a ritual, borrowed from the biblical story of Bilhah and Rachel, that mentions that when ovulating the maid lies on the bed, between the knees of commander’s wife while he performs intercourse with her without making eye-contact. Throughout the show you hear Moss’s real thoughts, her insights and flashbacks from her past life and when the government was falling apart everything was being blamed on the terrorists instead of addressing the main issues.
If you think, a non US citizen wouldn’t know or relate to the story, you are wrong. Women all around the world have participated or spoken out on feminism. Women in Pakistan have fought to get their equal rights. Fatimah Ali Jinnah founded the All Pakistan Women’s Association (APWA) in 1949, aiming to further the moral, social and economic standing of women across the country. Then came the 1980’s, General Zia-ul-Haq’s controversial implementation of the Hudood Ordinance which asked rape victims to present four eye-witnesses for their claim to be accepted. The Women’s Action Forum (WMA) was established in September 1981, lobbying and advocating on behalf of women without the resources to do it themselves. The forum included women from all spheres who spoke against the government in the media, protested on the streets, conducted educational campaigns in schools and devised the famous ‘Men, money, mullahs and military’ slogan.
Set in a near future that looks like the 1600s with Republic of Gilead, which is what part of the United States (New England, roughly) has become after a fertility crisis and a theocratic coup where women are forced to live under the patriarchy. Because the maids cannot openly say what they feel like, Reed Morano the director helms this project in a way that demonstrates a true vision of Atwood's material, with every eye movement or hand gesture, you can sense the fear or helplessness within these women. Cinematography that strips away glamor and you won’t recognize another gem in show, Alexis Bledel who played sweet little Rory Gilmore in Gilmore Girls. Here she plays Ofglen who in her previous life was gay and unlike other gay members in the community who were reduced to Colonies working under radioactive environment she was forgiven by the authorities because she can reproduce.
With chilling storyline and visuals that will give you goose bumps throughout. It’s a story that normalizes the abnormal. Before starting, prepare yourself for mental distress because it’s too REAL and relevant within each of our worlds. Make sure to watch it every week instead of binging it all together.