The Handmaid’s Tale
Dystopia refers to a society characterized by oppression, misery, overcrowding, disease, misery, and squalor. In The Handmaid’s Tale, a movie based on the novel by Margaret Atwood, dystopia refers to a society marked by the misery of women or a society where women are treated with disdain. In this society, women are not presented as they should be, either in political and socioeconomic spheres or in any other life sphere. In short, the society is full of male prejudice and chauvinism together with other misconceptions that make people view men as the higher beings in the society. The film acts to distinguish some modern societies from others. Some societies are characterized by individuality and freedom. In this case, people think on their own without being dictated upon. They are free from any unnatural constraints such as mental manipulation and force. People in this kind of society are considered free. The opposite is a society where people are controlled through force and intimidation. People in such society do not think freely as they are forced to do what others want. For example, the US represents a society that is full of individualism and freedom while countries like North Korea are the opposite. Thus, the Handmaid’s Tale can be used to represent North Korea, where freedom and individualism are not present.
From what can be learned from The Handmaid’s Tale, it is clear that a society where there are threats to individuality is not good. It is as if the film is trying to imply that countries like the US, which has tasted individuality, should not in any way allow anything that can threaten it. Instead, such a society should defend individuality if it wants this individuality to be fully realized in the future.
It is clear that one will not always get what they desire or want. Factors beyond people’s control make them not get what they want. For instance, obstacles such as inability, intelligence, and resources may lead to one not getting what they had wanted. The coercive elements in society are the factors that hinder individuality in this society. For example, reproduction in the society represented in the film is regulated. The political hierarchy is also rigid, and women are completely controlled to make sure that they do not vote and do not hold property, do not read, and do not hold any jobs. Eventually, females in this society are treated as if they are not humans. Kate, the main character in this film, is completely devoid of her freedom by one of the ruling class couples. Her womb and her body are treated as objects as the couple that she works for uses them with the hope that she will bear the child they have always desired. What can be learned from Kate’s experience is that people who deny the freedom of others are also not free. Instead, most of them are sterile and cannot bear any children. They are being controlled, too.
From the film, it is clear that if individuality and freedom are to prevail, coercive constrictions must be absent. Natural resources must be allowed to flow freely within the society. In addition, the government must be flexible and must respect people’s rights, including the right for reproduction.
When talking about freedom, Aunt Lydia mentions two kinds of freedom: “freedom to” and “freedom from,” and warns the handmaids not to underrate “freedom from”. “Freedom to” is good freedom as people can choose what to do and are free from control. For example, the handmaids in this film can choose what to wear and whom to visit. However, freedom from is bad freedom. It is mostly witnessed among female strangers like Kate who are treated as sexists. From these two freedoms, it is worthy to understand that a society must allow its members to exercise different rights and freedom. For example, a society must allow its members the right to express their emotions and feelings. In addition, the society should allow women to dress as they wish and not be subjected to sexual oppression. Therefore, an ideal society is not the society presented in the Handmaid’s Tale, since women here are just sexual objects. In the contemporary society, women need their rightful place.
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In The Handmaid’s Tale, Lydia warns about underrating “freedom from”. Lydia in this statement means that women should not succumb to sexist chats and abuse from strangers. Lydia is also warning against male chauvinism since it is a great reality. Women in this society are expected to be submissive to men in all ways. Therefore, falling in love would mean more succumb to abuse as men control women’s body. With these words, Lydia also speaks for some modern communities or societies where freedom is not present. In such societies, male chauvinism is still there and women are treated as sexual objects. Therefore, underrating “freedom from” can be done through succumbing to abuse while still aware.
When talking about love, Offred tells the commander that what is missing from Gilead is the opportunity to “fall in love”. I totally agree with Offred since as seen earlier, falling in love means falling in a man’s trap. Since men control women in this society, falling in love means that women will fall in men’s trap. In a society where chauvinism dominates, real love is hard, since many people have the mentality that women are the objects of control while love means freedom.
In the Handmaid’s Tale, some names, like commanders, are used symbolically. Commanders are use as the symbols of power. The names denote the dominion that men have over women. On the other hand, women are only referred to by their names while men are referred using the term commanders. This denotes that men are in control, and women are objects and submissive to men.