Nolite te bastardes carborundorum — Don’t let the bastards get you down.
On Sunday night, Hulu’s screen adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel “The Handmaid’s Tale” won the Emmy for best drama series, among eight other awards, one of which crowned actress Elisabeth Moss as best lead actress.
Not only is this award an important shift in the Emmy’s culture, as it marks the first time a streaming service such as Hulu has won Best Drama, beating out the likes of HBO and Netflix, but it highlights the increasing politicization and polarization of mainstream media.
For those of you who’ve lived under a rock since the release of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” the series has been breaking ground in highlighting both the exaggerated gender inequalities in Gilead — Atwood’s dystopian society — and in crafting real parallels between the dramatization and stark reality of women’s rights in the United States and elsewhere.
The show uses flashbacks to establish the swift revocation of womens’ ability to work, manage or even possess bank accounts and their new (or “traditional”) role as either infertile trophy wives or fertile concubines whose sole purpose is to reproduce and do menial household chores.
While the GOP refuses to acknowledge the real plight of women in this country, who still get paid just 83 cents to every dollar a man earns and hold more college degrees yet remain underrepresented in management positions, shows like “The Handmaid’s Tale” remind the rest of the viewers of what potentially could happen were sexist old men allowed to have it their way.
Republican lawmakers, spearheaded by U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La, have taken up arms once again in their incessant battle to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. For women, repealing Obamacare means more expensive healthcare that provides substantially less coverage.
Women seen has having “preexisting conditions” such as maternity care for new mothers would be subject to higher premiums. Employers in the Trump era, under the new and allegedly improved Trumpcare, would have the ability to claim “religious or or moral objections” to providing birth control for their female employees.
In Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker has attempted to decimate a woman’s right to an abortion, much as Vice President Mike Pence did during his tenure as governor of Indiana. In 2013, Walker signed a law requiring doctors who performed abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of where the abortion was performed.
While the Supreme Court ultimately ruled against Walker’s restrictive legislation, following another strike-down of a similarly conservative abortion law passed in Texas, the continual attack on women’s reproductive rights is a disgusting parallel drawn between the dystopian “future” of Gilead and the present-day America — both societies where women’s bodies aren’t fully their own.
Unpaid leave, lack of maternity provisions impact working womenLooking to make the workplace more family friendly, experts and legislators have continued to advocate for policies that could enhance women’s Read…
Obviously the similarities between a fictional world where the majority of women are glorified slaves and the modern world only run so deep. I’m not trying to say the fictional atrocities match the struggles women are facing in the present. However, the ability for a show like “The Handmaid’s Tale” to gain so much traction both among viewers and with television critics at the Emmy’s points to a growing realization among people that all it takes for the radicalization of society is a small group of leaders and a general complacency of the general public.
“The Handmaid’s Tale” brings women’s rights more broadly, as well as women’s reproductive rights, to the forefront of pop culture in the midst of an aggressively anti-women Republican agenda.
The success of this show, and the potential for more like-minded literature and film regarding controversial political and societal issues indicates a desire to address problems and offers a foreboding picture of what could happen if said issues are swept to the back burner.
Aly Niehans ([email protected]) is a sophomore majoring in international studies and intending to major in journalism.