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‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Is Scary Because It’s Too F*cking Real

From Redbook

In 1986, Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale appeared far-fetched and unrealistic. In her New York Times review, Mary McCarthy wrote, “Surely the important component of a cautionary story is recognition. Surprised recognition, even, sufficient to manage a shock. … It is an impact, for me, virtually strikingly lacking from Margaret Atwood’s very readable ebook The Handmaid’s Tale, provided by the writer as a ‘forecast’ of what we might have in retailer for us within the fairly close to future.”

Thirty years later, nevertheless, and “it doesn’t feel unfamiliar enough,” writes Rolling Stone. The Hollywood Reporter‘s evaluation concludes that, “regretfully, the 30-plus-year-old work has become a story for the very time and place we’re living in; this is probably the spring’s best new show and certainly its most important.”

The Handmaid’s Tale is so topical in Donald Trump’s America, the truth is, that Hillary Clinton drew parallels between Hulu’s TV adaptation and the United States of 2017 throughout a speech supporting Planned Parenthood on Tuesday night time.

“The present has prompted necessary dialog about women’s rights and autonomy. In The Handmaid’s Tale, women’s rights are slowly, regularly stripped away” she stated, based on a CNN report from the event. “As one character says, ‘We didn’t look up from our phones until it was too late.’ It’s not too late for us, but we have to encourage the millions of women and men who support Planned Parenthood’s mission to keep fighting.”

The collection takes place in a near-future U.S., the nation having been taken over by a theocratic dictatorship that forbids women from studying, writing, or incomes cash and forces them into inflexible societal roles. After an infertility plague, the titular Handmaids are pressured into intercourse slavery for the society’s strongest males and tasked with bearing their youngsters. They’re concubines, primarily, although their objective is only for procreation.

Though the precise hazard of America being overthrown by a gaggle of spiritual extremists trying to start out a brand new society based mostly on the Book of Genesis is not precisely imminent, there are parallels in our present society that appear like massive purple warning flags – particularly for women.

On Monday, the day earlier than Clinton’s speech, Donald Trump ended Michelle Obama’s “Let Girls Learn” initiative, a program facilitated via the Peace Corps that helped present schooling for adolescent women in creating nations. While a White House spokesperson denied any modifications had been made to this system, CNN obtained an internal document and a Peace Corps staff-wide e-mail that stated in any other case.

In February, an Oklahoma state congressman launched a invoice (HB 1441) that may require males to approve all abortions. Women would wish to offer a word from their sexual companion consenting to the process, alongside together with his identify (so he might protest simply in case he had any objections).

“I believe one of the breakdowns in our society is that we have excluded the man out of all of these types of decisions,” Justin Humphrey told The Intercept of his invoice. “I understand that [women] feel like that is their body. I feel like it is a separate – what I call them is, is you’re a ‘host.’ And you know when you enter into a relationship you’re going to be that host and so, you know, if you pre-know that then take all precautions and don’t get pregnant.”

The incontrovertible fact that The Handmaid’s Tale plotline will get increasingly topical every day is one thing its stars have definitely thought-about.

“We filmed this pre-election and post-election. We finished shooting in Toronto mid-February. We were into Trump’s presidency,” says Yvonne Strahovski, who performs Serena Joy Waterford, a barren commander’s spouse. “It’s exhausting sufficient to acknowledge that there’ve been a variety of headlines which have come out since Trump has been elected about women’s rights, derogatory commentary on women, pictures of males in fits deciding what women are presupposed to do with their our bodies and what our rights are going to be. It’s actually exhausting to disregard that, and I personally cannot. It actually hits arduous. When you watch a present like this, it is alarming as a result of I draw the parallels, for positive.”

After the election, the stakes received even greater.

“We have a responsibility to really have some integrity when we’re shooting this show, to make sure that we do a good job,” says Samira Wiley, who performs Moira, one of many Handmaids. “I think that it has definitely become a lot more relevant than we really wanted it to be.”

Wiley hopes viewers will have the ability to draw these parallels Strahovski talked about and maybe even use the collection as a wake-up name for the politically apathetic.

“It doesn’t happen just all at once. There are little things that happen that are perplexing, but don’t necessarily seem that scary in the beginning because you don’t think the next step is going to happen. You realize when watching the show how it crept up on these people,” Wiley says. “I hope that that’s a real cry to the people watching it of how vigilant we need to be.”

Strahovski says, “I think what the show does beautifully is really paint this picture of how easily we could flip into a society like that. It’s not that long of a road and it’s not that hard. It is a warning sign that things can get really chaotic if you take that religious fundamentalist mentality to a whole new political level, and what happens to a society when you create these rules that are to the point of being life-threatening if you break them, in a very unfair way, and what happens when you strip women of their rights.”

Regardless of how excessive issues get within the fictional world of Gilead, it hasn’t desensitized The Handmaid’s Tale stars to the barrage of attacks on women’s rights in 2017.

“I wake up and I think, ‘This is fucking crazy,'” Strahovski says.

Follow Jean on Twitter and Redbook on Facebook.

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