Understanding Gender Norms In The Handmaid's Tale

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Understanding Gender Norms in Gilead with Feminism and Politics in the Handmaid’s Tale: Jill Swale examines the political and historical context of Atwood’s novel
Readers of dystopian will recognize many of the themes and features of Atwood’s novel: war, surveillance, oppression, lack of freedom, underground movements and rebellion. In Jill Swale’s examination of the social and historical context of the novel, she comments on the idea that the novel is and “amalgam of trends” (Swale) that have already been showcased in various societies. She justifies the production of the international movement of equality referring to women and how all these recently gained rights “have been lost in Gilead” presenting the historical norm. Moreover, Swale illustrates that being a woman in Gilead, emphasizes an exaggerated female gendered persona and how it is a means to survival for The Handmaid’s Tale Offred. Presently these new Gilead norms considered are no longer historical.
Gilead explores gender and sexual essentialism by creating duties for women that relate to servitude, housework and or men representing “human history in which female subjugation was regarded as normal” (Swale). This type of gender enforcements forces women to contribute to their own oppression by giving them no choice but to perform societies idea of gender which
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Consequently, this gives the perception of when something is in constant exposure, these views become ordinary, and the power of manipulation the authorities have on society. This idea is shown in The Handmaid’s Tale Offred as she begins to change her mindset until she accepts the new norms, as Swales mentions women’s role “to be gentle, expressive housemakers” (Swale) during the Victorian period. Gilead leaders attempt to present the society as Utopia to normalize the

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