Feminism In The Handmaid's Tale, By Margaret Atwood

Superior Essays
The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood, is a dystopian novel narrated by a handmaid named Offred who’s one purpose in life is to conceive children.
Atwood is known for including bits of feminism in her work, but The Handmaid’s Tale takes things to the extreme. Feminism is an ideology that promotes the equality of both men and women, and it has been an issue for centuries. In Canada, women did not get the right to vote until the early 1920’s and women were not accepted into the workforce until the late 1950’s (Statcan). The Handmaid’s Tale represents feminism in an antifeminist environment through male supremacy, restrictions on women, and point of view.

Male supremacy soars throughout the novel. The highly developed culture gives the men
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And be branded as ‘unwomen.’
Now we walk along the same street, in red pairs, and no man shouts obscenities at us, speaks to us, touches us. No one whistles.
There is more than one kind of freedom, said Aunt Lydia. Freedom to and freedom from. In the days of anarchy, it was freedom to. Now you are being given freedom from. Don't underrate it.” (Atwood, 10-11) In the society of Gilead, a society where women, who are seen as weak, have no freedom or choice.
Even the most powerful people live very restricted lives.
Despite what the women have lost, they have gained ‘freedom from’ things like sexist catcalls and potential abuse from strangers.
Often argued that the women should be happy for the freedoms gained, not upset over the ones lost.
The husbands own the wives; Handmaids are owned by their Commander’s. No women living in Gilead are able to get away from the enslavement of the government ran by men.
The restrictions were by far more extreme for Handmaids when compared to any other group of women. “We learned to lip-read, our heads flat on the beds, turned sideways, watching each other's mouths. In this way we exchanged names from bed to
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Being written in her point of view is also another hint inferring that Offred was for women’s rights.

If the novel had narrated by another female lead, like a wife, or an aunt the views would have been bias towards the Republic of Gilead’s actions.
Even though the wives did not have the same privileges the men did, there were still many benefits.
Able to leave the house on their own to visit others, they could work in the garden, or knit to pass time.
They also had something most other women did not, their husbands. “it’s one of the things we fought for! She was looking down at her knuckled, diamond studded hand” (Atwood, 16).
Wives had the most freedom out of all the other women
If it had been written by their point of view, the novel would not have been as emotional.
Seeing as they are treated the best, they would most likely be accepting of the environment
Therefore, if the novel had been in the point of view of an aunt, or a wife, there would not have been the same views as a handmaid. Regardless of all women having restrictions, those set upon the Aunts and wives were not strong enough to make them aware of the injustice.
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