What Is The Feminism In The Handmaids Tale

1451 Words 6 Pages
In the Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, there is a presence of extreme feminism as compared to the Gilead regime. The men are in leadership positions of the regime with them fulfilling roles such as Commanders, Eyes and Guardians. Due to the gender roles described in this book, it can be argued that it is an extremely misogynistic and patriarchal society and that there is an absence in feminism. However, radical feminism is established throughout this society. It leads to the establishment of power among the women and approved sexuality.
Power is seen throughout the book with the ranking of the women. They all play significant roles pertaining to the Gilead Regime. They included the Aunst, Wives, Econowives, Marthas and the Handmaids.
…show more content…
They are reduced to their bodies being used only to bear children. These are women from the pre-Gilead period who had bore children and were considered fertile. On page 96, Offred clearly describes how the Handmaids are viewed in this society. She says “ We are containers, it’s only the insides of our bodies that are important.” These women are forced to perform sexual ceremonies with their superior commanders in hopes of getting pregnant. They are given no rights through the duration of this narrative. They endured horrendous things such as rape with the commanders even though in this cultural perspective it wasn’t considered rape. They were made to feel like failures each month that they received their …show more content…
The Econowives were required to perform the roles of all the women except for the Aunt duties. They were required to bear children, cook and also be the domestic head of their households. They most often despised the Handmaids. On page 44, a scene of a funeral procession is described with them carrying an unbaby. One of the women spits on the sidewalk as they proceed. This is one of the examples for the deep disdain they have towards the Handmaids. ‘ The Martha’s as well who are the domestic help are also annoyed at the idea of taking care of the Handmaids. They treat the handmaids as another chore. There’s an example where Cora and Rita are shown discussing the bath of Offred before the ceremony. They view themselves as above the Handmaids. There was only one instance where they considered them as “equal” in a way. The day that Offred was offered a cigarette from Serena Joy allowed Rita to have a different perspective of Offred. She made a small gesture towards her by offering her an ice cube to nibble on.

Related Documents