Gender Inequality in The Handmaid's Tale Essay Example


The main goal of this paper is o shed light on the traditions practiced in the society of Atwood, which is in The Handmaid's Tale. The traditions which this paper seeks to discuss can be portrayed by modern society. The Handmaid Tale discusses issues that the people in that community face due to some traditions. Women have been discriminated against, as shown in the tale, and also slavery has been practiced in the society which in modern day society can be seen as modern slavery (Crăciun & Daniela, p.30). There has been discrimination according to the class of people, as expressed in the tale. Just as seen in modern society, and rebellion of the countries laws is one of the key aspects Atwood has tried to express in the tale. Religion and theocratic traditions are well manifested in the Handmaid’s Tale and the fertility tradition where women are forced to enter into multiple marriages.

Gender roles in Gilead have been strictly being portrayed, showing a big difference between the two genders. Gileadean revolutionaries took over after the terrorist attack, women are fired from their jobs, and their bank accounts are drained. Aunt Lydia, powerful women, can only be allowed to own cattle prods but not guns. Just as in modern society, women are seen as inferior beings who, in some communities, are denied the power to lead people (Crăciun & Daniela, p.30). According to Atwood, women in the Gilead society are seen as objects of giving children to their husbands and cannot be considered to have value in society. In many countries globally, many leaders are men where women are denied the opportunity to lead. Contrary to the Handmaid’s Tale, women are allowed to participate in leadership and are seen as great leaders. In today’s society, women have the right to own property such as money, buildings, and even security if they are attacked.

Gilead society practices religion at a high level, and the religion is Theocratic. The Handmaid’s Tale describes the religion in the Gilead as one which combines with the state. People in the society of Gilead have been named names that have a significant meaning in the bible. For example, Rita is named after Martha, who was a kitchen maid in the New Testament. Offred is given a job as a Handmaid, similar to the story of Lear and Rachael in the bible. The words in the bible have been changed and misinterpreted to satisfy the hungry hearts of the evil people (Maher & Jennifer, p.210). The commander does adulterous relationships to allow his infertile wife to have children. In our modern society, the verses of the Holy books have been misinterpreted, leading to many immoralities in society. The churches have combined with the state to oppress the minor people due to the greed of church leaders. Contrary to the religious practices in the Gilead society, the churches today are the guiders of morality where they are some good religious leaders who condemn evil and do not support the oppression of the minority.

Rebellion can be seen in modern society as it was in the Gilead society, as an everyday behavior against the laws of Gilead. The leaders of the Gilead society were disobedient to the Gilead's laws. Moira rebels against these laws and manages to escape from the handmaid's prison. The commander of Gilead had the power and wealth to change the face of society and make it a better place to live. Instead of helping the society, he forces Offred o to have extra duties which he is not supposed to have (Maher & Jennifer, p.210). Ofglen is one of the people who plot for the resistance against harsh leadership, and this was against the laws of the Gilead, although it would have helped the community. Many leaders in modern society are using their power to lead their society astray by disobeying the laws which limit their powers. 

Atwood creates a society that does not value women, and the women's bodies are seen as property by men in the Gilead society. Women's infertility is seen as one of their big weaknesses because of fertility reasons,s which make Offred imprisoned. The people of Gilead had beliefs which they said would help them get children, just as in the society have many beliefs that through the help of a medical doctor, they will be able to sire a child. In Gilead society, the beliefs are different and aim to intimidate women (Crăciun & Daniela, p.30). Infertile women like the commander's wife are forced to be into unwanted relationships with Offred to conceive. The commanders' wife is nick-named Fred's possession after the commander had given her to Offred. This shows that a woman's body function is valued. Still, she is not valued in person as she is just seen as an object to bear children for their husbands. In another scenario, in the birthing ceremony of Jannie, the commanders also pretend to give birth. This shows how she has been through the pains of discrimination due to infertility.

Works cited

Crăciun, Daniela. "EXPLORING THE REPRESENTATION OF SOME THEMES IN MARGARET ATWOOD’S NOVEL THE HANDMAID’S TALE." Translation Studies: Retrospective and Prospective Views 21.XI (2018): 24-32.

Maher, Jennifer. "Torture born: Babies, bloodshed and the feminist gaze in Hulu’s The handmaid’s tale." Communication Culture & Critique 11.1 (2018): 209-211.

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