Rights Over Women’s Bodies

Margaret Atwood has a new book out, a sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale set into a time 15 years later.

As we are seeing in today’s government, “Rules are for other people.” Last night we watched the 1984 movie version of the book 1984. I didn’t remember that it was that grim. Hard to watch. And with the image of Trump’s rallies today, the large audiences, their anger and their lockstep with one another was chilling and much more scary than the last time we watched this movie. I actually read the book in high school English and don’t remember it as being so frightening.

The Handmaid’s Tale is equally frightening in a society with an increasingly conservative Supreme Court. Margaret Atwood says of her new book, The Testaments, that “one of my models for that was 1984 itself, which does not end with Winston Smith about to be shot in the back of the head, but it ends with an essay on Newspeak written in the past tense in standard English — which means that the world of 1984 ended.”

“George Orwell did that very deliberately. He doesn’t tell us how it ends, but he gives us the signal that it has ended … So it may not surprise you to know that I was pretty interested in double agents and people working from inside totalitarian regimes, against those regimes, when I was writing this new book.”

In non-patriarchal societies women are valued.  Not so much in patriarchies, where men rule and men are valued over women — whether you’re talking present-day America or the world circa BCE.  Think we’ve progressed beyond that ?

Oklahoma Representative Justin Henry has made an argument that women are mere incubators. He has been seeking to put forward legislation that would give men more rights than women over women’s bodies.  Men produce the live seed, women simply hold that potential life in their wombs.

We aren’t there yet baby and the outcome for children in The Handmaid’s Tale is not much different than the multitude of adoption stories.