Handmaids Tale is one of those shows that truly haunts you, especially watching it as a woman. You see the effects of a truly misogynistic society built on a bastardised version of religion that condemns sin in any way, including women’s rights and homosexuality. It takes traditional gender values and makes it the absolute law, with women having to practice their biological destiny, and in doing so this makes any form of homosexuality a crime punishable by death. They call lesbians ‘gender traitors’ (a horrific slur) throughout the show, as in Gilead’s eyes they are betraying their gender by not being with men and producing children. Take into account this is also a world that chops off the finger of any woman who dares to read, so they’re extreme in their repression.
This world see’s women only as vessels to serve specific purposes:
- To be a mother (Wives)
- To serve the household (Marthas)
- To train Handmaids (Aunts)
- To produce children for rich and powerful families (Handmaids)
As you can see the woman’s role is directly tied to how they can serve men, and no one truly benefits from it. The only women who exist with some form of status are the wives of the commanders. Commanders are powerful figures who essentially run the country and their wives given a status that is the highest a woman can achieve in this world – and even then they can’t do anything. They exist to sit and wait for a child, whilst also holding down a woman every month as their husband rapes her. They can socialise, have a little walk, but really all they do is reinforce the toxic society that punishes women for existing and allowing the ritual rape, torture and death of their own gender which makes them the true gender traitors of Gilead.
Especially Serena Waterford, as she helped build this world. She used her power and position as a woman to create a world where women are encouraged to live our their biological function. She went from writing books to sitting and sewing all in pursuit of having a child by any means necessary. As a woman, the fact that she helped create this world and the methods they use to fix the worlds infertility problem is a new level of disgusting. Her, alongside every wife is a real gender traitor.