I just watched season three’s finale of The Handmaid’s tale. I was alternatively weeping for joy or holding my husband’s hand in a vise-like grip due to the suspense. It is, without question, the best television series that I’ve ever seen in my entire life.
Everyone I’ve talked to seems to be on one side of the fence or the other about this series. Either they love it and are every bit as obsessed with it as I am, or they have never seen it and don’t want to because it’s got the reputation of being upsetting.
Yes, it can be upsetting. It’s full of rape and mutilation and adversity and violence. It shows what can happen when ruthless fascists take over and think they know what’s best for our society more than we do. It’s the worst-case scenario regarding the subjugation of women. It is about the heartless suppression of the voice of the people and a blatant disregard for human rights at a time when we’re already seeing way too much of that in real life.
But to focus on the darkness is to miss the entire point. That’s not why I watch The Handmaid’s Tale.
I watch it for the triumphs that are so hard-won amongst all that misery. I watch it to remind myself that no matter how bad things get, there will always be those of us who are willing to fight for what is right and never give up. Even while it exposes the ruthlessness of humanity, it also reaffirms my faith in what is good and straight and honest and true. It is an opportunity to celebrate the strength of women against all odds. It also demonstrates just how messy morality can be.
The acting is phenomenal. And the character development is beyond compare. Everyone is full of complex flaws, and I genuinely feel as though I’ve seen more than one person completely lose their mind on this show. And yet they persist.
I’m not going to lie. I also watch The Handmaid’s Tale to bear witness, and to learn what it might take to survive if this nightmare comes to pass. Because sometimes surviving is the greatest triumph of all.
I challenge you to watch at least the first three episodes of this show. If you’re not hooked by then, at least you won’t have to live with regrets. You will at least have had a taste of perfection. And I assure you that each season so far has been even better than the last.
This show is horrible in its excellence. I can’t wait for season four. Best. Show. EVER.
I’ve seen two things recently that have made my hair stand on end because they seem to be so prescient. We are living in terrifying times. And they’re all the more terrifying because these things have happened before.
The first thing I’m referring to is the Hulu series, the Handmaid’s Tale, which is based on the dystopian novel by Margaret Atwood. Here are some of the events that have taken place in the first 4 episodes. These things either sound very familiar at the moment or very possible:
Propaganda and catch phrases.
News is regulated.
People who protest are shot at.
People are forced to don particular clothing to identify their role in society.
Special rewards for the rich.
An atmosphere of divide and conquer.
Doctors, professors, and homosexuals being executed by hanging them on a wall.
People encouraged to do violence by the ruling party.
Calling women sluts and whores.
Martial law in response to terrorism, real or imagined.
Women’s credit card and bank accounts suspended.
Women fired from jobs.
Women’s rights over their own bodies prevented.
Rape by men in positions of power with no consequence.
Women being blamed for all of the above.
Chilling, isn’t it? Even more disturbing is a website that lists the events that occurred in the first 100 days of Fascist Germany. I read every single day. I actually learned quite a bit that makes me even more worried about our future. Here are some of the things that went on:
Attacks on the press.
Widespread belief in unsubstantiated conspiracies.
Prohibition of protests.
Public urged to report foreigners who are causing conflict.
Communists rounded up.
A big effort to crush resistance.
Politicians overstate successes.
Jew bashing doesn’t start until Day 40. (That surprised me.)
Hitler wants to arm all the people.
There as much more resistance than I thought. People were going into exile.
Artists and writers and homosexuals attacked.
Gay bars closed down.
Trade Unions banned.
Jews begin to be fired.
The first concentration camp, Dachau, is open by day 49 and starts receiving political prisoners by day 51.
The press warns that its freedoms are being diminished, and stresses the importance of relying on multiple sources to confirm the validity of information.
On Day 55 Goring states that persecution of a person based on ethnicity will not be tolerated. The next day the Nazi Party orders a nationwide boycott of Jewish merchants.
Hitler says the press are issuing “slanderous propaganda” about Germany. The Nazi party claims that the press is run by “international Jewry”.
Civil service workers who do not agree with the Nazis are dismissed.
Anti-semitic signs begin to appear everywhere.
The government begins identifying all non-Aryans, using early IBM computers.
Day 74, an opinion piece appears saying that actual Christian values are nothing like the values of the conservative Christians who have aligned themselves with the Nazi party.