From Fiction to Fact: The Handmaid’s Tale Is Becoming a How-to Manual

by | Jun 24, 2022 | Human Rights & Justice, Opinions

Activists in the US wearing the red cloaks imagined by Margaret Atwood in The Handmaid’s Tale. Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/AAP

From Fiction to Fact: The Handmaid’s Tale Is Becoming a How-to Manual

by | Jun 24, 2022 | Human Rights & Justice, Opinions

Activists in the US wearing the red cloaks imagined by Margaret Atwood in The Handmaid’s Tale. Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/AAP
Now that we have witnessed the demise of Roe v. Wade at the hands of a Trump-stacked Supreme Court, the story of The Handmaid's Tale begins to loom large again.

This article has been updated to reflect today’s destruction of women’s rights at the hands of an ultra conservative Supreme Court majority.


The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood describes a future United States as a country renamed Gilead. Gilead is a highly militarized and crushingly regulated society where the rights of women no longer exist. On the pretext of “falling birthrates” a series of laws are passed stripping women of their jobs, their bank accounts and their rights to any choices in their lives.

In Atwood’s disturbing future women are basically classified by their ability to give birth or not. Those that are “fertile” are made into handmaids. They exist to be assigned to a man as a forced surrogate for him and his infertile wife. And with great ceremony and religious claptrap, the handmaid is repeatedly raped until pregnant. Once the child is born it belongs to the wife and the handmaid is reassigned to another “family.”

If this sounds utterly insane that is because it is. It is also fiction. But apparently in the minds of some elements in right wing politics and ultra conservative factions it comes under the heading of, “You know, this sounds like a really good plan.”

Now that we have witnessed the demise of Roe v. Wade at the hands of a Trump-stacked Supreme Court, the story of The Handmaid’s Tale begins to loom large again.

The fantastically contradictory view of ultra conservative factions that all life is sacred and must be protected from the time of conception is belied by the fact that these same people oppose any exemptions to their opposition to abortion for rape or incest.

The most extreme example of this to date is the case all over the news right now from Ponchatoula, Louisiana. Back in 2005 a man named John Barnes offered a ride home to a teenage girl but instead took her to his home and raped her, and impregnated her. Five years later he managed to be granted joint custody of the child. But the case got weirder and more insane from there.

More recently when the child was a teenager and was given a cell phone by her mother, the rapist again returned to court and this time was awarded not only full custody but child support payments from the woman he raped. Coverage of this case is now going viral.

Government sanctioned rape and slavery are not the only parts of The Handmaid’s Tale that right wingers find attractive. The pesky problem of the religious hypocrisy currently in vogue is done away with completely with a government issued scripture. Congressman Ted Lieu’s twenty seconds of silence to describe everything Jesus had to say about homosexuality is a great example of right wing religious hypocrisy.

Reading books, including the Bible, is illegal in Atwood’s story of Gilead, taking a nod from Heinlein’s Fahrenheit 451. And in both these dystopian forays into the future undesirable books are burned—another practice favored today by the MAGA right.

Works of fiction are sometimes predictions or the kernels of future ideas and realities. They spur the imagination. That’s their job. Science fiction writers from the 30s and 40s were often scientists and physicists that were unemployed and found fiction writing as a way to put food on the table. Fast forward to now and we see some of their ideas as current reality in such things as SpaceX reusing rocket boosters.

But it is not only the creative imagination that can be spurred, but the imaginations of an insane minority. These are people who see all others around them as enemies to be conquered or oppressed. These nutcases ingratiate themselves into government circles. They seek to strike fear and hatred into the society to their own ends of control and oppression. For these people to win in their minds, everyone else has to lose.

A future as predicted by Margaret Atwood would be bleak indeed. And it is up to all of us to prevent it and call out and oppose all efforts to bring it about. We’ve got a lot of tools. Primaries are coming. But a big win for Republicans on November 8th moves the United States one step closer to Gilead. So vote accordingly.

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Related Articles

Jun 27 2022

40 Ways the GOP Has Become a Clear and Present Danger to Our Country

Here is a list of vital things to remember when deciding who and what to vote for in upcoming primaries and on November 8th.
Jun 26 2022

School Board Candidates Who Criticized the Hiring of a Black Educator Lose Their Elections

Educator Cecelia Lewis was attacked in Georgia’s Cherokee County and neighboring Cobb County by white parents making baseless claims that she was bringing...
Jun 26 2022

A Supreme Court Scholar Explains the Larger Impact of Dobbs, AKA the Overturning of Roe v Wade

There is a much darker aspect to the “Dobbs” ruling. In overturning Roe, the majority’s opinion offers a new and weaker standard for overturning the past...
Jun 25 2022

The Supreme Court’s Overturn of Roe v. Wade Turns Back the Clock on Democracy Itself

It’s not a ‘democracy’ when minority-elected presidents nominate Supreme Court justices who overturn constitutional protections and give state governments the power to...
Jun 24 2022

The Far-Reaching Implications of the Supreme Court’s Concealed Weapons Ruling

The ramifications of Supreme Court’s shift to “originalism” are just becoming clear. Beyond this gun ruling, the effects will continue to be seen in...
Jun 23 2022

Time to Break Up Monopolies to Prevent Shortages Like Baby Formula

Food experts have warned for years that monopolies make our food supply vulnerable. Now families with babies are paying the price.
toddler boy wearing white shirt leaning back on brown wooden wall
Jun 23 2022

The Best of Times: Making the Case for Optimism

With all the bad news in the world today, you wouldn’t think that the best of times were anywhere near. It is time to take stock of the growing number of things...
Jun 22 2022

Post Roe v. Wade: Senators Propose Ideas to Protect Abortion Access and Clinics on Federal Land

Facing a congressional stalemate, Democratic senators have asked the White House to consider a bevy of executive actions to protect abortion care ahead of an expected...
Jun 21 2022

Senator Ron Johnson Implicated in Fake Elector Certificates Scandal

Trump and his MAGA allies planned, promoted, and paid for a seditious conspiracy to overturn an election they lost, and Ron Johnson attempted to deliver it to D.C. on a...
Jun 20 2022

Indian Boarding Schools: A Dark Lesson in American History

Confronting the harsh legacy of Indian Boarding Schools, the United States has taken steps to establish a Native American Truth and Reconciliation Commission. It’s a...
Subscribe for Updates!

Subscribe for Updates!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This