Margaret Atwood wrote “The Handmaid’s Tale” as a warning in 1985 to all those white Christian women who were working to, in effect, keep themselves down. 31 years later they’re still at it, trying to co-opt the term feminist while denying women choices, and they put creeps like Trump in the White House along with his Super Christianist creep buddies Mike Pence and Jeff Sessions.
Sarah Jones is an ex-fundamentalist who did the whole fundy church/school thing and woke up. She says The Handmaid’s Tale is a Warning to Conservative Women.
Christian activists, the Phyllis Schlafly’s of the world, killed the Equal Rights Amendment and reviled birth control, evangelizing for women to live up to their Biblical destinies to be wives and mothers, denying them the greater world. Of course, Schlafly herself was in that great big world of ideas and politics, not home with her husband and kids. The patriarchy that these women advocate for would deny them their outspoken positions. How sad to sell yourself short, even sadder to sell yourself out.
For nearly 20 years, I believed that real feminists—women who truly cared about other women—hated abortion and careers and dresses that showed too much collarbone. The Christian churches and schools I attended assured me that empowerment awaited at home, in the arms of the husband I would marry young and then provide with endless children…
Two events convinced me to leave the church. The first: I read The Handmaid’s Tale. The second: The university’s all-female, pro-abstinence organization held a “modesty panel” for campus women. The speakers were all men—professors, classmates, the campus pastor—who held forth about appropriate swimsuits and wedding dresses and the pernicious specter of girls in pajama pants. Most people listened and thought that was fine: It was pro-woman. After all, women organized it! They just wanted to help us protect our value. This is why women couldn’t preach, or get abortions if they didn’t want to be pregnant, or fall in love with other women.
The new Hulu series should be fascinating and hopefully will be a cultural touchstone that acts to wake the unwoken to the inherent dangers in giving your power away to those who would accept it and hold sway over you.