The Handmaids Tale, a Feminist Perspective.

The Handmaids Tale on Channel 4 is now well in to Season 2.

A narrative based in a dystopian world where America casts judgement on society, sending those fertile women found to be immoral to serve as surrogate slaves for the virtuous evangelicals.

Sounds like a society far removed from today’s world.
However by comparing the value placed upon the fetus over the female within this Channel 4 drama to the value placed upon the fetus in today’s society, many similarities can be seen.

For decades the United States has been placing more importance on the unborn child than that of the female body carrying the said child.

We have seen recent cases such as Purvi Patel from Indiana in 2015 jailed for 20 years after the death of her unborn baby. Patel argued a miscarriage whilst the prosecution argued fetal abuse.

Feticide laws in place to protect the unborn baby from abuse are on some occasions being used against the mother.

There is of course the laws surrounding abortion in places such as El Salvador.
Abortion has been illegal in El Salvador since 1998. This has resulted in dozens of women being accused of having illegal terminations after experiencing obstetric emergencies. Many women have later been convicted of homicide. Little regard is given to the woman, her experience, her body or her value.

There are also mixed opinions on procedures such as IVF.

Females under the age of 30 have a 46 percent chance of success after their first IVF cycle while females between the ages of 40 and 43 have a less than 12 percent chance of success.

There has been discourse that suggests the promotion of IVF is a ploy to obtain embryos for research, once again putting the importance of the fetus ahead of the well being of the female.

Within The Handmaids Tale the body of the pregnant female is only important in so far as maintaining the health of the fetus.

The Handmaid has no rights and her baby is her currency.
She is told what to eat, when to eat. She has no say in her medical care. She has no choice in her day to day exisistence. She has no voice, she is not heard.
The cost of standing up to such a system is to be exiled to another kind of hell.
She is simply a vessel for the unborn child.

The comparisons are not literal but the question raised is how far are we from disregarding the female altogether?
How far are we from a world where our need to place the fetus over the female results in our very own Handmaids Tale?..


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