Dehumanization In The Handmaid's Tale

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“No woman can call herself free who does not control her own body”. When Margaret Sanger spoke these words, she was expressing her belief on a woman’s right to have an abortion. This quote, however, speaks to the fact that women are oppressed on more than just abortions. In the novel, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, Atwood portrays the dehumanization of sexuality through both the characters and events within the novel, therefore proving that women will always be considered less than men will. Margaret Atwood was born in Ottawa, Ontario in 1939. She studied at the University of Toronto and got her masters at Radcliffe College in Massachusetts. She is one of the most influential writers of her time, and has won many awards in her field.…show more content…
This ceremony is used as a way to reproduce, and is portrayed as a huge deal. As described by Offred, who is the main character, her “arms are raised; she [Serena Joy] holds my hands, each of mine in hers.” (Atwood 109). This signifies that the two women are “one flesh, one being” (109). The society that Offred is a part of believes that if the women are holding hands while the Handmaid is inseminated, then the Commander’s wife is the one that is being impregnated. “What it really means is that she is in control of the process and thus the product. If any.” (109). The society of Gilead wants to make sure that the child is the Commander’s wife’s child as much as possible, and they believe that by having Serena Joy hold the hands of Offred, then that is possible. In this way, Offred, and all of the other Handmaid’s are sexually dehumanized. The Handmaid’s are not only not allowed to touch the Commander during the process; they are not even allowed eye contact. This portrays the idea that the Handmaid’s are only there to provide sexual stimulation for the man, and is not allowed to take any sort of pleasure in the act. The Handmaid’s must remember, “For him …I am only a whim.” (Atwood 159). Another example of sexual dehumanization during the Ceremony is when Offred is “serviced” beforehand. The readers are not enlightened upon what the servicing might entail, but can be certain that it involves some sort of…show more content…
The entire Ceremony, while used as a form of reproduction, is a way to strip the Handmaids of their entire sense of self-worth and their humanity. Margaret Atwood also portrayed dehumanization and objectification outside of the
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