Gender Discrimination In A Handmaid's Tale

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The role of women in society has been constantly changing throughout the centuries. In literature, the oppression of the female gender has been characterized by various feminist movements in which female writers broke with the ideals that were enforced in those times, in order to show the depicted role that women had during that epoch. During the 19th century, their works reflected real life situations in which they voiced their oppression and the male dominated civilization they lived in. In the 20th century, even more female writers started to denounce the treatment of women by the society, but not only by men but also by women themselves who often reinforced the stereotypes that were attributed to their gender. Female discrimination has…show more content…
Through this categorization, women are imposed with a structured lifestyle as well as aspirations and goals in life. This discriminating society portrays women as easy to manipulate and deploy. Atwood presents six main women categorizations and uses different colours to indicate the role that each woman had. These colours were represented in the habits or clothes that each woman had to wear, so that her position was evident to the other members of society. Wealthy, educated women with high social status fulfilled the role of “Wives” and wore blue clothing. The “Wives” were in most of the cases unfertile women that given their social status were meant to marry the high-ranked men called the “commanders”. Other unfertile women that did not qualify to be “wives” due to their lower social status were commended with domestic tasks and were called the “Martha’s” who wore green coloured habits. These women were destined to worked as housekeepers for families composed by a wife and a commander and their children, along with the handmaids that were assigned to that particular family. Some of their tasks included the cooking and the cleaning of the house they were appointed among other domestic duties. One of the most important roles in this dystopian society, but not necessarily the most distinguishable, was that of the “Handmaids” who were represented by the red habits they were required to wear. The “Handmaids” were fertile women whose only task was to bear the children in their wombs in order to provide a commander and his wife with a son or daughter, which they were unable to conceive by themselves due to the infertile wife. Infertility among women had become a major issue in Gilead and the purpose of the Handmaids was to increase the fertility rate of this society, as they were the only ones that could
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