Misogyny In The Handmaid's Tale

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Sexuality is often considered taboo, yet that did not stop Margaret Atwood from exploring it in depth in her 1985 novel “The Handmaid’s Tale”. Set in the fictional Republic of Gilead, a handmaid named Offred shares her story. Throughout her journey, the restriction of sexuality, as a form of power for women, makes the Republic of Gilead a misogynistic state. This is revealed through ideas of sexuality from feminist movements, the implicated of women in the Ceremony and inappropriate relationships with the Commander. To begin, the misconstrued ideologies of sexuality from the Second Wave Feminist movement demonstrate the restriction of sexuality as a form of power for women, proving that Gilead is misogynistic. Rape Culture is a problem that…show more content…
First off, there are his inappropriate relationships with the Handmaids. The Commander has inappropriate relationships with Offred – the protagonist of the story – and the past Offred, as well. Offred discovers that the Handmaid before her hung herself, as a result of the relationship. The narrator parallels her relation with the Commander to a documentary about a Nazi solder and his mistress. Metaphorically, Offred views herself as the mistress who says “[the soldier] was not a monster” (182). Offred does not necessarily view the Commander as a monster, but he is the agent of her oppression, who carries out Gilead’s misogynistic views. When the Commander first asked Offred to meet him privately, she was skeptical and scared. Before entering his office at night, for the first time, she thinks “there must be something he wants, from [her]” (171). Indeed, the Commander is using Offred to fulfill his sexual desires. He only wants to establish a relationship with her for his personal gain; to make himself feel better. In these situations, the Handmaids are helpless. Even if they could try using their sexuality to alleviate their situation, the misogyny created by Gilead puts the Commander’s needs before theirs. Lastly, the relationships between the Commanders and the Jezebels manifest Gilead’s misogynistic state. In the night, the Commander takes Offred to an underground club full of women and “men, [...] in their dark uniforms or suits, so similar to one another” (294-295). Offred implicitly reveals to the reader that these men are other Commanders. The women in the club are prostitutes, formally known as Jezebels. The Commander explains to Offred that “Nature demands variety, for men” (298), revealing the misogyny and selfishness behind this setting; men are abusing power, through sexuality. It is only for
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