The Handmaid's Tale Essay

1001 Words5 Pages
In The Handmaid’s Tale, the patriarchal society that is in occurrence relies on men to control over economic, social and political practices. The enforcement of stereotypical gender roles identifies the place of men and women in Gilead. Male individuals are placed at the top of the social structure; Commanders, Eyes, and Guardians control the public sphere and moderate governmental rule, make trade, and maintain security. Women’s roles tend to the private sphere with jobs including married Wives, Handmaids being “fruitful women who are barren” (Atwood 57), and Marthas which work to complete household needs. The gender stereotypes of having men maintain jobs which hold power while forbidding these roles from women and imposing them to complete…show more content…
Women are exposed to misogynistic and subordinate ideas on a daily basis and Esther struggles to conform to them. Similar to The Handmaid's Tale, men are seen at the top of the social hierarchy and are allowed to pursue any career and lifestyle they choose; this results in females becoming mundane mothers. Women are expected to satisfy their father’s or husband’s needs by stereotypically getting up at seven and making them breakfast, then further serving them by cleaning their home and preparing dinner (Plath 60). Esther wants to pursue a lifestyle of her choice rather than relying on the predominance of men however she knows that she cannot have a successful career of her choice due to traditional gender roles in place. The inequality of genders is further developed when it is determined that many of Esther's problems stem from her conflicting views of “[hating] the idea of serving men in any way” (Plath 14). Esther’s discomfort of serving men and having to remain subordinate to them demonstrates her inability to conform to what is traditionally expected of her. However as a female in a male controlled society there is not much she can do or say without receiving discrimination from the dominate sex. As well, the concept of female sexuality and its relativity to virginity also furthers the presence of gender inequality. The expression of love or passion is obsolete
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