I read The Handmaid’s Tale this week and anxiously calculated the chances of Atwood’s theocratic/woman-hating coup manifesting in the Donald Duck era.
Atwood’s dystopia sorts women into four classes: Wives (duh), Marthas (domestic servants), Handmaids (pregnancy surrogates for infertile Wives), and Unwomen (“gender traitors” and dissidents). But as Foucault taught us, exceptions to the (gender) rules better enforce the (gender) rules. Though she fears for her life under the brutal regime and is coerced into breaking more and more of its codes, Offred (“Of Fred”) finds herself wresting what pleasure she can out of a system that denies her autonomy, sociality, love. The book is about how much we will give up to stay human.
Thus follows a catalog of qualities our current government may or may not share with Atwood’s Gilead. Which totalitarian, repressive regime wins?