I really didn’t want to start watching The Handmaid’s Tale because it’s white mainstream feminism at its highest. But I decided to because I had nothing better to do, and wanted to see what all the hype was about. In short, it's good, but still like white feminism x 100.
Of course, it centers around a straight cis white woman and of course, I know that's how it is in the book, but at least add in more side characters who are POC or intersectional. There’s Moira, but she only shows up in flash back and she’s probably dead. In addition, we don’t see POC or intersectional women facing different types of oppression/violence in the new regime (unless you’re queer, then they do show that those women are treated worse than women who can pass/who are straight). But does race not exist? Atwood did say that in her book, the POC were eliminated. But I guess Hulu thought since most TV shows eliminate POC, they decided to keep them, but not address racial issues. Like what about muslim women or people with varying religions? I guess they were killed since it’s shown that Jewish people were killed. But what if they cross the intersections of being a muslim woman and being able to bear children? What is that woman’s story like? Perhaps similar to the lesbian women who are forced to be straight? We don’t know right now.
Secondly, the show is white female fantasy witnessing. The setting of A Handmaid’s Tale is a fantasy world where white women are slaves - a position that POC had that wasn't a fantasy, It was fucking REAL. There are some interesting parts of the show however. Such as, it's interesting how they show how hard it is to take action against the state and how it took so long for them to "wake up." Of course, when they do wake up, it’s too late. In addition, it actually shows how people may need guns to one day protect themselves from the state or that no one should have guns - the state needs to be disarmed to make their people feel safe.
What keeps me watching is how beautiful the cinematography is! The light streaming through the windows, the beautiful interior design, and the peaceful nature shots. I really like how it’s different from other dystopias which are usually grey and cold. Lastly, I like how they included the fact that some women's lives benefit from the dictatorship, such as Offred's new shopping partner who used to be a drug addict and is now clean. But they still don't show much diversity. Ok fine, it's good that the main couple is biracial, but what about trans women? They show some gay women and even men, but where do the trans women and queer men fit into this society? I guess it's clear that they don't unless they can somehow bear children. And gay men have to pretend to be straight, but who knows maybe there are secretly gay couples in this society we’re just not shown?
In all, I’m going to keep watching it, and you should catch some episodes too. If you don’t want to watch the whole season, I totally understand. Finally, I don't really like Elizabeth Moss as Offred. She seems so weird and fake (especially in the flashback scenes where she’s supposed to her true self), but she's still good in that she’s not the stereotypical beautiful actress. I guess that’s a good thing? I’ll be back once I finish the season to give my real thoughts on how it was a as whole.
23 year old English major and ESL Teacher. Currently living in Fortaleza, Brazil. Feminist and kill joy with a cause.