The Power of Society

776 Words4 Pages
Human rights are the freedoms that all individuals are entitled to, regardless of their sex or gender. In The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood portrays a dystopian society where women are governed by the dominance of men. Human rights, for all women, are taken away under the rule of The Republic of Gilead, where women are perceived as property and lose their independence. Atwood portrays a society that attempts to reshape the role of women to “keep them safe” in a male dominant society which progressively leads women to oppression. In this new Gileadean society, Atwood gives women a false perception of being further “protected” under the restrictions of The Republic of Gilead. In reality, women are being enslaved by the societal changes and stripped of their power. The sole purpose of this new Gileadean society, is to settle the issue of a dramatic decrease in birth rates. Atwood approaches this by sacrificing the natural rights of women under the state government. Although acts of rape and violence have been abolished from society, fertile women have lost their rites to their bodies, sex lives, communication, self expression, and power. In this new society, fertile women are forced to become Handmaids, whose sole purpose is to reproduce. Handmaids lose all independence and must live in captivity under their Commanders. Offred, the main character who is a Handmaid and narrator, loses her name, as she takes on the name of her Commander. Her name is “Offred,” meaning Property of Fred, which reminds her and every other Handmaid, that they exist as property of their Commander. With these names, the society of Gilead exercises its control over women by stripping them of their individuality. Women in this sexist society, are deceive... ... middle of paper ... ...g her for the rape but involving the justification of other oppressed handmaids. The next week, Janine conforms after being brainwashed to believe that leading someone on justifies rape and says, “It was my fault,.... It was my own fault. I led them on. I deserved the pain”. Women in this society are considered the cause of any desire a man has. Women in this society are indoctrinated to believe that they are at fault for being a temptation to the male figure. They are viewed as the scapegoat of society as they endure all accountability. The state brings women under their control as if they are subhuman and intends to dictate their every move. In time, this leads women to oppression taking away their power and confidence. In an ideal society, where there was equality between men and women, both genders would simultaneously conform to changes to better one another.
Open Document