Essay about Margaret Atwood 's The Handmaid 's Tale

Essay about Margaret Atwood 's The Handmaid 's Tale

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Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale paints a picture of the United States’ future. The nation has shifted into a religiously focused patriarchy with a low birth rate. The pressure to reproduce creates a harsh, rule-bound environment. The clothing, in particular, becomes very symbolic to the people in the Republic of Gilead. In modern day America, hospitals use colors to symbolize gender of newborns but Atwood’s future takes it a step further to say that the color of women’s dresses and men’s uniforms differentiate their designated roles. Although clothes have had meanings connected to class and occupation, this form of gendered clothing assignment creates the most difficulties. In 1986, Atwood tapped into the reality that when humans are restricted by their clothes, they become ashamed of their bodies and a culture of contempt grows. This concept resonates with the present of 2015 to the extent that it does not seem implausible for our future.
Women’s clothes have evolved overtime to be fashion extensions of oneself. In 2015, schools have been consistently increasing the dictations about what young women put on their bodies. Many education departments argue that revealing clothing can be distracting and not appropriate for a school environment: “…shoulders and knees [have] become a battleground… [girls are] asked to leave their proms because chaperones considered their dresses too ‘sexual’ or ‘provocative’” (Bates 1). Young girls are being taught at that other people the final say in clothing choices and that clothing transform them into sexual beings. In The Handmaid’s Tale, the leaders of Gilead assign simplified, color-coded uniforms for women to prevent any hypersexualization like in the time before. Offred describes the v...


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...l problems caused by sending mixed messages at impressionable young people.
Margaret Atwood’s novel predictions could still be the future based on the modern day examples. In 2015, women are showing more and more skin than before but The Handmaid’s Tale shows the almost reset of these norms. In both times periods, the issue of women and their wardrobes come into play. Both scenarios have men deciding what appropriate attire is for women. These actions have serious repercussions on people’s lives by only seeing them as sexual objects. Offred’s full covering dress was just as harmful as the reaction to a girl’s shorts. Somehow both ideas were created to protect men from being exposed to women’s bodies. Bodies and what covers them is a timeless debate. Atwood presents a valid argument that as long as women’s bodies are trying to be controlled, women will not have peace.

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