Group of Women in Bonnets

Episode 057: The Handmaid’s Tale

“Fans of The Handmaid’s Tale, Hulu’s television adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s 1985 dystopian novel, have taken to donning the red handmaids’ attire to protest current cultural and political threats to reproductive freedom, specifically abortion rights. If those rights go, they surmise, then so will all of the progress feminism has achieved to this point, and America will soon resemble Atwood’s imagined “Gilead,” where women have no rights save for those granted by corrupt men in power. Those claiming that the television adaptation created by Bruce Miller is more documentary than fiction may be closer to the truth than they realize, but the similarities between Gilead and 2017 America do not stem from Christianity. Both worlds teeter on a functional view of human value, a system brought about in today’s world in large part by secular feminism, the availability of abortion on demand, and the idolization of sexual freedom. Instead of Atwood’s provocative prose depicting a caste system distinguished by colored clothing, however, today’s “handmaid’s tale” is told in terms of wealth, performance, and status, as well as in the language of artificial reproductive technologies that cross moral boundaries. As so-called progress continues, children are continually reduced to products — whether disposable or purchasable — and women (as well as men) steadily are being defined out of existence. We’re not hurtling toward a dystopian Gilead; we’re already there. Ultimately, neither story can be told without glimmerings of human dignity, particularly deep longings for identity and justice. True Christianity answers both worlds and tells a far better story.”

This Postmodern Realities Podcast episode is a JOURNAL author conversation with Megan Almon about her Volume 41 #1 cover “Seeing Red: The Handmaid’s Tale, Human Dignity, and Hope.”

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