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Sexism In The Handmaid's Tale Essay

  • Submitted by: hellovivian
  • on March 22, 2012
  • Category: English
  • Length: 1,284 words

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Below is an essay on "Sexism In The Handmaid's Tale" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

There has always been a notion that women are not on the same level as men. The prominent barrier between the sexes has been evident since existence. This idea is especially apparent in the novel, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. Atwood shows sexism and misogyny with an extreme of the traditional roles, where the value of a woman is based on her functionality. Atwood’s portrayal of a dystopian society criticizes the present day attitudes towards women and the exaggerations depicted in the novel can be the result of the inequality between men and women today.

The Handmaid’s Tale is a novel that covers the backlash of feminism. It depicts how common attitudes towards women are brought down in an extremist way. “In order to offer women “freedom from” they must give up their “freedom to”... the only offered alternatives to rape and exploitation.” (Prattas   5)

In the novel, the Pre-Giledean society was considered to be a dystopia for women where they feared physical and emotion violence. The current Giledean society is to protect them from such fear and is actively promoted through re-education centres run by Aunts. “They made mistakes, says Aunt Lydia, we don’t tend to repeat them… A thing is valued, she says, only if it is rare and hard to get. We want you to be valued, girls.” (Atwood 141)

However, such protection has peaked to the point of sexism, where the roles of men overpower the role of women, and the women are no longer heard.
The first exaggeration of sexism Atwood portrays is the role that women uphold in the Giledean society. Because of the environmental pollution that has caused the sterility of 99% of women and men, women are ranked and given a role based on their functionality. If a woman is fertile, the government claims the right to use her in a child bearing program. These fertile women are respected, as shown in the novel when the guards outside the market have to salute to pay their respect, “The two young Guardians salute us,...

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