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Is The Handmaid’s Tale a fantasy, or a warning?

I have been literally obsessed with the newest (only?) feminist sci-fi series on TV at the moment. All hail The Handmaid’s Tale – making all of my feminist television dreams come true, and also scaring the living sh*t out of me.

Although I am Swedish and Based in Barcelona, I have been unable to tear my eyes away from the rapidly disintegrating system that is the American Government. The past 6 months in America held reduced rights for women, racist “travel” bans, a prolonged attack on the working-class and minority classes, and worst of all a shade of orange skin I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy. Ivanka Drumpf’s affected soft way of speaking whilst proclaiming herself a feminist riled up my fury in it’s ridiculous dichotomy – and across the globe the world has reacted to the rise of Facism and right-wing politics, with the Women’s March, Black Lives Matter, #NODPL and countless other movements.

But recently it feels like Feminism has just become the new buzz-word, taken up by people who don’t actually want to empower women. So it is with a huge relief that I discovered The Handmaid’s Tale. A series clearly unafraid to talk about the real, current dangers of misogyny, chauvinism and bigotry. Rape and violence.

Elisabeth Moss is the star of this show, based on the novel by Margaret Atwood. I first fell in love with Moss as the determined, bad-ass Peggy in Mad Men (and was inspired to make Mad Men Porn as a result!), and then later as a cop in Top of The Lake. The latest in her line of powerful female characters is her most impressive and career-defining so far.

Based in a near future where women have been rounded up and turned into baby-making slaves, the series hinges on the idea that most people in America have become infertile. A radical right-wing religious group have taken over the country, and men are in charge. Women have been put back in their “rightful” places, i.e. in the kitchen or with their legs spread, and Moss’s character Offred is one of the unfortunate women chosen to bear children for the barren wives of their masters. Existing only to produce children, forced into becoming a third-class citizen based purely on her gender – is this really a leap into an unthinkable future, or is it becoming scarily close to an American reality?

As Planned Parenthood comes under vicious attack by Drumpf and anti-abortion and LGBT rights men are put into positions of power and a new bill in Missouri gives employers the right to fire women for using birth-control (are you FOR REAL?!) is it really so impossible that the next steps could be banning birth control all together, making abortions illegal and essentially forcing women to become nothing more than baby-making machines?

This series is fantastically well-made, and keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout. Reed Morano directing the first three episodes is a sensual treat, and she leads the tone and style of the show towards the darker underbelly of the novel’s original content. But the most fascinating part? Deciding whether this is a fantasy, or a premonition…

Was that a little dark for you?

Why not check out the XConfessions version of a dystopian Sci-Fi future! Watch the trailer for Touch Crimes below:

*Let’s not forget that child slavery, child marriage, rape, exploitation and trafficking are already daily realities for many women and girls across the globe, and in parts of America. You can donate to Amnesty or take action and become part of the movement to empower girls and women >here<.

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