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Sunday, May 14, 2017

Relax. The Handmaid's Tale is Not Happening in Real Life. We've Actually Been Here Before.

There's been recently a surge in interest in The Handmaid's Tale. Part of the reason is because now you can watch it on the screen besides just reading it. But another important reason is because, well, internet feminists are having a meltdown.

Would people stop saying that something like The Handmaid's Tale is going to happen soon in our real lives? Because, clearly, it won't. It's stupid!

I mean, I know Donald Trump is president, and he isn't exactly the women's rights supporter that Ivanka thinks he is (sorry Ivanka, I like you but I disagree with you there.) But the President of the United States doesn't control everything in our lives and our culture, and four years doesn't change everything either.

I'm old enough to remember the 'religious right taking over the West' scare, in full force about 12 years ago today. In 2004, the Bush administration waved the anti-marriage-equality flag in its bid to seek re-election, and many 'values voters' turned out to 'vote against gay marriage'. Media attention hyped up the power of the religious right in politics, with some outlets even claiming that America was on the verge of a new great religious awakening. This fear also spread to other countries like Canada and Australia. Both US Democrats and their counterparts in several other countries got nervous for real. There was even talk about America becoming a semi-theocracy, where non-believers would be treated as second class citizens.

Think this sounds surreal? Don't remember anything about the religious right taking over the West? It's probably because it was never mentioned again after 2006 or so. It won't be mentioned in any respectable retrospective either, because it was never a real event. People got scared for nothing.

The idea that we were heading down the path of The Handmaid's Tale during the Trump era would be just as stupid if we look back at it in ten years' time. I promise.