Sunday, December 29, 2013
74. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Outrageous! Shocking! Powerful! Scary!
I believe the true role of a Dystopian book is to show us, warn us, as to what could the end result of our actions be? A timely warning to amend our ways. As if the "Big Brother is watching you" hasn't already come true in many countries, with the exception being, you don't even know that you are being watched! This book tells us how the feminism and conservatism, two seemingly opposite extremes, wittingly or otherwise, working towards the same goal of creating a world of female oppression. Extremism in any cause, no matter how righteous from the perpetrator's point of view, would always result in casualties, not always of the opposing side, not always caused by the opposing side. This has always been my problem with a lot many of the feminist advocates - yes, there are problems, issues, that demand attention, circumstances, that demand rectification, and yes, sometimes, only by taking extreme stands can you invite attention and hopefully action to such causes. And yet this very extremism, alienates people; the agenda can hurt the cause. The world in itself is unfair, unjust, and has always been so, probably more in earlier times than now. The rights for the different wings of society have improved; that they can be and have to be equalised further is not even a question in consideration, but the modalities are.
I am an optimist when it comes to equal rights for men and women. Not too long ago, the only job a woman could do in a corporate world, was that of a secretary or typists / stenos. While we still don't have enough women CEOs or Board Members or executives, while the glass ceiling still remains a very real issue, a lot of progress has been made on this front. And I don't see any reason why would we not continue to move further ahead.
As much as I was spooked by this book, I really liked the way the book ended, on a note of optimism, in which it is shown that the world manages to get past that phase, and the future generations study it, as an errant, diseased state, which has since then been cured. And yes, all the rambling in the above paragraphs (and a couple of more paragraphs which I have since deleted) was caused as a direct effect to the powerful and thought provoking work, that is The Handmaid's Tale.