The Handmaid's Tale (TV series)

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Skipper, Jan 29, 2017.

  1. Shawnster

    Shawnster Commodore Commodore

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    Vigilante justice isn't justice. What June did was horrific and immoral on multiple levels, even if it feels justified or understandable. It was still vigilante justice. Taking the law into their own hands. Yes, the law had let them down but, at the same time, rule of law is what keeps society from chaos.

    That's a very good point. Without allowing him to stand trial in Gilead, even in a kangaroo court, June has given Gilead the opportunity to spin Fred's death in their favor. It actually would have been better for society in general had Fred been hung on the wall or sent to the colonies or something. Of course, there was the possibility that Fred could have weaseled his way back into Gilead's good graces the way Joseph did.

    I'd like to know where that bridge is.

    Too bad they couldn't have worked Hannah into the exchange as well as those 20 resistance fighters.

    From last week - Gilead's birth rate is rising and it's the only place in the world experiencing that. What are they doing right? Obviously their methods are beyond reprehensible, but they appear to be doing something right. What could the rest of the world imitate from Gilead's example without turning to the morally bankrupt abyss? Perhaps nothing. Good results do not absolve horrific actions. The road to hell and all that... Still, I wonder what the free world could do to stimulate birth rates.

    Or Gilead's propaganda machine was making bold faced lies.
     
  2. DEWLine

    DEWLine Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The bald-faced lie is always a possibility with theocracies.
     
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  3. The Nth Doctor

    The Nth Doctor Infinite Possibilities... Premium Member

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    Yuuuup. I didn't think about that until the brief flash to his headless corps, but Gilead is definitely going to elevate him to martyrdom and using that as a rallying cry.

    That is what it is and why it didn't sit well with me.

    I guess I was also trying to justify it, not just because he deserved it on a certain level, but also because of that one thing that resonated me, June's desire to make Fred feel the same fear she felt

    Joseph is probably precisely why June decided on that action. That and the way Fred and Serena weaseled their own to good graces in Canada.

    I was curious about that, too. I also found it curious that USA was still labeled on road. There was red spray paint over it but the moment went by too quickly for me to read it (and I didn't rewind to look at it more closely). I guess Gilead couldn't be bothered to change it.

    I thought about that, too, but I figured June knew she wouldn't be able to pressure Joseph to include her after the last time they talked and she was on the clock. She needed to convince Mark quickly before Fred flew to Geneva and became a free man.

    It's undoubtedly propaganda. Maybe there is some truth to it but the numbers are skewed because of the size of Gilead. I don't remember if the show has established its population size but that might have a factor in it. Plus the hyperfocus on getting women pregnant by any means necessary, which means there isn't any level of choice and all viable women are "participating," whereas who knows how many women around the world are trying to get pregnant.
     
  4. Shawnster

    Shawnster Commodore Commodore

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    And any other human government.

    Actually, from a story arc standpoint, rescuing Hannah is going to be the climax. That's part of June's entire arc, isn't it? She's been trying to free Hannah since season 1.

    I am curious how the next season will play out with what seems like the main protagonist gone. Can Serena Joy carry the entire villainy by herself? Yes, there still is Joseph, Lydia, and all of Gilead; but Fred's been there from the start.
     
  5. The Nth Doctor

    The Nth Doctor Infinite Possibilities... Premium Member

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    Yeah, there's that, too. I just meant that there was a reasonable in-universe reason for June not to do that at this time.

    You mean antagonist. ;)

    But to answer your question, I think Serena can and already does carry villainy by herself. Without a doubt, everything Fred did was horrifying, disgusting, and I was constantly yelling at him. But I was doing that even more so with Serena despite doing less direct violence against June. Serena is a very self-righteous, self-entitled holier-than-thou tyrant.

    Just look at the attitude she copped against Mark in this episode outside of the conference room during Fred's interview about intel. She acted like she and Fred were the victims in all of this and they should be treated like royalty. She's been acting like that for four seasons on her own, only sometimes held back Fred simply because of Gilead's staunch patriarchy. But now on her own and away from Gilead's immediate influence? She'll be even more insufferable than before.
     
  6. Claudia

    Claudia Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I enjoyed the middle episodes, I was emotionally hooked, and it felt so good to see June reunited with Luke, Moira, Rita and Emily. On the other hand, I don't like June, haven't liked her for quite some time, actually. She uses people, uses the allure she has to pull people in just to leave them behind (at best) when they're no longer of use to her. Her words to Jeanine were despicable, her influence in Moira's group destructive etc. I get where she's coming from, but her way of obsession, vengeance and pure hatred isn't the way towards healing. She'll always find a new target to focus on. Fred might be gone now, but there's still Serena (who's arguably even worse than Fred, manipulative in her own right), Lydia etc.

    And to me the whole situation with Fred didn't make any sense. First of all, why is he so important in delivering intel - wouldn't Nick who's after all still part of the hierarchy make more sense as whistle blower? He'd do anything for June, establish her as his handler and get current info about Gilead's movements. Secondly, the whole idea of letting the Waterfords live out their lives in the open is ridiculous - the whole setup of their imprisonment was ridiculous, them having contact with each other etc.

    And now we have those 22 women who're exchanged for Fred - did this actually happen (i.e. were those 22 women actual prisoners or volunteers of MayDay to pose as prisoners) or did Nick and Joseph just pull the wool over Mark's eyes? Because if it did happen as an official prisoner exchange, then wouldn't Gilead notice Nick and Joseph's involvement, leading to them losing their insight into what's happening?

    The other thing is: How exactly is it determined who gets to be a wife and who a handmaid? With her now being pregnant Serena kind of proves to be fertile, so she could be "demoted" to handmaid if she ever returns to Gilead... but what of Esther? How did she become a wife in the first place? In the beginning the handmaids were girls/women who already had children or otherwise determined fertile and who had some kind of sordid past (in Gilead's eyes)... But how are the "new" handmaids recruited (other than Esther)?

    And Lydia and Jeanine... I really hope at some point Lydia gets what she deserves, and Jeanine's ready to mete out that punishment.

    Overall, good season with clear emotional highlights - but quite a distressing ending, not only in the glee that was seen in the eyes of the women, but also in the neglect of the bigger picture.
     
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  7. Shawnster

    Shawnster Commodore Commodore

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    Fred's a former commander in custody. He's someone they can interrogate. Well could interrogate. Nick, on the other hand, should be pretty much inaccessible. He's still in Gilead. Nick appears to be cooperative with June alone, but that's most likely very limited. The ease of contact June has been able to have with Nick and Joseph is what has surprised me or I thought might strain credibility.

    I'm actually fine with the gilded cage and relative freedoms the Waterford's had in Canada. They weren't prisoners of war from Canada's point of view. They weren't even really prisoners until Fred was transferred to US custody. It's politics. It's nebulous. The rest of the world is not at war with Gilead. They haven't committed any crimes toward the rest of the world and the crimes against humanity that Gilead is guilty of isn't that easy to prosecute. From the world's viewpoint, the United States was overthrown by a civil war.

    I don't know how easy that would be to fake. There were records. There should be intelligence reports. DNA and fingerprint records might exist for some of these people. You might have a point, but I'm not 100% convinced this could be fake.

    I think you've scratched the veneer too deeply and the concept might be starting to unravel. You are absolutely correct. The supply of Handmaid's should be very limited by now. It's not like there is a ton of fresh and fertile women constantly arriving in Gilead.

    From what we have seen the marriages are between commanders and young girls that fully support and embrace Gilead. It's like these girls come from the families of true believers. The handmaids, on the other hand, seem to be prisoners, dissidents, rebels, those who have rejected Gilead.

    It's the fertility factor that really breaks the bank. How many women are fertile? The whole idea of handmaid's are that they are fertile and are given to commanders whose wives are apparently infertile. At some point the supply of handmaid's should completely dry up. It's only been 7 years and that's not enough time to resupply with newer handmaids.

    I hadn't considered that, but that is a great idea and it does look like that is what is being set up. Having June return to Gilead now would break the credibility. Jeanine is the only one that can help us resolve Lydia's arc.
     
  8. DEWLine

    DEWLine Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    A thing to continue considering: Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean and Central and South American nations are all at greater risk to varying degrees, given the history of the US and Gilead.

    And how are those resistance forces able to achieve and hold whatever gains they've made against Gilead up to "now"? Yes, that's a political/supply chain question.
     
  9. Claudia

    Claudia Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    That's exactly my dilemma.

    Fred wasn't interrogated, pure and simple. At least not in the way I understand the term.

    June being able to easily contact Nick and Joseph - that bothered me quite a lot. By telephone, in person... the freedom of movement of both just stretches the concept of Gilead's surveillance system. They established earlier on that Lydia for one has her own surveillance system when she threatened Joseph. Nick has a wife and a household who in turn could report his movements etc.

    That's an interesting point. I'd love to see the outsider's point of view at one point. I mean, even in internal conflicts other countries voice opposition or determine sanctions - take Belarus for example (or Russia with Nawalny). You don't have to be at war to react... and the Waterfords are one of the leaders of Gilead, so I'd expect democratic countries to have some kind of sanctions against them (as leaders of Gilead) and therefore it being impossible for the Waterfords to settle down in i.e. Canada.

    But you're right we don't know how the world reacted to Gilead's coup d'etat against the US etc.

    That's true - at least for the 1st generation (i.e. June etc)... but what about further down the line when they managed to indoctrinate all their children in the Gilead system (like that rescued boy that Rita met)? If there are no dissident girls (or very rarely), how is the determination wife/handmaid made then? Or will they in a couple of generations have bred the infertility out of Gilead's population, and therefore rendered the wife/handmaid-system moot?

    But that's contradicted by Esther - she was a wife, and obviously deemed fertile even without actually having a child (otherwise she wouldn't end up as handmaid now as punishmentbut but be outright killed or sent to the colonies). Now Serena fears the same for herself (albeit with the difference that she was apparently previously determined infertile due to her injury, hence having handmaids)...

    Oh, I sure hope June won't return to Gilead - granted, she'll leave Luke and Nichole, even Moira behind (if not Emily), and I definitely see her work for the resistance, maybe liaise with Nick and Joseph... but I don't think her actually returning to Gilead (other than for the final act of freeing Hannah) would advance the plot in any way. Whatever cruelty they can do to her has already been done (and to others partly even more... I'm curious why Jeanine and Emily were mutilated, but June wasn't overtly - she has always been a trouble maker, so why not sow her lips together or cut her hamstrings that she can't run away... actually I have been wondering about that since we saw those handmaids in Washington), so what purpose would returning to Gilead have at this point in the story? What could she accomplish inside Gilead right now?
     
  10. Shawnster

    Shawnster Commodore Commodore

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    Antagonist. Yes. Brain fart.

    I want to agree with you about Serena, but I was disappointed by "House of Cards," which is influencing my opinion.

    Claire Underwood just wasn't capable of carrying the series the way Francis Underwood did. I don't know if this is due to the acting ability or the characters/writing.

    I'm just afraid Serena isn't as strong and intriguing villain as Fred. We will wait and see.

    Is Tuello falling in love with Serena?

    Where were the guards at the border at the end? Did Nick pull them all back? All those former handmaids had no problem entering the forbidden zone or whatever it was and chasing Fred. They had a much easier time crossing that border than we ever saw when they were trying to escape Gilead.

    I've seen it suggested that June has left Luke for Nick. Sorry, I'm just not getting that. Nick's in Gilead. June is not going to return to Gilead and live as a commander's wife.
     
  11. The Nth Doctor

    The Nth Doctor Infinite Possibilities... Premium Member

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    I blame that entirely on the show's writing. It was already rapidly going downhill after season two (which should've been the series finale). Robin Wright could only do so much with the crap they gave her in the final season.

    There's a persistent theory floating around that her baby is his and not Fred's. Which would not only explain how an impotent impregnated her, but also why Serena feels so damn confident in acting so self-righteous at Tuello every chance she got (I mean, beyond her regular inflated ego).

    Yeah, I thought about that, too, but that whole sequence is so improbable every step of the way (starting with June's ease with communicating to Joseph and Nick) that it's best not to think about it too much.

    Not physically, I agree, but I do think her heart is with Nick now. Like I said before, it's not something I ever bought but the show has continuously pushed that idea forward every time they've met.
     
  12. Timewalker

    Timewalker Cat-lovin', Star Trekkin' Time Lady Premium Member

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    Would you have preferred the novel's solution to Fred? He was part of a purge that takes place "off-camera" at some point long after the novel's main events.

    People have been waiting for four seasons for some kind of meaningful retribution against Fred. It's more meaningful if it comes from his victims instead of some Gilead court that could have exonerated him for some bizarre reason (as they did Lawrence, who by Gilead law should have been executed for his actions).

    Of course they will. It's like the end of the 1990 movie, when the Fred-is-a-martyr propaganda was going out over the Gilead TV channel, assuring the faithful that Commander Waterford's murderer and the Mayday rebels would be caught and hanged.

    Keep in mind that the same people own the rights to the movie and the novel. That's why parts of the series have the same word-for-word dialogue from the movie and some things are a bit different from the novel.

    It was justice by Gilead standards. Fred raped handmaids who were not his, therefore he was executed in a Particicution ceremony. I bet he was wishing he'd taken June's offer of being shot, when he realized the women intended to beat him to death the way they'd been forced to beat other men to death.

    I did some map googling, and I think it would likely be one of those backwater (no pun intended) crossings either over the Niagara River or a tributary of it. There are many odd undefended crossings along the border. In one place the border is marked by a row of potted plants. In others, the border actually runs through someone's house.

    For security reasons, I doubt this was filmed at an actual crossing point. Just because there isn't an official security checkpoint, don't assume it's not under surveillance. I suspect the show just made it up.

    That would have screwed up the showrunners' plan to segue into The Testaments.

    But not all viable women are participating. The Jezebels are not intended to get pregnant, though some of them can (Moira, for example). Ditto some of the women in the Colonies, though their fertility probably goes downhill pretty quickly due to the toxins they're exposed to.

    They can easily create more villains. Commander Winslow, for example, is one they created. He's not in the original novel. Lawrence is a "moral grey area" character. We never know which way he's going to jump, and some of his actions have been seen as villainous... until we find out his reasons.

    Serena has no problem being a villain. She's manipulative in the novel, but nowhere near as outright cruel as she is in the TV show. Of course TV-Serena is much younger than novel-Serena, and novel-Serena was a televangelist, rather than a writer who went on speaking tours.

    There's no requirement for protagonists to be nice people. They're merely the main character(s) whose pov is/are how we're shown the events of the story.

    Nick is at least a double agent, possibly a triple agent. Add to that any personal agenda he has, which likely includes keeping June as safe as he can, given her tendency to bulldoze ahead on her own and damn the consequences for anyone else. Yes, there's a lot he could say. But he's more valuable right where he is. And as suddenly as he was made a Commander, it could be taken away again. He might be at the top of one of Gilead's departments, but he's nowhere near the top of the entire heap.

    They appeared to be wearing Martha uniforms. We know that the Marthas have a wide-reaching network that functions whether they're actively involved in Mayday or not.

    Esther would have been a Daughter. Daughters become either Econowives or Wives, depending on the status of their parents.

    We don't know for sure how they get the younger handmaids. As I said before, they might import them from other districts that have a temporary surplus. They would have to have done that to replenish the 'stock' when Ofglen #2 killed so many in her suicide bombing.

    This brings us to the question of why Eden was executed instead of being taken to the Red Centre. It would seem that if a woman commits adultery, the penalty is death (drowning in Eden's case, the Colonies in the case of the Wife who was poisoned by Emily). If a woman rebels somewhat, it seems that she's still deemed fit to be a handmaid if she's fertile, but if she's an incorrigible rebel, she's offered a choice between the Colonies or Jezebel's (provided she's considered attractive enough for a brothel).

    It wasn't a nice ending, but it was realistic, in how they dealt with Fred. The novel explains the psychology that went into developing the Particicution ceremony. The Handmaids are captives, forced to be submissive and never express their own opinions. Giving them a periodic outlet for whatever resentment or hate they might feel is a way of ensuring they won't snap and murder their Commander and his family.

    The only thing that makes sense is that someone in authority is making it possible for these calls to go through. And remember that Gilead does have internet access. It's just not accessible for anyone who isn't a Commander.

    They've committed crimes against the countries whose citizens happened to be in the U.S. when the Sons of Jacob took over and who couldn't leave.

    It's not likely anything the American writers would think about, but I would hope that if Gilead decides to invade, that the major Commonwealth countries would help Canada. After all, we did our part in two world wars, plus plenty of peacekeeping missions.

    Janine was mutilated because Aunt Lydia a) is a thin-skinned old hag; and b) decided to use Janine as a horrifying example to the other women of what the consequences would be if any of them talked back.

    Emily was mutilated in an effort to discourage her from seeking out other women for sex. The reasoning was that if she could no longer feel pleasure, she wouldn't have a reason to break the rules. Oh, and because Lydia is a vindictive bitch, as well.

    June did not escape physical torture. She was tied down and her bare feet were whipped on multiple occasions. Of course that's nowhere on par with the loss of an eye or clitoris, but at least she didn't completely escape physical consequences.

    Even Lydia doesn't approve of how the Handmaids are treated in Washington. The show has to address that at some point.

    Tuello has been attracted to Serena since the first season. Why, I have no idea. At first I thought he was just acting, to manipulate her into giving up information. But later he seemed to actually be falling for her, and that was the end of any liking for him I had. He's an idiot.

    Yes, Nick would have pulled the guards back. There was a line of dialogue referencing this. He's in charge of the Eyes, so he can station them wherever he wants.

    The women who crossed the bridge were wearing Martha uniforms. I very much doubt that Lawrence would agree to give up handmaids.

    The former handmaids who helped kill Fred were part of whatever deal June swung with Nick and Lawrence. Look at it this way: Gilead was not happy with Fred. June and the former handmaids were not happy with Fred. Nick was not happy with Fred. All of them wanted Fred to be dead. So Nick and Lawrence made it possible for Fred to be caught out in the buffer zone between Canada and Gilead where the border is murky, and the women treated Fred to the experience of what a Particicution is like. Their actions saved Gilead the trouble of making Fred dead, and everyone goes home happy (or at least with the sense that justice was at least partially served).

    June has emotionally left Luke. Luke really has no clue in hell what traumas June has suffered, and it's the sort of thing that's really impossible to explain to someone who hasn't experienced more than a fraction of it. Yes, Luke saw a townful of dead people strung up in a church - big deal. June saw dead Handmaids and Marthas and Econopeople hanging from lamp posts and the Wall every day, and was forced to participate in some of those hangings herself. She's had to bury women with her own bare hands. How could Luke ever come close to understanding how those things would have affected and changed her?

    It's been stated in interviews that Fred is the father of Serena's baby.

    In the novel, Offred states that she did not consider her first time with Nick to be a betrayal of Luke, since she was doing it under Serena's orders. And for the times after... well, in the novel and movie, Luke is killed off from the get-go. She might have felt some guilt at first, but the fact is that even though June is pretty unlikeable at this point, she is still human and humans have emotional needs. June needed Nick to hold on to her sanity. He was the one person in Gilead who she felt actually gave a damn if she lived or died. That's a powerful kind of bond people can have.
     
  13. Scott Kellogg

    Scott Kellogg Commander Red Shirt

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    Hello,
    I'm afraid I haven't seen the TV series, and it's been a couple decades+ since I read the book, but I saw something odd the other day that made me think about it.
    I was watching an old "Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies" cartoon, maybe from the 1930s or 1940s. I don't recall the name of it. But, they were parodying old Product Advertisements (Arm & Hammer, Victrola Records, that sort of thing) and I noticed they had a long line of figures dancing around in the Handmaid's Uniforms.

    That's when I remembered that the outfit was taken from an old product mascot "Old Dutch Cleanser"
    [​IMG]
    Thing is, the parody version was labeled "Old Maid." And it occurred to me that basically the society in the story is almost an Old-Maid-Ocracy. While the men appear to be in charge, but behind the scenes it's run by a lot of old maids. (Well, at least as far as the women are concerned, they're kind of ruled by other women.)

    But, it sure was weird to see all those animated figures from 80-90 years ago.
     
  14. Timewalker

    Timewalker Cat-lovin', Star Trekkin' Time Lady Premium Member

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    If you saw the TV series, you would notice that it's definitely not the women in charge, at least not in the first two and a half seasons.

    At that point June gets Super Serious about bossing her Commander around, and we're still trying to figure out why he took it.

    He's one of the Moral Grey Area type of characters whose next move can't ever be predicted.


    Odd thing happened a couple of days ago. I post on a couple of the review channels on YT, and got an email notification that the reviewer himself (Rob, of Smirking Gun Reviews) had dropped a 'like' on one of my posts.

    It seemed a bit weird, as it's been awhile since the season ended and he did his wrap-up video. But it's nice to be appreciated. :)
     
  15. nedski

    nedski Commander Red Shirt

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    I just loved the show... and I'm eager to watch the 5th season next year.
    "Praised be " that there will be a 5th season said Joseph Fiennes in one of his interviews :)
    I like the concept a lot, even though they made a few changes from the original story....
    The book was kind of racist and they modified it so that Gilead was more like just totalitarian and not racist.
    This means that in the TV Show Gilead there were all sort of races (not like in the book -which was somehow similar to Hitler's regime), also of course the usual LGBTQ scenes were added because it is like a trend these days of course and it is a subject that sells.
    Overall it was one of the best fiction series I watched lately.
    I might say that the actual "pandemic" reminded me about the first 3 seasons which were shot before the pandemic came.
    10/10 I may say :bolian:
     
  16. Scott Kellogg

    Scott Kellogg Commander Red Shirt

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    Well, as I said, it's been literally decades since I read the book.
    (I had to look at Wikipedia to remember enough to try to comment intelligibly.)
    I've forgotten an awful lot about it.

    But, (I guess in my own head-canon anyway) I always figured it was women who designed the outfits,
    because I really can't see that a guy would design those gowns for a society where breeding was important enough to be a dominating factor.
     
  17. Timewalker

    Timewalker Cat-lovin', Star Trekkin' Time Lady Premium Member

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    I don't get the connection you're trying to make.

    The series (and the novel) has frequent references to blood. There's a lot of blood involved in giving birth, and as soon as the girls in Gilead menstruate for the first time they're given physical exams to see if they're fertile.

    Depending on which class they're in, they might be destined for marriage (around age 14-15), or to become a Martha (domestic servant; infertile women who haven't committed any crimes or sins end up as Marthas unless they happen to be the Daughters of Commanders, in which case they still get to marry, but their household will be issued a Handmaid).

    There's a practical reason for the red Handmaid outfits, too. The color palette of Gilead is washed out, very grey. Everyone wears a color-coded uniform (though the Wives get a bit of leeway in the design of their dresses). Handmaids stand out in their red outfits. Wives wear teal, Marthas wear a greenish/grey, and the novel says Econowives wear a kind of striped uniform - red, blue, and green - but the only Econowife we saw in the show was on-screen for such a brief time that I didn't actually notice if she wore that or a Martha uniform due to working in a communal place like a laundry.

    A Handmaid trying to escape will be instantly noticed, in that red dress and white bonnet, especially if she's alone. Handmaids always come in pairs, and if they're not obviously either shopping, or on the way to or from shopping, they had better have a damned good explanation for being outside their respective Commanders' homes.

    Given all the symbolism of the color red, I doubt it was designed by a woman... which in fact it was not, as the novel states this. If memory serves, it was actually Offred's Commander himself who had the idea to dress the Handmaids in red (back when he and his fellow terrorists were planning Gilead).
     
  18. Scott Kellogg

    Scott Kellogg Commander Red Shirt

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    No, It's that, in my opinion, I don't think men (especially a bunch of male chauvinists) would put women in... what amounts to Nun's Habits.

    In my experience, it's almost always women who dictate what other women wear when it comes to regulating public modesty. Generally, women don't much care what men think of their clothes.

    If I recall correctly, the author put them in robes like that because she found the outfits frightening.
    (Oh well, as I said, it's been a long long long time since I read it. I remember more my impressions of the book than the actual text of it... Sorry.)
     
  19. nedski

    nedski Commander Red Shirt

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    [​IMG]
    Aunt Lydia - reminded me of Gaius Helen Mohiam from Dune :)
    My favorite character from this show ...
     
  20. Timewalker

    Timewalker Cat-lovin', Star Trekkin' Time Lady Premium Member

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    This is exactly why they would demand women be dressed from head to floor, all covered up in multiple layers.

    Women are temptresses, y'know. You have to keep them covered, lest the sight of an ankle (even one covered with a sock and shoe) be visible.

    And there are women who buy into this BS, too. It doesn't have to be nuns' habits that are the problem. I read an article a few years ago about a Muslim woman who decided to dress Western rather than be wrapped up in a niqab (not a burka; there are very noticeable differences in women's dress in Muslim countries). She encountered a demonstration in which some other Muslims were upset about how decadent Western ways were, and some of the protesters were women. One of them looked at this woman, who was dressed reasonably modestly by normal standards, said she was practically naked, and to 'go home and put some clothes on' - in other words, go home and put on a niqab so her body, hair, and face would be covered, showing only her eyes and the tips of her fingers.

    That's news to me. I definitely know women who care very much what men think of their clothes.

    But it's usually news to the men I talk to online when I tell them that in most cases, when women dress up, they're doing it less for the sake of pleasing a man than they are for showing off and one-upping other women. It's a case of "I/my man can afford this and you/yours can't."

    Of course these are not usually situations where modesty is the goal.

    That said... I grew up in the '60s, at a time in Western Canada when it was considered normal for women and girls to wear a kerchief in public, dresses in public, and so on. I remember protesting my grandmother's speeches that I should wear dresses to school and told her that it was too cold to walk to the bus and take the ride into town (we lived on an acreage in the county) in the winter, and she said, "Wear a pair of pants under your dress and take them off when you get to school. Girls should wear dresses."

    Well, that was in the late 1960s. Fast-forward about 8 years, and I persuaded my grandmother to try pantsuits.

    The result was that she was so comfortable (and no longer freezing in the winter) that she never went back to dresses. I overheard her trying to persuade her sister (5 years older) to wear pantsuits, but my great-aunt never did. I don't know if she genuinely felt it was wrong not to wear a dress, or if she wanted to try but her husband wouldn't let her.

    Atwood put all the women in "uniforms" according to their class. Red has all that blood symbolism, and it's noticeable.

    The only women who had individualized clothing were the Jezebels, and of course their clothing was intended to be slutty, to appeal to the Commanders.

    Lydia is one of the people who would have failed the gom jabbar test, I should think. She's an animal.

    I don't like Mohiam, but she would never have tortured her Bene Gesserit trainees the way Lydia tortured the Handmaids.
     
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