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The Handmaid's Tale Project

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Emily Parker

on 8 October 2014

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Transcript of The Handmaid's Tale Project

The Handmaid's Tale
How are gender roles empowering/ restricting to men?
Men are denied genuine relationships with women

How is male dominance demonstrated in terms of how women are treated in the Republic of Gilead?
Angels/Guardians- Put in charge of watching over the women in store, while one walks, "social gatherings", and at the home.
Store signs only images/no books- Ensure that women forget how to read
The Wall- Constant reminder to not break the law
Uprising....female compucard accounts frozen; jobs lost
How do men show discontent with the Republic’s regime?
Have the character archetypes of men been changed by the new cultural norms of this new society?
The effect of the Republic of Gilead on men
Supportive of the desicions and actions of the child
Loyal to the child and puts care of the child first
Open-minded to thoughts and ideas the child presents
Protective of the child and has best interest at heart
Disciplinarie: educates child on what is acceptable in society
Attentive to the child and is involved in everyday life
Present Ideal Father figure
Supportive of the spouse's choices and feelings
Faithful to the spouse in terms of endearment
Have shared interest with spouse
Respectful to the spouse's wishes/terms
Honorable to spouse's agreements and or promises
Attentive to the spouse and is involved in everyday life
Present Ideal Love interest
Supportive of the child as in providing shelter and food
Loyal to the child and puts child first
Protective of the child and has best interest of procreation at heart
Ideal Father figure in Handmaid's Tale
Ideal Love interest in Handmaid's Tale
The Commander
: Rebellion and pity
: Failure to comply completely with the system
: Denial and eventual belated accetance
Due to stereotypical male characteristics of purely sexual motivation and indifference to emotional connection, men in the Republic are denied any type of a genuine relationship with a woman. All relationships must be authorized and formulaic. Marriages are arranged, as love is essentially not legal in the Republic of Gilead.
How are gender roles empowering/ restricting to men?
Example One:

The Commander secretly invites Offred into his study to read and play games. This was done to satisfy his need for genuine female companionship (Chapter 23). Additionally, he takes Offred to a hotel room to have sex in order to avoid detection. This is because he wishes for more intimacy, which he is not getting from the sex in the “Ceremony" (Chapter 39).
Example Two:
Nick, like Offred, is subordinate and therefore has to remain passive until ordered to go to bed with Offred by Serena Joy. He is essentially restricted from expressing affection to her unless deemed appropriate and acceptable.
How are gender roles empowering/ restricting to men?
2. The value and freedom of a man is based solely upon his position
in the government of the Republic of Gilead

Due to the male role of protector/leader, it is extremely unlikely for a primary male character to operate as anything more than a functional role in the patriarchal state. Men are essentially just machines meant to keep the order of society.
How are gender roles empowering/ restricting to men?
Example One:

The Angels are the Republic’s soldiers. As can be seen in Chapter One, the Angels and guards are not allowed to enter the building where the women are being held unless they are called. This confines them to the role of protector; they are not permitted contact with the women unless it is for safety purposes.
Example Two:
The Commander, though head of the household, is very much confined to his role as a leader. All relationships, even his own with Serena Joy, are subject to strict limitations by the Republic due to his position in administration. Any outside relationship would be seen as unprofessional and unorthodox, hence his secrecy in seeing Offred.
*All men are denied actual names. They are only referred to by their position title (Angels, Commander, etc…)
Supportive of spouse as in to provide food and shelter
Faithful to spouse with one exception
Honorable to spouse of argments (marital)
Yes, they have been changed in definition
How does the portrayal of men in the novel relate to the portrayal of men in today's media?
The modern male figure
The sexual exploitation of men in today's media and the novel
men are just wanted for their bodies just as much
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