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Handmaid's Tale - Women's Bodies used as Political Instruments

Women's Bodies used as Political Instruments. A study of the Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood.

Cynti Yeh

on 21 May 2013

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Transcript of Handmaid's Tale - Women's Bodies used as Political Instruments

Jennifer Lo &
Cynthia Yeh Looking Deeper into 'The Handmaid's Tale' Women's Bodies used as Political Instruments Introduction to the Topic Quotes “We are for breeding purposes...we are
two-legged wombs, that’s all: sacred vessels, ambulatory chalices.” (170-171) “I used to think of my body as an instrument, of pleasure, or a means of transportation, or an implement for the accomplishment of my will.
Now the flesh arranges itself differently. I’m a cloud, congealed around a central object, the shape of a pear, which is hard and more real than I am and glows red within its translucent wrapping.” (91) Connections “I am too important, too scarce, for that. I am a national resource.” (80) Text-To-Text Text-To-Self Text-To-World “Such tokens are accorded to us. They are supposed to show respect, because of the nature of our service.” (26) "My red skirt is hitched up to my waist, though no higher. Below it the Commander is fucking. What he is fucking is the lower part of my body. I do not say making love, because this is not what he's doing. Copulating too would be inaccurate, because it would imply two people and only one is involved. Nor does rape cover it: nothing is going on here that I haven't signed up for." (116) “We are containers, it's only the insides of our bodies that are important. The outside can become hard and wrinkled, for all they care, like the shell of a nut.” (119) Eden Sex Trafficking/Sex Trade
- Has been around since biblical times

- More than 12 million people are victims of forced prostitution & labor across the world

- $32 billion global business

- Sex traffickers often recruit unsuspecting & vulnerable children
- Over 30 million trafficked every year

- In approx. 54% of cases, recruiter is stranger
- 46% of the cases, recruiters know victim - Surrogate mothers - "borrowing" of the womb

- Rise of women's independence - fewer marriages & pregnancies

- Simultaneous polygamy - Mormons

- Rise of women's independence

- Banning of birth control in Romania

- Observation of Islamic societies & fundamental groups - Vessels for reproduction

- Society's culture - only way to complete life is through procreation

- Insidious assumption that women should have children after marriage - Gilead - a society formed in response to crisis caused by dramatically declining birthrates

- One goal: control reproductivity - repopulate Caucasian society with good genes

- Complete control of women's bodies through political subjugation (forced submission to control by others)

- Women have no independence -
undermine husbands or state

- Creates society in which women are
treated as subhuman

- Valued only for their viable ovaries & wombs

- Deprive women of their individuality to
make them docile carriers of
the next generation " If the birthrate plummets below replacement,
a society will either accept it
or put into existence conditions that will
increase the number of births."
- Margaret Atwood
Full transcript