On Sunday night, I watched the first episode of The Handmaid’s Tale on Channel 4. Oh. My. God. Fantastic!
I’m seeing so many comments and articles at the moment about the show being horrifying, chilling, and too graphic. Really?! The entire premise of the story is that in a dystopian future the majority of women have become infertile. Therefore, they hunt down those who are still fertile and turn them into Handmaids – essentially slaves of the higher classes who have to perform sexual rituals in the hope that they become pregnant and provide their owners with a child. Knowing all this, I don’t see how people can complain about the episode being too graphic?! Rape (although they don’t class it as such) plays a large part of this storyline, so having a show without it would be ridiculous. It would be like Harry Potter without the element of magic or Lord of the Rings without the One Ring.
I get that rape is both an atrocity and a taboo subject, but if people had done a little research on the show first, they would at least have expected it. Besides, I thought the scene in question was done quite tactfully. It has been a number of years since I last read The Handmaid’s Tale, but from what I can remember there is a lot worse to come than their ritual. But you know what? It is a shocking and scary book, so there are going to be shocking and scary scenes. Either accept it for what it is – which, by the way, is not an advocation for rape but rather a look at a dystopian society where it is not even considered as such – or stop watching it. It’s as simple as that!
As for me, I cannot wait to watch next weekend’s episode. I already have a reminder set on my phone for it! For now, I’m going to hurry up and finish reading Sugar Cane by Paul Bailey so that I can give The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood another thorough read!