Why Aren’t We Talking About ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’?

This article is by our guest writer, Clare Ostroski.

The second season of Hulu’s most acclaimed original series, The Handmaid’s Tale, began streaming on April 25, 2018. Since then, I have been fixated on its antic pandering and refusal to acknowledge or rectify its glaring toxicity.

Reviews and commentary of season two have almost unanimously venerated the show, but few opt to mention its frivolousness. With just three episodes left, I feel it important to acknowledge these things now, before its finale deafens any criticism of the season more broadly.

From left to right, Sydney Sweeney as Eden Spencer, Joseph Fiennes as Fred Waterford, and Yvonne Strahovski as Serena Joy Waterford, The Handmaid’s Tale, Hulu (2018)

Season one of The Handmaid’s Tale posed the question: what if women were slaves? The country of Gilead is a not-too-distant United States, transformed into a religious autocracy that rounds up women to be raped and impregnated in the hopes of repopulating a broken society. Families are separated as women are enslaved to upper-class households, brothels, or labor camps. The problem with this story is that it isn’t entirely fictional. Slavery exists today, and it existed in America not so long ago. Families are currently being torn apart and abused at the United States border. Ethnicity accounts for incredulous disparities in American incarceration. Women have been there for all of it.

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