Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

This is not a book review. I don't think I could review this book because anything I could say about its brilliance and power would fall short of the true meaning of the book. However, in light of the fact that my uterus, and every other uterus in America, has suddenly become a stomping ground for both of the "big political parties" in America, I have been thinking about it a lot.

Firstly, Republicans, my uterus is none of your business. What goes on inside of it, or what doesn't go on inside of it, has nothing to do with you. What I put into my body to stop embryo implantation is no more your business than your Viagra usage is any of my business. Besides, don't you have a men's bathroom to hang out in? Tap your foot, reach for the toilet paper?

Secondly, Democrats, my uterus is not a place for you to plant a flag to make yourselves look so much better. "Hey, we support your rights to use birth control!" I have never heard any of you supporting a man's right to use a damn condom, so no matter how you slice it, you are using my uterus to win votes.

This reminds me a lot of the "gay" marriage debates. As one brilliant man put it, "I don't want gay marriage. I just want marriage. I don't wake up in the morning and have gay coffee." I don't wake up in the morning and take a female shower, then take a female allergy pill and go off in my female car to my female job.

This isn't about "women's rights." It's about the right to be a human being. I don't need anyone telling me that they support my biological functions. I support my own biological functions. I don't need permission to do that.

I don't think that the world will ever go the way of The Handmaid's Tale simply because there are too many people who oppose what the "Religious Right" are saying about my uterus; however I still feel that there are too many people patting my uterus on the head and saying, "That's okay. You'll be all right. We'll take care of this."

In The Handmaid's Tale, Offred was never allowed to talk about male sterility. No one was. It was not an idea that entered into the consciousness of society. A man might be given five or ten handmaidens, and if they were unable to produce a child, it was their fault, not the man's. Similarly, right now birth control is a woman's issue despite the fact that HBC only protects against unwanted pregnancy, not STD's or HIV, and that it should be considered just the first line of defense against unwanted pregnancy alone. After that, there should be a condom to protect against STD's and HIV. If HBC is being taken only to prevent unwanted pregnancy in heterosexual relationships, then there is a responsibility on both parties to prevent that pregnancy. As it stands, most women take HBC to deal with many other issues, including horomone regulation, PMDD treatment, bleeding irregularity, and other mood and physical issues that arise in an ovulating female. HBC is actually a female-specific drug to treat hormonal issues whose side effects often, but not always, prevent unwanted pregnancy.

In The Handmaid's Tale, what started all of the issues in America was a birthrate drop-off. People weren't having children. There didn't seem to be any reason for it, either, or if there was the government wasn't talking about it. We don't have a birthrate drop-off in America. If anything, people should stop having babies and start adopting already. There are so many unwanted children out there that we ought to be ashamed of ourselves. Why aren't the politicians addressing that issue? As it is, my body instead has become a battleground with one side trying to take over, and the other side fighting them off, and I'm supposed to be grateful to the side that's fighting them off and I suppose I am to a degree. I just can't stop thinking, though, that if it was an issue about viagra and prostate cancer and vasectomies that there just wouldn't be an issue in the first place. Women are just lucky we can vote, right?

1 comment:

  1. I love "The Handmaid's Tale". It's one of those books that really made me realise how fragile our hold on the rights we've won so far really is, and how easily it can all be lost again.

    In the UK, all women are entitled to free birth control. It's one of the very few medications that are absolutely free to all women, regardless of ability to pay. The NHS makes most medical procedures pretty much free, but contraception is absolutely free, always, to everyone. I think we often forget how lucky we are to be in that position.