fidesquaerens (marta_bee) wrote,

The Handmaid's Tale + More Holmestice

I've been watching the Hulu series, which just finished its first series. Highly recommended if you have access to Hulu. Is anyone else watching it?

I love the original book and as far as adaptations go, this feels like better than we had any riht to hope for. It's reasonably faithful, and where it differs (the Japanese tourists become a Mexican ambassador, for instance) it's used to really good effect. And they dug into so many of the characters in such an interesting, believable way. Moira and Janine, for instance, were wonderful. I was a bit bothered by the boiling down of the horrors of Gilead to sexual slavery and sexual violence, treating all women like they were equal. As if the Red Centers were the one real outstanding shame of Gilead.

One of the truly unnerving things about the original book for me was that in some ways Aunt Lydia was right when she called the Handmaids protected and lucky. There are huge racial disparities, and older women just disappear unless they're married to powerful men like the Commanders' Wives. I didn't perceive the true horror as a sexual assault so much as a lack of choices and choice-making across the Board. Women are sentenced to sexual slavery, domestic servants, death in the colonies. Afro-Americans are sentenced to agricultural slavery out west. Gay people are quite literally sentence to death even if they're chaste in the present. Similarly for religious minorities, intellectuals, anyone seen as undesirable. And as awful as Gilead is there are all these pepole living worse, or at least different, horrors.

This is hard to say and I'm sure lots of people will disagree with me (with reason!), but I felt like a lot of reaction to the show was trying to tap into a "war against women" and the current political moment. To be clear: I do see a war against women, just one that goes deeper than the current administration. In terms of Trump policies it pales compared to the machismo he emboldens, and even that pales compared to the racial poltics, the Islamophobia, the American-first sentiment. I don't feel all that singled out as a woman, or at least I see te assault as... more subtle? More about the personality than the policies? So it feels odd to kind of put "Handmaid" out there as a tale for the political moment (which is why I think it's resonating with a lot of my friends these days), and then act like all women are suffering equally. That reaction has a sort of all-lives-matter undercurrent to it. And the adaptation did seem to present a sort of homogenized everywoman put through this, that didn't sit that well with me.

I don't know. I don't think I'm explaining it very well. And taken as a story of how women generally are put through such garbage, it really is a great psychological horror thing. A great drama looking at how we resist, the different ways we do, what that means. Really worth watching. And reading for that matter - the Atwood novel was hugely formative for me, and it's aged really well.


Holmestice continues. Some favorites since my last post:

Son of Demeter, No Friend of Hades (BBC Sherlock + Greek mythology fusion, John/Sherlock + Moriarty)
Return (Doyle, John/Sherlock)
A Long Game (BBC Sherlock, Anthea & Molly tipping into Anthea/Molly)
Underground Rescue (BBC Sherlock art, John & Sherlock)

.... I will admit I'm getting a bit... wearied, I guess? So many nice pieces, but my RL is so busy, and I feel a compunction to read and comment on them all because I want the same paid to me but also because they're nice, I guess? And with this heat, and some other things going on. I'm just tired. The good thing is, they'll still be there even if I don't get to them all. Need to remind myself of that.

Btw [personal profile] fractalwolf keep meaning to reply! But no, I don't recognize the significance of the Norse runes, either. I feel like I should, but I'm drawing a blank there.

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