The Handmaid’s Tale (Book Review) – Eggs and Butter

WARNING: You might never look at eggs and butter the same way again. This is not a proper book review, but more of a reaction against a made-believe religious institution that could possibly happen in America. Lastly, this is a re-blog post. Even though it was originally written for mature audiences, I made it PG-13 in case minors stumble across this blog post.

I cringed when I hear sexist comments such as how women are irrational beings governed by their emotions rather than logic. How can anyone think that 1+1+1+1 ≠ 4? If you put 4 women in a room together, would you call them a clone of one another? No, each woman is different. Women are not a division of a whole number! So, the answer is not 4. The Handmaid’s Tale, written by Margaret Atwood, is about all kinds of women.

The book is a dystopia drama but don’t expect a lot of action. The flashback showing the downfall of the society can get painfully distracting sometimes. I had to go back and read the same passage several times. For the most part, the book is poetically descriptive to the point it made me feel sick to the stomach. It loves to point out how the sex organs both male and female are used for reproducing purposes only. There were a few times I wanted to vomit because the author refers eggs to ovaries and butter to beauty cream. Both eggs and butter are consumable and when associating it with sex, it makes it less desirable. Consuming too much eggs and butter will make you sick. In this case, the Commander has accessed to a lot of women, but based on the the way the author described the sex part, he doesn’t seem to enjoy it much, especially when the wife is positioned on the bed where she can see the husband penetrating the handmaid. It’s awkward.

Sex is a production. Anything that deviates from that is considered evil. Sluts should be imprisoned especially the ones who wear false eyelashes. So get rid of those seductive magazines such as Mademoiselle and Vogue! They are forbidden in this absurd society called Republic of Gilead. Let me reiterate. Sex is a production. Baby making is a production. The Commander is a tool, the wife is a tool, the handmaid, Offred (protagonist) is a tool for the society. Everything about it strips the rights of humanity—the freedom to choose, to express oneself, the freewill to desire and so forth.

Now that I finished the book, I’m glad I have the choice to slip onto a nice black dress, reach out for the red lipstick, and spritz a little perfume if I want to feel sexy. Ironically, I’ve never walked out the house like that in my entire life. It’s not because I am religious. I am just reserved. For other women though, I am left wondering how much should they express themselves sexually without losing their dignity? Slut is such a derogatory word. More importantly, the book made me wonder why do society emphasizes so much control over a woman’s reproductive system and tie it to her value? Is she supposed to be nothing more than a pious, baby popping machine? That’s just inhumane. There is a difference between being a good mother to a child and being a slave to a system. Let’s not mix politics with sex.

P.S

There is a TV Show version on Hulu, but I have not watched the entire thing when I got all the important details from the book. It’s a heavy read and a political one that’s hard to digest for many reasons.