I’m not one to watch many television series mostly because I don’t have time or simply don’t know what to watch with so many options. Given all my #ladyboss love, I was told that I simply had to watch the new Hulu series, The Handmaid’s Tale. So this past Friday and Saturday I watched the newly released series.
I haven’t been more disturbed by a series than this. I was crying. I was angry. I was sad. I was sick to my stomach. Filled with these emotions, I felt compelled to write about my thoughts on the show and how we can prevent anything like this ever happening.
What’s this tale all about
Based on the 1985 novel by Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale is a dystopian tale about what happens to the United States after a far-right religious group seizes control of the government. We don’t have much information on how the new nation of Gilead was formed, but we do know that a war has left “the colonies” a radioactive wasteland. Food is scarce, and an infertility epidemic is sweeping the world.
Women who can reproduce are so valuable that the government rounds them up and turns them into “handmaids” who must reproduce for the good of their nation. These handmaids are sex slaves with the sole purpose to reproduce. They are ceremonially raped by their commander while the commander’s wife holds the handmaid’s arms and looks her husband right in the eye. When a woman does finally have a baby, the baby is given to a richer woman who uses the handmaid for breast feeding and gets rid of her once her job is complete. Basically it’s miserable.
Lessons to my Ladybosses
There are a few scenes that have stuck with me from The Handmaid’s Tale. One is when the main character June or renamed ‘Offred’ is reflecting on the moment when all women in her office are fired and sent home for no good reason. Another moment is when her credit cards completely stop working and her finances are transferred to her husband. June admits that she hadn’t really paid attention to politics until her job and credit cards completely stopped working.
This hit me hard. I’m extremely proud of my individualism and how tirelessly I have worked to be a strong women in tech and a role model to future ladybosses. Am I naïve to think that being a powerful and determined woman is enough to stop injustices? What can I do today to ensure that our voices are heard and our value is indispensable?
Another eerie part of the show is how the infertile women are the wives of the commanders and dress in blue while the fertile women (handmaids) dress in red with white bonnets. There are moments when all the women are breathing together supporting a handmaid through birth contrasted by the women in blue pretending to be nice and antagonizing Offred while she is offered a macaroon. From such community to such extreme bitchiness to each other.
Aren’t we all women taking this journey through personal and professional development together? Why can’t we fight for each other, even if it means you give in or maybe don’t get a promotion before another woman? If we were being raped for our fertility, would you watch and let that happen for your own good?
To my incredible, powerful, beautiful ladybosses, we must move forward together.
We’re stronger together. We don’t have to lose our individualism or sacrifice our futures for the sake of a government, for men or for what society demands of us. Think about how we can support each other with confidence and within our communities. Every time you talk sh*t about another woman or don’t help her rise to her full potential, you’ve lowered your own potential. RISE ABOVE.
Lessons to my amazing men
In the very first scene of the series, June’s husband is trying to escape the government and free his family. Unfortunately, his own life must be taken to save the lives of his wife and daughter. This is a beautiful example of what sacrifices men will sustain for the sake of their families and it does not go unnoticed.
One subtle scene that I want to note is when June’s bank accounts are closed and transferred to her husband’s. His sympathetic reaction includes the statement “Don’t worry, I’ll take care of you”. By no means do I doubt the sincerity of that statement as I believe that the man in my life would fight to the ends of this earth for me, but I do want to note that this isn’t about men taking care of us.
This is about men fighting for us. Rising above when you yourself have unconscious biases or see your bros behaving in a way that doesn’t uplift women in a professional and positive sense. While we may not have to fight for our bodies, we are fighting for gender equality. I unfortunately have seen harsh realities of how far we still have to go. Every women can talk about a time when they were hit on at a work event or degraded by a man who subtly comments about how we like to shop.
We need you now more than ever so please stay alongside us and fight for our careers, our growth, and our individualism whenever you can.
Lessons to all of us
There is a sickening scene where harmless protests turn into open fire against innocent protesters. There are scenes of such despicable homophobia and antisemitism that made me cry hysterically. While I know, this is just some Hulu series, these realities are possible. Far off and not likely, but possible. Unless we rise together.
Who cares what color you are, what gender you hold, what status you have. All we have is right now. This present moment to speak up and be better for each other. This isn’t about women or men. This is about us coming together as one united humanity. I have full faith in the future because I know there are amazing #changemakers like you ready to rise above.
What are your thoughts? Feel free to comment below
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