Friday, April 9, 2010

On Female Complicity, Again

What I took away as the most important theme in Margaret Atwood's classic, The Handmaid's Tale, is its portrayal of the importance of female complicity in perpetuating patriarchy:

"As the architects of Gilead knew, to institute an effective totalitarian system or indeed any system at all you must offer some benefits and freedoms, at least to a privileged few, in return for those you remove....

...[T]he best and most cost-effective way to control women through reproductive and other purposes was through the women themselves. For this there were many historical precedents; in fact no empire imposed by force or otherwise has ever been without this feature: control of the indigenous by members of their own group.... When power is scarce, a little of it is tempting" (308).

Consider this a teaser for my upcoming review of The Handmaid's Tale.

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