Atwood’s Sexual Dystopia for Women

What happens in a world where women are valued only for their bodies? A tyrannical and authoritarian society is created that destroys all the power, independence, and control women have over their lives by forcing them into an unending cycle of sexual assault. Not really, but it could happen according to Margaret Atwood. Even though this seems a tad extreme, especially after the great leaps women made during the twentieth century, Atwood saw it as a possible reality with the way women were treated in the world. After becoming fed up with the unending sexual dystopia for women in the 1980s, Atwood decided to take a stand against sexual inequality and discrimination by writing her novel, “The Handmaid’s Tale.” The most significant issues of the time were centered on the social identity and political power of women in the real world. The widespread expectation of women to become moms and the severe lack of regulation over rape cases during the 1980s inspired Atwood to construct a world where injustices of these two issues would be exposed. She believed that the isolation of women as mothers caused women to lose a sense of identity and the exploitation of the female body through rape caused women to lose a sense of power. Anyone who doesn’t loses both their identity and sense of power cannot live a fulfilling and meaningful life and Atwood shows how this becomes a harsh reality when women are subject to sexual abuse. handmaids-tale


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