Mel and Loribeth* have both written about The Handmaid’s Tale, and over the weekend I did too, on A Separate Life – They can’t do that, can they? I was surprised by the level of rage and distress I felt over both the book (which I hadn’t read before) and especially the TV series, at the same time being delighted that it had been written/made so brilliantly. Initially, when I knew it was based around a story of fertility/infertility, I was a little put off. But afterwards, analysing my thoughts about it, I realised that my reactions were and are not influenced by the infertility angle, although admittedly I felt a few twinges about some of the nuances of the monthly-waiting, the questions being asked, the blame of not conceiving, the feelings of the infertile Wives, and my tribe of the unseen and rarely spoken of “Non-Women,” who are mentioned in the book but I am not sure they’re mentioned in the series.
Ultimately though, I have concluded that my strong reaction to The Handmaid’s Tale is all about feminism, and women’s status in society being reduced to their bodies. I think too this is why I continue to write, to defend the position of women without children, to talk about our legitimate but frequently invisible place in society, simply because we haven't produced children. Feminism is perhaps why I feel these injustices and ignorance so strongly, as along with the very personal context I have with infertility and life without children, I also view them in a much broader social context. Feminism is, after all, just about equality and justice, and surely that's what we all want?