Feminist - Renata Garcia de Leon

To summarize what happens in the passage “Losing her Job” in The Handmaid's Tale, Offred is having another one of her flash back to a time before handmaid's came into existence. In this particular flashback we see through Offred's perspective the day that everything changed , starting off with women losing their jobs to men. We as well see the difference of equality for women before the age of inequality in Gilead, and how even in the early stages of the ruling male government invasion, the primary aspect of what the women had taken away or are made to think have already shaped.
Control over sex “The pornomarts were shut, though and there were no longer any Feels on Wheels vans and bun-dle buggies circling the square.”(pg.218), through the taking away of the sexual industries, the government takes away sex and the right for women to do as they please with their bodies. Going into an era where only the privileged men or handmaiden's are able to have sex, only for reproductive purposes.

The Control of clothing and knowledge As seen throughout the book, a demonstration of the power that the government has over women and the inequality shown is seen through their clothing. The red dresses and the covered faces, the mere fact that women are no longer able to dress as they please as they did before. Seen in the passage when Ofred describes the attire she used to dress her daughter in:“Luke had driven her off to school in the little outfit I'd bought her just a couple of weeks before, striped overalls and a blue t-shirt”(pg.218), showing the difference of a time when women were given the right to dress as they pleased and how that right was taken away. The restriction of knowledge, knowledge being power, was taken away by the government; seeing as this right was still in contact before the male government regime, through the fact that Ofred worked in a library and her daughter went to school.

Self-Blame Even from before the handmaids and inequality truly dictated the republic of Gilead, Ofred gets a sense of that blame that throughout the book is often seen to be taught to the handmaidens, for example when they are taught that being raped is their fault. We see this feeling of self-blame when she isn't able to pay for her cigarettes due to the fact that her money isn't accepted in the shop she usually goes to. Describing her feelings at the moment:“Still, Iwas angry, as if I'd been unjustly accused of something Ididn't even know about. As if I'd made the mistake myself.”(pg.219). She senses this injustice and gets a feel to the fact that something deeply wrong is happening and even feels as though sheis responsible for this injustice. In fact there being no real reason for being treated unequally. Which is exactly what the government wants, this creating more control over the women to the men in government. This sense of responsibility for an injustice that is happening to her happens again, when she is being “let go” by her employer who seems hysterical in trying to get all the women out of the office, blaming it on the fact that it is the law. Leaving Ofred and the other women thinking: “We looked at one another's faces and saw dismay, and a certain shame as if we'd been caught doing something we shouldn't.”(pg.222), although the government had not yet sent the women to the aunts or red center to be sculpted into the perfect reproductive machines , they already start to believe that what is happening to them in a sense is their fault , which is of course not true. The women all looked upon this injustice and think: “What was it about this that made us feel we deserved it?”(pg.222), Truly showing to what extent this inequality goes, having rights taken away for no good reason and made to believe that the only reason there could be was because they were doing wrong and were somehow to blame.

DehumanizationWhen the employer of the various women in the office was “letting them go”, Ofred catches the fact he is treating them as though they were animals,being let go:“I have to let you go, he said. It's the law, Ihave to. I have to let you all go. He said this almost gently, as if we were wild animals, frogs he'd caught, in a jar, as if he were being humane.”(pg.221), Her notice of this sense of dehumanization really demonstrates the fact that this is something that hasn't happened often before and she feels the need to point it out as though it is something unfamiliar. Although later in the book we don't see this as much because she is used to this sense of ridiculing and dehumanizing aspect of her life.

More pages