Feminist- Natalie Yiu

Feminism as a theory can be very hypocritical and some may disagree with it due to their personal view . However, in our study of The Handmaid's Tale, the lack of feminism is quite evident as the Gilead government brainwashes it's population to have a certain process of thought on women and their roles. Today I would like to dissect the passage named 'historical notes' (371-388 red version) via the lens of a feminist; I am certain many of you will have a very different views as this topic typically encourages many to voice out their own opinions.

Before I list some quotes, I would like to state the first thing that peaked my interest: The gender of the keynote speaker in this passage. The readers are now brought to the future; to an era in which it can be defined as post-Gilead (2195). It is a historical convention where the speakers talk about Gilead society and refer to the handmaid's tale as some sort of a textbook. The main narrator of this passage is Professor Piexoto- a man. This seemed inappropriate to me and I asked myself: why is a man telling the story of a woman and even questioning her credibility? His questioning of Offred's tale can be seen on page 376, when he says, "supposing, then, the tapes to be genuine, what of the nature of the account itself?" He goes on saying that "it could not have been recorded during the period of time it recounts, since if the author is telling the truth, no machine or tapes would have been available to her, nor would she have a place of concealment for them". This seems to me to have been a indirect accusation stating that Offred is a liar which led me to be annoyed as in a way he seemed familiar to the men we have seen in previous chapters. On page 374 he even makes a joke about the underground femaleroad by calling it "The underground frailroad". This simply hit a nerve with me as he related the words female and frail. To me, the women who were courageous enough to break free from Gilead society and go on the underground femaleroad were nowhere near frail. At this point in the passage, his tone seemed mocking and disrespectful to the women who had suffered through many hardships and in that way I can see a relation to his behaviour and the men from the Gilead period; this proves that even with passing time, some men don't change their ridiculous views towards women. Another thing that I saw very clearly through the lens of a feminist is Professor Piexoto's obvious attempt to sort of protect any negative views towards Gilead's anti-feminism ideas. He did so by stating his opinion on page 376,"we must be cautious about passing moral judgment upon the Gileadeans", excusing crimes against women's rights by saying that "Gildean society was under a great deal of pressure, demographic and otherwise". From my point of view, it seemed as though the professor was blaming other factors for the deranged Gileadean ideology and society rather than the deluded men who were actually behind. It was as if Piexoto who is supposed to be from the post-Gildean era was trying to get the audience to sympathize and even pity the Gildean men by basically saying, "it wasn't really their fault, let's try to understand them." But why try to understand monsters who don't believe in gender equality?

My views on Piexoto in this post is quite obvious, what is yours? Do you believe he is in a way similar to gildean men/anti-feminist?

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