The Handmaid’s Tale and the Age-old Desire to Control Women’s Bodies

Pop Culture

The Handmaid’s Tale and the Age-old Desire to Control Women’s Bodies

Illustration: Akshita Monga

I

n the season two premiere episode of Hulu’s Emmy-winning The Handmaid’s Tale, titled “June”, the show’s creators convey an inescapable dispatch: It’s foolish to isolate the diabolical, gender-hierarchy-based politics of Gilead from our own world.

In the first flashback of the spine-chilling episode, June Osborne (Elisabeth Moss) and her husband Luke Bankole are a portrait of domestic bliss. They live in an America that is not yet sullied by the draconian laws of Gilead, where women are classified by the purpose their bodies can serve for the men who control the country. June still has her job at the publishing house and a bank account. Luke’s biggest worry is having someone pick him some AA batteries, and their eight-year-old daughter Hannah, not yet separated from her parents, just wants more waffles.

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