Monday, November 12, 2012

"Nolite te bastardes carborundorum"

I ran this post at Romance Books 4 Us the other day. Even though the election is over (Congratulations, Mr. President!), I wanted to repeat it here.


Translated, the title of my post means - "Don't let the bastards grind you down."

It's one of the many memorable lines in Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale.

Of course, those of you who've read this amazing book know that already. For those of you who don't...

I have to confess, I'd never read the story until a few weeks ago. I'd seen the movie, renting it from one of the video stores a few years back. It all seemed too weird, and I dismissed it.

Then came my increasing worry about what is popularly called this country's War on Women. The election added to my concern. While reading the comments on the major newsites, I came across several that mentioned The Handmaid's Tale - that we're headed for that kind of government here. I decided to get it.

Its parallels to what happens in patriarchal societies was chilling. More disturbing is what I continue to see happening in our country. Women's rights being questioned and challenged - as if that should even be a possibility. Women still being treated like second-class citizens in many ways. Just listen to what male politicians say on a daily basis.

Having recalled a part of the story from the film, I knew there would be violence in the book. However, the scene that literally took my breath away was when the heroine Offred (literally Of Fred - Fred being the guy who owned her now) couldn't take any money from her bank account. At that point in the story, the theocratic government hadn't taken over. The US was still supposedly a republic, even though the Constitution had been suspended because of purported terrorist attacks that killed the President and members of Congress. Offred calls the bank; she tries to get answers. That evening she learns that a law has been passed that women no longer have the right to their own money. If they needed any money, they must ask a male relative for it.

I felt myself shaking as I continued reading. Not in fear, in anger.

With lightning speed, other rights are taken away, one of which is the right for women to read. One of the male characters muses about education for females, then states, "We won't be making that mistake again."

Every woman needs to read this book - for herself, her mother, sisters, aunts, daughters, granddaughters. History has shown that freedoms fought for are often lost. What seems impossible today can become reality tomorrow.

We can't let that happen to us.

Tina Donahue


Fiona McGier said...

Tina, I commented there and I'll say the same thing here. Atwood is uncanny at looking around at the world situation and imagining where it could head to, when she creates her dystopic novels. My husband used to laugh at me when I said that women had to continue to be vigilant lest we lose the rights we fought so hard for. After this last election, he's not laughing anymore.

If you are against what Europeans call "Frankenfood", the genetically-altered food-like substances that are producing such negative responses from our bodies, read "Oryx and Crake", by Atwood. The sequel, "After the Flood", just came out a couple of years ago.

Her writing style is very wordy, but her stories are excellent. And prescient...unfortunately they appear to be all-too-possible.

Tina Donahue said...

Just finished Oryx and Crake and After the Flood. Even more disturbing than the Frakenfood is Crake's creating perfect beings - 'floor models' - so that childless couples and choose what they want in their babies, not to mention Atwood's depiction of a world run solely for corporate interests. Scary stuff that we're on the path to right now.

Stormie Kent said...

I will definitely be picking this up. This election season and the events following it have opened people's eyes to things many"alarmists" have been saying for a while. There are all types of ways to twist laws, rules and statutes. None of us are free unless we are ALL free. Women come in every color, religion and sexual orientation.

Tina Donahue said...

This election season scared the crap out of me. I was stunned that in this day and age anyone would spout such antiwoman crap as some of the candidates did. I learned a valuable lesson though. It's not going away. Women have to be ever vigilant and always fight for our rights.