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Margaret Atwood on how Trump supporters are making The Handmaid’s Tale a reality

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Kayleigh Dray
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From shockingly biased rape trials, to outdated abortion laws, to Donald Trump’s horrifying “grab them by the pussy” comments, misogyny seems more rife than ever before.

And for Margaret Atwood, who famously penned The Handmaid’s Tale, it marks a frightening new chapter in our lives.

Could we be on the cusp of a real-life Gilead?



For those who haven’t read her famous feminist sci-fi novel, Gilead is the name of a terrifying society formerly known as the United States of America.

The totalitarian state, following a series of environmental disasters and plunging birth rates, has annexed women as property of the state – and forced them into sexual servitude in a bid to repopulate a devastated world.

Speaking in a new interview with The Guardian, Atwood mentioned a pair of maps that recently went viral on social media; one shows how the US would look if only men voted, coloured almost entirely in red to represent their affinity for Republican candidate Donald Trump.

The other shows how the US would look if only women voted: almost entirely blue, aka the colour of Hillary Clinton, the Democratic's candidate. 

Atwood said: “It spawned a hashtag called #Repealthe19th. The 19th Amendment is what gave women the vote. So there are Trump supporters who want to take the vote away from women.

The Handmaid’s Tale [is] unfolding in front of your very eyes.”



The celebrated author went on to explain that, when The Handmaid’s Tale was published, many began to wonder how long they had until the events described by her main character, Offred, would come to pass.

 “Apparently, not as long as I thought,” she said, adding: “With any cultural change there is a push and a pushback. Trump has brought out a huge pushback that was originally against immigrants.

“Now it has shifted to being very misogynistic, partly because of Hillary Clinton. You have not seen anything like this since the 17th-century witchhunts, quite frankly.”

Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood

“I tell you this,” she continued. “Hillary Clinton is a better man than Trump. She has more connection to the traditional male virtues.

“She has comported herself in a much more manly fashion. Ask any real alpha males that you’ll know and they’ll say of Trump, ‘This is the guy we didn’t like at school because he was a bully, but as soon as anyone pushed back at him he started to whine.’”

It seems oddly timely, then, that Atwood’s novel is being brought to our television screens in an all-star adaptation.



Elisabeth Moss (who played Peggy Olson on Mad Men) is set to take the lead in the Hulu series as Offred, one of Gilead’s few remaining fertile women. As a result of her reproductive status, she finds herself forced into the role of a ‘Handmaid’, where her goal is simple; to produce a baby for The Commander (Joseph Fiennes), or be sent to work – and die – in the radioactive colonies.

She will be joined by Orange Is The New Black’s Samira Wiley, Dexter’s Yvonne Strahovski, British actor O-T Fagbenle, and more.

Craig Erwich, the Head of Content at Hulu, said: “Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale was seen as ahead of its time and we look forward to bringing it to life on our platform.”

The 10-part series, created and written by Bruce Miller, begins filming in Toronto this autumn and is expected to premiere in 2017 on Hulu.

And, with Atwood on board as a consulting producer, it seems safe to say that her masterpiece is in very good hands.

You can read Margaret Atwood's full interview on the modern-day dystopia in The Guardian.

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of Stylist.co.uk, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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