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(9,190 posts)
Fri May 13, 2022, 08:45 PM May 2022

Margaret Atwood: "I Invented Gilead. The Supreme Court is Making it Real" [View all]


In the fictional theocracy of Gilead, women had very few rights, as in 17th-century New England. The Bible was cherry-picked, with the cherries being interpreted literally. Based on the reproductive arrangements in Genesis—specifically, those of the family of Jacob—the wives of high-ranking patriarchs could have female slaves, or “handmaids,” and those wives could tell their husbands to have children by the handmaids and then claim the children as theirs.

Although I eventually completed this novel and called it The Handmaid’s Tale, I stopped writing it several times, because I considered it too far-fetched. Silly me. Theocratic dictatorships do not lie only in the distant past: There are a number of them on the planet today. What is to prevent the United States from becoming one of them?

For instance: It is now the middle of 2022, and we have just been shown a leaked opinion of the Supreme Court of the United States that would overthrow settled law of 50 years on the grounds that abortion is not mentioned in the Constitution, and is not “deeply rooted” in our “history and tradition.” True enough. The Constitution has nothing to say about women’s reproductive health. But the original document does not mention women at all.

Women were deliberately excluded from the franchise. Although one of the slogans of the Revolutionary War of 1776 was “No taxation without representation,” and government by consent of the governed was also held to be a good thing, women were not to be represented or governed by their own consent—only by proxy, through their fathers or husbands. Women could neither consent nor withhold consent, because they could not vote. That remained the case until 1920, when the Nineteenth Amendment was ratified, an amendment that many strongly opposed as being against the original Constitution. As it was.

Women were nonpersons in U.S. law for a lot longer than they have been persons. If we start overthrowing settled law using Justice Samuel Alito’s justifications, why not repeal votes for women? . . .
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Scary shit. Joinfortmill May 2022 #1
Very much so MustLoveBeagles May 2022 #2
Maybe Alito is turned on by the way women were abused in the Hand Maid? Baitball Blogger May 2022 #3
Totally makes no sense that the Biden administration is not allowed to have a general mask mandate halfulglas May 2022 #4
K&R Solly Mack May 2022 #5
K&R...this is must read Docreed2003 May 2022 #6
K&R UTUSN May 2022 #7
K and R Ferrets are Cool May 2022 #8
I thought it strange evemac May 2022 #9
I actually heard some dude calling in on a radio talk show calimary May 2022 #10
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