Distorted and Victimized Lives of Women in Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid's Tale

Victor Vinoth. V, Vijayakumar M


This study intends to evaluate Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale from the viewpoint of feminist theorist Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex, which offers a more nuanced perspective on sexuality and gender. Beauvoir's philosophy centres on the societal systems of oppression that designate women as ‘Other’ to a male reputation. According to her, femininity is something that society imposes on women, and feminism cannot be reduced to a basic biological statement. According to her, ‘Other’ best reflects the primary social function of a woman. She disputes the vocabulary that defines women based on their biology and asserts that biology is the primary cause of women's subjugation in patriarchal societies. She believes that sexuality contributes to the subjugation and exploitation of women. According to Beauvoir, the prostitution business and the heterosexual lifestyle are the two most visible instances of women's exploitation. Clearly, she rejects the notion that heterosexuality is the norm in sexual encounters. The purpose of this article is to demonstrate how Atwood employs conjecture to examine feminist issues in The Handmaid's Tale, such as women's identity loss, subordination in a patriarchal society, and exploitation in a consumer culture where the female body is considered an object. In her novel, Atwood examines issues pertaining to the subjugation of women, such as gender inequality and the flaws of the patriarchal system.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.11114/smc.v11i1.5752


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