Fuck yeah feminist reading group returns

The F Collection is a blog project by F that highlights a feminist or women’s rights campaign, group or issue on Mondays. We’ve been a little disorganised lately, but please accept our humble (read wonderful) offering today. We have a guest post from a book group attendee who wishes to remain anonymous. Read on!

Bummed you missed f’s first reading group? Never fear, we’re having another one on 8 September. An executive decision was made to read The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. So, read the fucking book will you? And before you get all huffy the book is about a totalitarian government so I feel my tone is appropriate.

The Handmaid’s Tale is one of those feminist classics that I’ve been *meaning* to read for some time. Part of the reason I love the idea of this book club is that it encourages me to read books I’ve been intending to read. Full disclosure: I have not finished reading it yet so I may rely heavily on Wikipedia and anecdotes for this post.

The Handmaid’s Tale is a dystopian novel written by Atwood in 1985 which addresses the backlash against feminism. The novel is set in the close future in the Republic of Gilead, a state created within the perimeters of what was previously the United States of America. It was established by a ‘racist, homophobic, male chauvinist, nativist, theocratic-organized military coup.’

The Republic of Gilead has ruthless policies with regards to women, which shapes the main theme of the novel. In Gilead women are prohibited from reading, and are divided into a highly structured class system in which their sexuality is strictly governed in order to serve the government’s procreative agenda. Scary amirite?

Atwood wanted to show that fundamentalist totalitarianism might occur as a result of extremist views. The reason she wrote the novel can be summed up by a quote of Atwood’s, “This is a book about what happens when certain casually held attitudes about women are taken to their logical conclusions.” She derides people who speak of traditional values and those who advocate women get back into the kitchen.

The Handmaid’s Tale explores the subjugation of women and the variety of ways they achieve autonomy and is also a critique of modern religious movements, particularly Christianity in the US.

Hope to see you at the reading group. I might even bring my own home-made baked goods.*

8 September, 1pm-3pm, Victoria Park near Broadway, Toby’s Estate cafe on City Rd if it’s raining.

Now, you should be able to get a copy second hand or from the library pretty easy, but if you can’t, email Meg on megan dot clementcouzner [at] gmail dot com or facebook f  and we’ll sort you out.


P.S. If you need some pepping up after the starkness that is The Handmaid’s Tale I suggest the feminist utopian novel Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy. It’s like my feminist heaven: free-loving, hippie-esque, commune style feminist heaven.

Featured image from Fee’s Flickr.

In post image from Smite Me’s Flickr, thanks to both of these folks for using Creative Commons license.


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