The ‘Squad’ is a powerful feminist blow to the Patriarchal world, and an equally potent one is Elizabeth Moss’ The Handmaid’s Tale
‘The Handmaid’s Tale,’ upon its release, shocked one and all. The uncomfortable story of a dystopian world wherein women were stripped of all rights, and racism and sexism in the guise of conservatism were the new normal. It opened a caveat of conversations none thought were necessary, especially in the United States of America, a free nation known to embrace all. But the United States of America harbors a secret, a dark one.
- Elisabeth Moss brought the character of Jule Osborne to life on the screen version of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’
- In an old interview, the actress stated how Trump’s America is turning eerily like the dystopia of the show
- The uncanny similarities between the
The intricacy of racism. It was only in the mid-20th century that racism became an unacceptable trait, morally as well as socially. Even then, minorities still face systemic discrimination, whether in terms of social capital or education. Now combine this with gender discrimination, unmissable collateral of our inherently patriarchal society.
Literature and art have always had their ways of sending warning signs to society, the consequences if we let bias go unchecked. ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ is a stark forecast of the future is we fail to stop these issues and they become the new norm. The show’s dystopian and disgusting future is exactly what a group of strong young women politicians in the US has set out to fight off. In the process of being solidified in pop culture as the ‘Squad’, Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib, and Ilhan Omar are trying to ensure that the dangerous conservatism and patriarchal white supremacy coming into fashion during the Republican government of Donald Trump does not end up in a future that looks like The Handmaid’s Tale.
The Handmaid’s Tale and a ghastly future normal
“I know this must feel so strange, but ordinary is just what you’re used to. This may not be ordinary to you now, but after a time it will. This will become ordinary.”Aunt Lydia, The Handmaid’s Tale
Aunt Lydia is perhaps the most terrifying character on the show. She is a woman molded hard in the patriarchal, biblical mindset. So convinced of her gender’s misconceived virtues that she cannot stop propagating it. This is the scary part, wherein you repeat a task so often that it becomes the new ordinary, the new normal. In Donald Trump’s regime, when his supporters see him speaking ill of races and gender so often, it suddenly becomes okay to not be politically correct. To emulate his post-truth ideology.
Elisabeth Moss, who played the main character of June Osborne, opened up on the issue in an interview with The Guardian, back in 2018. It was in response to Donald Trump’s suggestion of arming teachers in the wake of the Parkland School Shootings. Moss said,
“When I heard that, I got chills. Because I’m on set with a man pretending to hold a machine gun, in a situation that he just shouldn’t have one in.”
In the book, Margaret calls it the new normal. It’s a line that Aunt Lydia says – this will all be normal to you one day. That’s scary to me. I hate hearing that someone couldn’t watch it because it was too scary. Not because I care about whether or not they watch my TV show; but I’m like, ‘Really? You don’t have the balls to watch a TV show? This is happening in real life. Wake up, people. Wake up,’” she adds.
Preventing Trump’s Sexism from becoming the new normal
When Donald Trump said that he’d “grabbed a woman by her p*ssy”, there were people who cheered. When he called a renowned American journalist dumb and crazy and thought it fit to criticize her appearance, many cheered again.
None objected to the fact that if you wish to take down a woman, criticize her thoughts if you find it problematic, not her body. There was acceptance in the jeers as well as the silence.
Then came ‘The Squad’
Newton’s laws matter beyond physics – Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. When Trump went ranting about the incompetence of the second sex, four women of color entered the arena. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib, and Ilhan Omar were everything that is a Republican’s nightmare. They are women of color, cultured, educated, empowered, fiery, and fearless. The Squad turned the whole conversation on its head. ‘The Squad’ is here to make sure that the world of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ does not become the new ordinary, that racism and sexism are nipped once and for all.
When Donald Trump directed his vitriol towards them, they weren’t caught off guard. Balanced and well-prepared, the Squad hit back.
As expected, Donald Trump smugly swept their concerns below the carpet and shunned their quotes and statistics. All he could see was the fact that they were women, and of color. The sexism and racism flared, and he did what he does best, tweeted that if they are unhappy, they should go back to where they came from.
Criticism of the government is not inversely proportionate to the respect for the country. However, it’s tough to explain that to a government and its supporters when their whole campaign is built on faux nationalism.
The Squad – Smashing the ‘normal’ to smithereens
Soon after this racially-triggering tweet that had even the most veteran Republicans squirming, the congresswomen hit back. They knew that to let it pass by would be to allow it to become the new normal. It would be bringing a fictional tale of dystopia coming to life, a la ‘The Handmaid’s Tale.’ And so, they stood, together, hand in hand, and turned to give Trump and team a taste of their own medicine; payback.
“I want to tell children across this country is that no matter what the President says, this country belongs to you, and it belongs to everyone, and today that notion, that very notion was challenged.”Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortex
Ilhan Omar went on to condemn the blatant racist attack on the duly elected representatives. She minced no words when she said, “This is the agenda of white nationalists, whether it is happening in chat rooms or it’s happening on national TV, and now it’s reached the White House garden.”
“You might have noticed how when he said go back to where you came from there was an uproar through all of our communities, because every single person who is brown or black, at some point in their life in this country, heard that,” Omar added.
Watch: Trump vs The Squad
The Squad, the four congresswomen therein, has emerged as a new face against the systemic sexism and racism that threatens to reverse the moral progress of America at every juncture. Did ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ inspire that? There will never be an answer to that question specifically. But ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ surely depicted a real danger which this resurgence of feminism by ‘The Squad’ managed to thwart. The dystopia of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ will never come true as far as hope in the form of the ‘Squad’ sustains.