TV with a Prof – The Handmaid’s Tale
An autocracy, patriarchy, and dystopian world, oh my! 30+ students experienced all of this during this semester’s first TV with a Prof, The Handmaid’s Tale presented by Dr. Zach Owens. The Hulu series adapted from Margaret Atwood’s book of the same title written in 1985 has recently been nominated for 13 Emmy’s and received a Metacritic score of 92 out of 100. Hulu summarizes the show as, “Adapted from the classic novel by Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale is the story of life in the dystopia of Gilead, a totalitarian society in what was formerly the United States. Facing environmental disasters and a plunging birthrate, Gilead is ruled by a twisted fundamentalism in its militarized ‘return to traditional values.’ As one of the few remaining fertile women, Offred (Elisabeth Moss) is a Handmaid in the Commander’s household, one of the caste of women forced into sexual servitude as a last desperate attempt to repopulate the world. In this terrifying society, Offred must navigate between Commanders, their cruel Wives, domestic Marthas, and her fellow Handmaids – where anyone could be a spy for Gilead – all with one goal: to survive and find the daughter that was taken from her.”
The TV with a Prof showed the pilot episode followed by a discussion afterwards led by Dr. Owens. Dr. Zachary Owens is a sociology professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder who specializes in the research areas of sexual identity formation and management, homophobia, and masculinities. He had several guiding questions that compelled us to consider whether the situation in Gilead could ever be a real possibility, or if Offred made the right decisions in dealing with the Commander and his wife. Over pizza and brownies, we discussed the fate of her daughter, husband, and best friend, all of whom were taken from her. It was a sombre, yet thought provoking evening with fruitful discussion from many different participants. Thank you to everyone who came, and we look forward to seeing you at the next TV with a Prof!