Women’s rights advocates are finding new, creative ways to protest. Most recently? Dressing up as handmaids from Margaret Atwood’s novel to protest anti-abortion bills.
The popularity of Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale has made a resurgence this year not only on bestseller’s lists and on screen, but also in politics. The dystopian novel paints a world that implements restrictive and puritanical views regarding the place of women in society and, sadly, it has become especially significant in our current political climate. Many parallels have been drawn throughout the last year comparing modern day conservative values to those that are presented in the novel.
“You are seeing a bubbling up of it now,” Atwood said, “It’s back to 17th-century puritan values of new England at that time in which women were pretty low on the hierarchy.” Atwood’s statements specifically focus on moves that have been made recently by the conservative party to restrict access to abortion. She has been very outspoken about women’s rights since Donald Trump took office, showing the uncanny resemblance to the dystopian future that the Republican office at times presents. But Atwood is not the only one who has been outspoken on the issue. Some of her devoted fans and women’s rights advocates have taken to courtroom floors in protest in Texas, Missouri and now, Ohio.
On Tuesday, in Columbus, Ohio, women showed up dressed in “handmaid” garb from the novel to protest Senate Bill 145. The bill, sponsored by Ohio’s Republican party, would ban abortions in the second trimester, making it illegal to obtain an abortion after the first trimester. Protesters argue that the bill would deny women the safe option of a legal abortion and that it puts a decision that should be their own in the hands of politicians (many of whom will never have to make such a difficult decision). In the novel, the handmaids serve as vessels for reproduction who have no say or control over their bodies. While it presents a very extreme case, it serves as a warning that is becoming eerily relevant.
As women get fed up defending their own autonomy, they are finding creative ways to show their discontent with the government and its policies. Additionally, the Handmaid protests have shown us the incredible power that books hold to motivate and enact a movement.
All images courtesy of BBC