top of page

We Can Do So Much Better Than Spread Handmaid’s Tale Memes

To all those who care about women’s rights, I have a favor to ask: Please stop spreading The Handmaid’s Tale memes. You know, those ones where women are dressed up in burgundy frocks and white bonnets that hide their faces? Although I admire Margaret Atwood’s brilliant novel, the last thing we need in the world are more images of women who are oppressed.

A Simple Deconstruction

In The Handmaid’s Tale memes (and similar live protests) women are shrouded in nun-like costumes designed to strip them of their individuality, their sexuality, and their free will. They are grouped together with other voiceless women whose sole purpose is to produce babies. The Handmaids are a symbol of oppressed women subjugated by a white male ruling class and the contemptible women who enable them.

It’s obvious that (almost) everyone sharing these memes doesn’t agree with the novel’s dystopian theme. Some mean to bring levity to a serious topic (which, btw, isn’t funny). And we all get the “f*ck you” irony here within the context of a cautionary tale.

But we are well past the point of caution now.

This moment in history is unleashing a cacophony of protest because we all know what we’re facing with the SCOTUS leak. Yes, we need to emphasize why outlawing abortion is only going to harm more women, and ultimately society as a whole. But before we adopt the banner of the “oppressed woman” yet again, I think it’s worth remembering that the “oppressors” who aim to overturn Roe v Wade are actually a weak minority.

A False Power

Of the presumed majority of the Justices who are hellbent on overturning Roe v Wade, all but one were appointed by a president who lost the popular vote. Gorsuch and Coney Barrett were crammed onto the bench in an overt and hypocritical power grab, while Kavanaugh cried his way into a seat (as is fitting for a spoiled frat boy who can’t see past his privilege). Both he and Clarence Thomas squeaked through despite having a serious problem in the “respecting women” department.

Every last one of these “majority” Justices, Alito included, would make a believable character if they were cast in The Handmaid’s Tale TV series.

All this is to say that the power SCOTUS holds lacks integrity and is questionable at its core. The current majority Justices are hardly representative of America. The White, Christian traditionalist “majority” know their days are numbered and their displays of dominance reflect their desperation to remain in control by cheating, lying, extreme gerrymandering and who knows what else that has yet to be revealed. 

So let’s remember that whatever “majority” opinion comes out on a Roe v Wade reversal will be akin to the inhabitants of a sinking island putting up flimsy hurricane shutters in advance of the storm.