10 times The Handmaid’s Tale got way too real

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The Handmaid’s Tale — “Faithful” — Episode 105 — Serena Joy makes Offred a surprising proposition. Offred remembers the unconventional beginnings of her relationship with her husband. Offred (Elisabeth Moss) and Commander Waterford (Joseph Fiennes), shown. (Photo by: George Kraychyk/Hulu)

The magazine quiz

The magazine Waterford gives June in Episode 5 is in good shape. Still shiny, put together. It’s not old. It’s only a few years old, at best. Things can just change that quickly, it seems. I’ve seen magazine quizzes like that; even read them in waiting rooms or in the bathroom.

They’re silly, I know, and I don’t especially enjoy them. I’m not sure June did either. Heck, I’ve even been on the side of condemning those types of magazines for how they portrayed women as objects, or photoshopped skinny models to be idolized in all the wrong ways. That seems to be the argument Waterford is going for here when he dismisses women’s former freedoms and calls their lives improved now, sort of.

How quickly our own arguments turn, distended, against us. He instead turns it too far the other way, by totally removing the objectification for a new objectification. Removing one form of sexism replaces it with another, even more horrifying form. No one wanted their problems to be “solved” by a bunch of self-righteous, bigoted men with guns.