Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale (2017–) resonates strongly as an allegorical, science-fictional response to the Trump administration. The show refuses to accept the “new normal” as normal and acknowledges its audience's simultaneous feelings of resistance and exhaustion. The program ultimately argues that, while hope alone is not enough to sustain anyone through the Trump years, it is the right place to start. Above all, the program points to the power of collective resistance. As Americans face down a fascist president, as they contend with babies torn from their mother's bosoms at the border, as they confront a powerful resurgence in White Nationalist activism, the country has perhaps never felt more divided, or threatened. And yet the only way to defeat Trumpism is by standing together and collectively pushing back. The Handmaid's Tale may not show viewers exactly how to do that, but it does show its audience exactly what it would feel like.
The Handmaid's Tale as Ustopian Allegory: “Stars and Stripes Forever, Baby”
Heather Hendershot is professor of Comparative Media Studies at MIT. She is the editor of Nickelodeon Nation: The History, Politics and Economics of America's Only Channel for Kids (New York University Press, 2004) and the author of Saturday Morning Censors: Television Regulation before the V-Chip (Duke University Press, 1999), Shaking the World for Jesus: Media and Conservative Evangelical Culture (University of Chicago Press, 2010), What's Fair on the Air? Cold War Right-Wing Broadcasting and the Public Interest (University of Chicago Press, 2011), and Open to Debate: How William F. Buckley Put Liberal America on the Firing Line (Broadside Books, 2016).
Heather Hendershot; The Handmaid's Tale as Ustopian Allegory: “Stars and Stripes Forever, Baby”. Film Quarterly 1 September 2018; 72 (1): 13–25. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/fq.2018.72.1.13
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