Hulu's adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale is a dystopian thriller in which a Christian theocracy overthrows the US government and forces fertile women to bear children for high-ranking government officials. It’s a premise that, reviewer Beth Elderkin notes, men find imaginative or improbable and women see as chillingly real.
“We’re afraid of our power being taken away,” Elderkin says in Episode 263 of the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxypodcast. “That’s something that’s happened over and over again for thousands of years—women’s power has been taken away, largely by men, who don’t understand, or don’t want to understand, what we’re capable of.”
Writer Sara Lynn Micheneragrees that the show hits close to home. She says that’s no coincidence, since Atwood based everything in the story on real historical events.
“It is not irrational for us to fear this, given that these are things that you can find in other cultures, or in our culture in different periods, or in our culture in the present,” she says.
Michener, who was raised by conservative Christians, wishes more people from that community would watch The Handmaid’s Tale, which she thinks might cause them to question some of their more extreme views.
“If anything can slip through it’s going to be the art,” she says. “Because the rhetoric is already so divisive the stories are the thing that really have the power to penetrate those ideologies.”