Handmaids Down Under

Quokkas, I really enjoyed The Handmaid’s Tale. Both book and (2017) adaptation. (The ’80s movie is streaming on Stan – do we need a liveblog? Maybe we need a liveblog. But we’ll also need wine. I mean, I’ll need wine.)

One of the things I enjoyed is that, like a lot of Canadian science fiction — sorry, Margaret Atwood, speculative fiction — it leaves space in its worldbuilding for the rest of the world to exist. Even within the narrow confines of book!Offred’s perspective, we know that Japanese tourism and gender relations maintain the current status quo, or something close to it, and the wider perspective of the Hulu series gives us glimpses of Canada and Mexico.

Sometimes I wonder what that kind of extreme patriarchal dystopia would look like in Australia, given that we were colonised by Georgians and Victorians instead of Puritans.

And other times I wonder, well, while the USA has collapsed and Gilead has formed out of its ashes, what’s happening back home?


Here are some thoughts.

  • For no reason in particular, refugees from America, especially white women, are treated really well, so strange, no one can account for it.
  • Especially if they’re fertile.
  • Officially the fertility crisis has been caused by disease and pollution, but some brave Liberal Party MPs have had the courage to ask … what if it’s because we’re not burning enough coal????
  • Look, I think we know exactly which parties’ voters set up the local chapter of the Sons of Jacob.
  • They’re not sexist, though, ‘cos they still love Pauline Hanson.
  • Mark Latham totally joins up, but he gets kicked out after he starts a punch up
  • Obviously Australia’s not officially adopting the Handmaid system, just like we’re not officially importing Handmaids from the former US.
  • Having said that, SCEGGS has been converted into a Rachel and Leah Center Centre, and Aunt Miranda and Aunt Helen have their cattle prods charged and ready.
  • I was going to make a joke about Aussie Handmaids wearing cork hats instead of Puritan bonnets, but Stephanie told me that millennials sustainable wine consumers have killed the cork industry.
  • The Liberal Party is still pushing a plebiscite on marriage equality, but first they have to make it illegal for queer people to read and write.
  • The Greens have been predicting the end of the ANZUS treaty for years. At this point, the treaty has outlasted the United States. New Zealand keeps going, “Um, guys?”
  • Everything is fine in New Zealand, except that they have too many feijoas and they’re drowning in surplus L&P.
  • Mamamia publishes an article about how empowering it is to be a Handmaid.
  • The writer is not paid.