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EC Amber

Mrs. Waterford: The gender traitor

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It's a testament to the excellent acting that one finds themselves repulsed and angry by the Commander's Wife... and then feel a twinge of sympathy that she created her own gilded cage. That she helped craft the mass production of that cage so that all women were forced into them erases all but the most entrenched sense of sorrow for the bitter landscape it's become. 

I have to admit, I was skeptical about the casting, but Yvonne Strahovski has really taken hold of that part and owns it. 

And this is just my opinion, but I see a little bit of a parallel between her and Melania Trump - beautiful and powerful and traded in being authentic living for a life of abuse. They both misjudged the value of wealth, power and comfort for autonomy. YMMV. 

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There is no comparison to Melania in my opinion, a trophy 3rd "wife" model, 3rd wife with fake college credentials doesn't compare to someone who actually led in the political arena and wrote her own books.  As Tara says in her excellent recap, Serena Joy is much more like

Quote

But it should also be required viewing for Tomi Lahren and Michelle Malkin and Laura Ingraham and Kellyanne Conway and Sarah Huckabee Sanders and even Sarah fucking Palin so that they can maybe start to get the tiniest inkling of what the political philosophy they espouse and promote actually has as its endgame.

 

http://previously.tv/the-handmaids-tale/is-the-handmaids-tale-trying-to-make-us-empathize-with-a-wife/

The actress is doing an amazing job with the role, actually everyone on the show is simply killing this.  I don't know if I would call it sympathy for her, at least not for me.  While she obviously deserves every single thing that is happening to her since she helped engineer it and has made life so very miserable for millions of people, I do feel that she is certainly paying for that.  Her comeuppance is both disturbing and satisfying.

However, as a woman myself?  She holds the very best position a woman can hold in Gilead, and it's horrible, awful, and completely devastating.  Even though it's easy to hate her, love seeing her hoisted by her own petard and all of that?  It's still sickening that even the best possible situation for any women is ... her life. 

The actress though is simply amazing for being able to make me understand exactly how her life feels now as opposed to then.  She enriches this already amazing cast.

Edited by Umbelina
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56 minutes ago, Umbelina said:

The actress is doing an amazing job with the role, actually everyone on the show is simply killing this.  I don't know if I would call it sympathy for her, at least not for me.  While she obviously deserves every single thing that is happening to her since she helped engineer it and has made life so very miserable for millions of people, I do feel that she is certainly paying for that.  Her comeuppance is both disturbing and satisfying.

Karma is a bitch and Serena Joy is certainly getting a dose of that now. IMO she and her husband deserve so, so much more. Either by outside forces, such as they get captured by the resistance, or even sweeter, they are done in by the government and ideology they helped create. I could really see the second happening, I think Freddy and Serena think right now they above reproach but I don't think anyone is really safe in Gilead. Though both should've thought about it when they helped create an oppressive Regime, but it will give me some evil joy if that same Regime has them hanging on the wall by the river before all is said and done.

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I had started this thread before seeing the last episode and yes I can absolutely see what you mean. 

I got the impression that she was the *only* woman on the project? And given her husbands reluctance (assuming it was sincere), I suspect she was also the passion for him as well? 

But I still see a similarity between the two women. They are both reduced by their spouse, their marginalization is normalized for anyone to see. And so is the humiliation. 

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On 5/17/2017 at 2:54 PM, Umbelina said:

There is no comparison to Melania in my opinion, a trophy 3rd "wife" model, 3rd wife with fake college credentials doesn't compare to someone who actually led in the political arena and wrote her own books.  As Tara says in her excellent recap, Serena Joy is much more like

 

http://previously.tv/the-handmaids-tale/is-the-handmaids-tale-trying-to-make-us-empathize-with-a-wife/

The actress is doing an amazing job with the role, actually everyone on the show is simply killing this.  I don't know if I would call it sympathy for her, at least not for me.  While she obviously deserves every single thing that is happening to her since she helped engineer it and has made life so very miserable for millions of people, I do feel that she is certainly paying for that.  Her comeuppance is both disturbing and satisfying.

However, as a woman myself?  She holds the very best position a woman can hold in Gilead, and it's horrible, awful, and completely devastating.  Even though it's easy to hate her, love seeing her hoisted by her own petard and all of that?  It's still sickening that even the best possible situation for any women is ... her life. 

The actress though is simply amazing for being able to make me understand exactly how her life feels now as opposed to then.  She enriches this already amazing cast.

To the bolded, I'm not so sure about that. Status- and comfort-wise, yes, which is a lot but… She serves no purpose other than ceremonial. In fact, some wives like Serena might even be considered burdonsome by their commanders, because they did hold powerful positions pre-Gilead and must struggle with their roles now. They're pretty much un-Women, just of a different sort. Handmaids are the breeders. Marthas run the homes. Wives…do what exactly? Participate in ritual rape once a month? They've been stripped of whatever they had in their former lives, household tasks are turned over to the Marthas, they're sterile and only a very few of them have a Handmaid's child to raise. In the book, the wives go to endless tea parties, gossip, and knit endlessly, providing hats and scarves to the soldiers on the front. And that's about it. Handmaids have it the worst, but Wives aren't far behind. Marthas probably have it best; it may be drudgery, but it gives them day-to-day purpose.

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If SJ knows that her husband is infertile then I am shocked she has not tried with another man.  She is ok with bending the rules (i.e. smoking, drinking) but having some guy do her to get what she wants is not ok? Then pass the baby off as Fred's?  

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32 minutes ago, greekmom said:

She is ok with bending the rules (i.e. smoking, drinking) but having some guy do her to get what she wants is not ok?

This is a bit tricky, but here's my take: she's a true believer to the core. There is no way she'll break the vows of matrimony and I think she genuinely loves her husband. Like a lot of believers she's ok breaking the little rules but wouldn't break the big rules. I think her devotion to her faith is stronger than her desire to have a child. Not by much, but enough. 

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3 hours ago, greekmom said:

If SJ knows that her husband is infertile then I am shocked she has not tried with another man.  She is ok with bending the rules (i.e. smoking, drinking) but having some guy do her to get what she wants is not ok? Then pass the baby off as Fred's?  

He's not having sex with her, so yeah, explain that little bundle of joy.  Also, she's getting near the end of normal child bearing years, without all the fancy medical intervention that used to be available to women before Gilead?  Good luck with that.

I know she apparently just had sex with him for the first time in ages, which is just another crime she could be killed for BTW.  The odds of that being her fertile time?  Or the danger of running off to Nick or the doctor, they guy she says blackmails people, and saying "impregnate me!"  She's willing to risk Nick and June's lives, not her own. 

Back in the day, she was probably all into the sanctity of marriage, and since she was a pretty powerful and famous woman at the time, who knows if she carefully put off having kids for "a few years" to keep that fame/power going?

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2 hours ago, Umbelina said:

Back in the day, she was probably all into the sanctity of marriage, and since she was a pretty powerful and famous woman at the time, who knows if she carefully put off having kids for "a few years" to keep that fame/power going?

In the flashback she and Fred prayed before having sex that she would get pregnant, and she also told June that they had "tried for a long time". So I don't think she was putting it off, it's just either one or both of them already had fertility issues when they started trying.

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3 hours ago, chocolatine said:

In the flashback she and Fred prayed before having sex that she would get pregnant, and she also told June that they had "tried for a long time". So I don't think she was putting it off, it's just either one or both of them already had fertility issues when they started trying.

I believe she thinks it is Fred. Sure she's doubling down by getting Nick, but if Fred's fertility were 100% not in question then she wouldn't bother opening up the pool. 

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Expanding this to wives and this is pure speculation - but let's say that a wife gets pregnant and not from her husband... does the husband keep the baby and she becomes a handmaid? 

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9 hours ago, EC Amber said:

Expanding this to wives and this is pure speculation - but let's say that a wife gets pregnant and not from her husband... does the husband keep the baby and she becomes a handmaid? 

I think due to pride and the fact that there is such a low birth rate and babies are prized, unless there is hard proof (i.e. caught in the act) the husband would just shut his mouth and accept the child would be accepted as his own. 

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16 hours ago, chocolatine said:

In the flashback she and Fred prayed before having sex that she would get pregnant, and she also told June that they had "tried for a long time". So I don't think she was putting it off, it's just either one or both of them already had fertility issues when they started trying.

I understood the "tried for a long time" line as meaning with other handmaids, never thought she would open up so much about HER private life to June.

I must say that Serena Joy is the character I'm most interested in at this stage. I'm not sure if it's because of the actress, or because the last few episodes lost the "focused on June/Offred internal voice" the first three episodes had, or just that she seems the most complex character to me at this point. The most enigmatic one too. So I want to know more about her.

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1 hour ago, greekmom said:

I think due to pride and the fact that there is such a low birth rate and babies are prized, unless there is hard proof (i.e. caught in the act) the husband would just shut his mouth and accept the child would be accepted as his own.

I was thinking that too. My question came from the idea of a wife cheating creates a vulnerability. If the husband is tired of her or whatever, he can just have her outed... but because she is fertile she wouldn't hang, she'd just get reclassified. 

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12 hours ago, EC Amber said:

I was thinking that too. My question came from the idea of a wife cheating creates a vulnerability. If the husband is tired of her or whatever, he can just have her outed... but because she is fertile she wouldn't hang, she'd just get reclassified. 

DIvorce is illegal, so I don't think a man can easily get rid of a wife. And it wouldn’t be smart to inform on a wife.

 

In the book,

 

Spoiler

The professor tells us that Waterford is purged for, among other crimes, "harboring an enemy agent." So because wives are in the house, they'd likely be in trouble if their wives were criminals.

Edited by NoSpam
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In all honesty, after having read the book a few weeks ago, I pictured SJ to be at least near menopausal age so seeing her younger took the illusion away that it was some bitter older woman hating on these young, fertile women out of jealousy and malice. I do like the actress that plays her though. I believe she did hold onto her faith firmly enough to believe her husband/marriage could overcome the difficult trials of Gilead but much to her dismay she's in it alone. I wish she'd admit she's not as devout as she claims (like Aunt Lydia for example). She has sociopath written all over her face - the type of Stepford wife you could see losing it one day and stabbing her husband to death in his sleep. You reap what you sow Serena Joyless.

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On 6/11/2017 at 11:46 AM, EC Amber said:

Expanding this to wives and this is pure speculation - but let's say that a wife gets pregnant and not from her husband... does the husband keep the baby and she becomes a handmaid? 

i am curious about this too

i mean the men are very hypocrites, and im pretty sure the women are too

i mean most of them no longer have sex with their husbands and im sure they have needs too. 

i think one or two must have sex with the drivers and may gotten pregnant (esp if their husbands were along the problem). i wonder what will happen to them given that the husbands are not supposed to have sex with them? will the husband admit that he had secretly had sex with the wife (and face punishment) or be willing to let everyone knows he has been cuckolded which im pretty sure is actually a death sentence to these narcissistic men. 

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6 hours ago, koganei said:

i am curious about this too

i mean the men are very hypocrites, and im pretty sure the women are too

i mean most of them no longer have sex with their husbands and im sure they have needs too. 

i think one or two must have sex with the drivers and may gotten pregnant (esp if their husbands were along the problem). i wonder what will happen to them given that the husbands are not supposed to have sex with them? will the husband admit that he had secretly had sex with the wife (and face punishment) or be willing to let everyone knows he has been cuckolded which im pretty sure is actually a death sentence to these narcissistic men. 

My guess:

Since the wives are not supposed to be having sexual relationships with their husbands anyway, if one became pregnant it would be clear that the woman (always the woman, mind you!!!  Blech!) would have broken one of the laws.  So, what I would expect would happen is that the woman would carry the child to term and then either be executed or sent to the colonies.  If it could be proven that the husband was the father--which I think would only be a question if the husband willingly admits it, he might be punished in some way, but probably not executed, especially if he was in a position of power.  The child would then be reassigned to another family, just as June's daughter was.

I suppose that it is possible that such a situation could be accepted, but I think it would show too big of a crack in the Gilead system and the woman would have to pay the price.

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2 minutes ago, OtterMommy said:

I suppose that it is possible that such a situation could be accepted, but I think it would show too big of a crack in the Gilead system and the woman would have to pay the price.

I don't think it would be, since it would throw into question the fundamental premise that it's the wives who are barren, and thus the entire Handmaid concept. If a wife did get pregnant, I'm sure both she and her husband would be "disappeared" immediately and the situation kept as quiet as possible.

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On 1/18/2018 at 4:23 PM, OtterMommy said:

My guess:

Since the wives are not supposed to be having sexual relationships with their husbands anyway, if one became pregnant it would be clear that the woman (always the woman, mind you!!!  Blech!) would have broken one of the laws.  So, what I would expect would happen is that the woman would carry the child to term and then either be executed or sent to the colonies.  If it could be proven that the husband was the father--which I think would only be a question if the husband willingly admits it, he might be punished in some way, but probably not executed, especially if he was in a position of power.  The child would then be reassigned to another family, just as June's daughter was.

I suppose that it is possible that such a situation could be accepted, but I think it would show too big of a crack in the Gilead system and the woman would have to pay the price.

 

On 1/18/2018 at 4:29 PM, chocolatine said:

I don't think it would be, since it would throw into question the fundamental premise that it's the wives who are barren, and thus the entire Handmaid concept. If a wife did get pregnant, I'm sure both she and her husband would be "disappeared" immediately and the situation kept as quiet as possible.

Nah, I think if the wife did become pregnant, she would probably try to have sex with her husband to cover. These marriages were pre-Gilead and not arranged, the spouses still are sexually attracted to each other and I’m sure many of them are still having sex and just not divulging it. 

The couple would be chastised for breaking rules but would probably be held up as a symbol of “biblical marriage” and a modern day Abraham/Sarah/Hagar when Sarah became pregnant as a senior citizen, these women would be seen as being rewarded for supporting Gilead. They would get to keep their child and given authority to “punish” those less faithful. 

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Since Serena is younger than what was indicated in the book, since Offred/June got pregnant with Nick, I am surprised she just doesn't go off and try and get pregnant herself.

My hope for this season is that Serena gets what is coming to her. Her and that crappy husband of hers!

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27 minutes ago, greekmom said:

Since Serena is younger than what was indicated in the book, since Offred/June got pregnant with Nick, I am surprised she just doesn't go off and try and get pregnant herself.

Not that I have any sympathy for Serena, but it's a no-win situation for her. If she's caught sleeping with a man who isn't her husband, she'll be hung on the wall or sent to the colonies. If she does get pregnant, her husband will know it's not his child. He can report her and have her killed or sent away after the baby is born. Best case scenario, she gets pregnant and her husband covers for her and claims the baby is his, but in that case they both violated the Gilead law of no sex except the "ceremonies" with handmaids. They risk having the husband stripped of his rank and the baby can be taken away and given to another commander's family.

By having June sleep with Nick, Serena is covering her ass. If June and Nick get caught, they'll be the ones who are punished, and Serena can try again with a new handmaid.

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I gotta lean into the idea that any pregnancy - indicates a fertile woman. And fertile women are nothing more than commodities. I genuinely don't think any Wife would be executed, but I do think her name will be stripped and she'll find a red tag in her ear. Can't let that ripe uterus go to waste when so few have that "blessing."

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Can someone explain the title of this thread to me? I thought there would be a big revelation in the first two episodes of season 2 when I saw it, but nothing like that happen. Or is it meant as her betraying other women by bringing Gilead upon them?

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9 hours ago, bijoux said:

Can someone explain the title of this thread to me? I thought there would be a big revelation in the first two episodes of season 2 when I saw it, but nothing like that happen. Or is it meant as her betraying other women by bringing Gilead upon them?

It’s the later. The show vernacular uses the phrase “gender traitor” to mean lesbian, as in “a woman who’s a traitor to men”; the title means it the linguistically straightforward sense that she’s a traitor to her own gender. 

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These ass---uredly nice people just called Serena Joy a "victim of the patriarchy"... multiple... times... https://youtu.be/eLiXw3mMK1I

I'm speachless. If any woman or man on this show isn't a victim of anything, it's Serena Joy. She was instrumental in creating this society. She wanted this society. She is part of the reason why millions of people are dead. Now that she has made her bed and has to lie in it, she is suddenly a victim?! Buh humbug!

 

On 18.1.2018 at 11:23 PM, OtterMommy said:

Since the wives are not supposed to be having sexual relationships with their husbands anyway, if one became pregnant it would be clear that the woman (always the woman, mind you!!!  Blech!) would have broken one of the laws.  So, what I would expect would happen is that the woman would carry the child to term and then either be executed or sent to the colonies.  If it could be proven that the husband was the father--which I think would only be a question if the husband willingly admits it, he might be punished in some way, but probably not executed, especially if he was in a position of power.  The child would then be reassigned to another family, just as June's daughter was.

They are only not supposed to have sex because they tried for years for a baby and it didn't work. That being "proof" that they are infertile. Since sex can never be for fun in Gilead they aren't supposed to have it anymore when they can't produce a baby with it.

If Serena were to get pregnant I'm sure they could play it off with "God sent me a sign in a dream that now was the time for me to become a mother and so we tried and it worked! Blessed be his name!" or some shit like that.

Edited by Miles
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1 hour ago, Miles said:

These ass---uredly nice people just called Serena Joy a "victim of the patriarchy"... multiple... times... https://youtu.be/eLiXw3mMK1I

 

LOL! A "victim of the patriarchy"? What a bunch of b---aloney and horse---feathers.

I have zero sympathy for Serena Joy.

ZE.RO. 

She was 100% complicit in creating this nightmare landscape called Gilead, and if she's miserable, all the better. I hated this abusive, vile, small-minded, short-sighted hypocrite from the very beginning, and that beyond evil stunt of figuratively dangling Offred's daughter in front of her and then blackmailing her? Yeah, "bitch" kinda falls short of describing Serena Joy, doesn't it?

She needs to be brought down but good (along with her piece of shit husband and Aunt Lydia).

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The part of the most recent episode that struck me most was that one of the attempts Serena made to strike up a conversation with June was to insult the size of one Handmaid's nose! What an absolutely bizarre attempt to get June to talk to her, especially as for all her many faults Serena has never really struck me as a gossipy mean girl. She also was chuckling to herself about the stupid name Prayvaganza. I think she's actually totally starting to crack under the boredom of Gilead society and is at the beginning of a mental break.

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I can agree that Serena is a victim, but at her own hand, not anyone else’s.

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There's a huge difference to me between sexist men and sexist women, and that's also the reason I can still feel a bit of sympathy for the later: no matter how sexist these women are, in the eyes of sexist men, they're still women, sexual objects, second-class citizens, less important people. These women are still raped, harrassed or mistreated as much as feminist women. And the moment they step out of the line, they are punished as quickly. Serena is great proof of that. She thought that she could be one of the guys because she supported the same things and she was different, not like every other woman. She was obviously wrong. So even if I'm always mad at this kind of women because I know they hurt other women, the ones fighting for real equality, I'm able to see them as victims as well.

Aunt Lydia's another gender traitor and to me, it's more difficult to see her as a victim, since she seems to enjoy her power and situation so much. Serena may be slowly losing her mind, but Aunt Lydia doesn't seem to miss anything. And yet I'm sure there's some man with power over her. I doubt Aunts work without being somehow controlled by someone. And what happens if this someone doesn't like you? Aunt Lydia's ceirtanly more submissive to the general than to Serena. 

But, and this is a huge "but", Aunt Lydia and Serena are also collaborationists and disgusting human beings. Serena's a terrorist too. I want them to get what they deserve, which is a trip to the colonies (or life sentence, in a normal society) . For Fred, there isn't punishment good enough. We would need to borrow Hannibal Lecter and Ramsay Snow from other books.

Edited by Helena Dax
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Aunt Lydia is also a "true believer" and religious fanatic.  Serena Joy may have been as well, but right now it's hard to tell how much she believed what she was preaching, and how much was just Serena being power-hungry, and cutting off her own nose.

I think we will find out soon.

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On 5/19/2018 at 7:18 PM, AllyB said:

She also was chuckling to herself about the stupid name Prayvaganza.

Didn't she say something like "not the smartest name, if you ask me?" The irony, of course, being that she helped create a society in which nobody asks her about anything.

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14 hours ago, Helena Dax said:

There's a huge difference to me between sexist men and sexist women, and that's also the reason I can still feel a bit of sympathy for the later: no matter how sexist these women are, in the eyes of sexist men, they're still women, sexual objects, second-class citizens, less important people. These women are still raped, harrassed or mistreated as much as feminist women. And the moment they step out of the line, they are punished as quickly. Serena is great proof of that. She thought that she could be one of the guys because she supported the same things and she was different, not like every other woman. She was obviously wrong. So even if I'm always mad at this kind of women because I know they hurt other women, the ones fighting for real equality, I'm able to see them as victims as well.

Yes, there is a huge difference between sexist men and sexist women. "In the eyes of sexist men, [women are], sexual objects, second-class citizens, less important people" and in the eyes of sexist women, men are, sexual objects, second-class citizens, less important people!

But I'm not here to have a debate about sexist women. We are talking about Serena Joy specifically here. If she is the victim of the patriarchy, then she is one of the most instrumental parts of the patriarchy (does that make it a matriarchy?). She was basically the Joseph Goebbels of Gilead. She knew for what ideals she was fighting for the whole time. Everything she got now, she did to herself. And again, she is one of the lucky ones. A lot of people are dead, dying or mamed.

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 I understand what everyone is saying, yet, I am totally enthralled by Serena. Can’t look away, and in this last episode where she casually referenced a trip to Antigua, she’s deliberately going into talk of the past and stepping over online. I think she is in credibly frustrated with the way things have become, she wanted a baby and she wanted another woman to give her one but I don’t really think she enjoys hierarchy. I actually  I think she’s trying to hard.

 

Her acknowledging that she knew that June is an editor is astonishing. Those documents were much too thick to be about just returning to normal as in normal at the beginning of last season. She’s up to something, and I can’t wait to see what.

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2 minutes ago, lucindabelle said:

Her acknowledging that she knew that June is an editor is astonishing. Those documents were much too thick to be about just returning to normal as in normal at the beginning of last season. She’s up to something, and I can’t wait to see what.

I agree that the whiplash of this episode was enthralling. Can't wait to see what's coming next.

Edited by dleighg
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I wonder if pre Gilead SJ wasn't just romantising the past coupled with existing issue of low births and environmental problems.  Thinking if we went back to the "good ol days", it will solve the problem and she will also get a baby. (win win).  I'm guessing she didn't foresee the mess she will assist to create.

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I can believe Gilead isn't exactly what Serena hoped for. However, I don't for a second buy she wanted it to be any kind of Utopia. She was advocating for taking away people's choices and pushing domestic feminism on women, and she conspired to organize and cover up an attack on Congress. And was whiling away her time munching on pop corn in a movie theatre while waiting to hear how it went! 

Like, in Serena's version there'd probably be no Ceremony, but those women would still be marked for their "sins", put in a lower caste and treated like live incubators. 

And she wouldn't have to knit all day.

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14 hours ago, greekmom said:

I wonder if pre Gilead SJ wasn't just romantising the past coupled with existing issue of low births and environmental problems.  Thinking if we went back to the "good ol days", it will solve the problem and she will also get a baby. (win win).  I'm guessing she didn't foresee the mess she will assist to create.

See, this is what I am kind of getting from SJ as well. She appears to love kids and to be concerned with their welfare. I'm not sure how far her political theories and ideals went. I mean, apparently birthrates really were in a bad place when she was trying to talk to the college. I can see how she started out with the whole "we need to get back to the good old days" because she wanted a baby and was seriously concerned about the welfare of the country, and from there it just snowballed. She doesn't believe that women are incompetent; it was her idea to utilize both June and the neonatalist Martha for their skills. She KNOWS that she's no dummy. I'm very interested in her as a character. 

Where I live, there are many pockets of families and groups of people who are set on going back to the "traditional" way of living. Some do it for religious purposes, others are secular. Some are simply homesteaders. They live off the grid as much as possible, raise most of their own food, don't have running water or electricity, etc., yet still dress in modern ways, send their kids to public schools, and drive vehicles. Others are more hardcore.

Bear with me here...When I was in college, I worked for a state historic site. We had a living history weekend and around 30 living historians came to set up in our field. I developed a HUGE crush on the 20-year-old son of one of them. He lived in a "colony" (more or less) of other families who all lived in the same manner. They were kinda Old Testament and lived the way they "performed.". The women weren't "allowed" to work outside of the home, they get around by horses and buggies, the kids were all schooled in a one-room schoolhouse, they only wore clothing they made (they had sheep for wool, tanned leather from their cows, etc.), they only ate food that they grew or bartered from other farmers, the girls could only read the Bible, etc. I really liked this guy but, of course, we lived in two different world-I lived in the 21st Century and he lived in his version of Gilead. We had kind of a forbidden, romantic, weekend love thing, though. It was fun. :-) I did ask him what would happen if he wanted to actually pursue me. He said that his father would ask my father if we could court. We'd only be allowed to see each other with chaperones, I'd have to give up my schooling and job, and I'd have to be Baptized under their particular denomination. Look, I'm a modern gal but *some* of the aspects of the way they lived totally appealed to me at the time. Log houses? Horses all the time? Community singing and dancing every weekend? Close knit neighbors? A simpler way of life? Count me in! I definitely romanticized a lot of it. However, the realistic side of me was stronger. No way in hell was I giving up my degree, my radio, my Dairy Queen trips, and my VC Andrews. 

So yeah. I wonder just how aware Serena Joy really was. I know she was an architect, but I still think her intentions were more complicated than that. I think Fred went into simply wanting the power, whereas SJ went into it because she felt that the US was in turmoil and she thought "their" way would be better for everyone. Both ideas are shitty, but they're different brands of shit. 

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I may have liked her this last episode, but she was all in favour of young teenage girls being married off. Ugh. 

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She also has no problem ripping babies away from their real mothers . She genuinely believes that the baby June is carrying is HERS and seems to be completely disconnected from the fact that these woman are more than just incubators. She may love children and care about the welfare of babies, but shes also cool with child brides apparently and doesn’t have any empathy.

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1 hour ago, GraceK said:

She also has no problem ripping babies away from their real mothers . She genuinely believes that the baby June is carrying is HERS and seems to be completely disconnected from the fact that these woman are more than just incubators. She may love children and care about the welfare of babies, but shes also cool with child brides apparently and doesn’t have any empathy.

Basically she's complicit in rampant misogyny, tyranny, rape, kidnapping, and systematic slavery. 

Any wonder I don't have sympathy for the good Mrs. W?

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2 hours ago, GraceK said:

She also has no problem ripping babies away from their real mothers . She genuinely believes that the baby June is carrying is HERS and seems to be completely disconnected from the fact that these woman are more than just incubators. She may love children and care about the welfare of babies, but shes also cool with child brides apparently and doesn’t have any empathy.

Which I don't get.  If the British couple was able to find a surrogate with Moira, why couldn't the Waterford's?  Unless they were under the impression that Freddy's swimmers were in top condition?  Otherwise, SJ could have had at least one child at this point without going through the bullshit of a handmaid.

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Yvonne Strahovski helped "Dexter" jump the shark but she's a big part of what's right about "The Handmaid's Tale." She takes what the writers give her and makes it better (not in what she does with the lines but *between* them). Whenever you've been conned into thinking Serena has started to grow a heart, Strahovski pulls the rug out from under you.

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13 minutes ago, greekmom said:

Which I don't get.  If the British couple was able to find a surrogate with Moira, why couldn't the Waterford's?  Unless they were under the impression that Freddy's swimmers were in top condition?  Otherwise, SJ could have had at least one child at this point without going through the bullshit of a handmaid.

I think you’re assuming surrogacy is the first response of a married couple who wants kids but hasn’t conceived yet (I don’t think it is never mind the financial implications- $250k is a LOT of money!). I assume the Waterfords have been married for a while but we don’t know what their reproductive history has been. 

And yeah, Serena may have been injured from the gun shot but I believe Fred was always infertile if not sterile and THATS why she hasnt had a child. 

 

But no, no sympathy for Serena Joy. Fred needs to die a slow slow death, she’s not as bad as him but she’s still awful. 

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17 hours ago, mamadrama said:
On 6/7/2018 at 12:07 PM, greekmom said:

I wonder if pre Gilead SJ wasn't just romantising the past coupled with existing issue of low births and environmental problems.  Thinking if we went back to the "good ol days", it will solve the problem and she will also get a baby. (win win).  I'm guessing she didn't foresee the mess she will assist to create.

See, this is what I am kind of getting from SJ as well. She appears to love kids and to be concerned with their welfare. I'm not sure how far her political theories and ideals went. I mean, apparently birthrates really were in a bad place when she was trying to talk to the college. I can see how she started out with the whole "we need to get back to the good old days" because she wanted a baby and was seriously concerned about the welfare of the country, and from there it just snowballed. She doesn't believe that women are incompetent; it was her idea to utilize both June and the neonatalist Martha for their skills. She KNOWS that she's no dummy. I'm very interested in her as a character. 

Where I live, there are many pockets of families and groups of people who are set on going back to the "traditional" way of living. Some do it for religious purposes, others are secular. Some are simply homesteaders. They live off the grid as much as possible, raise most of their own food, don't have running water or electricity, etc., yet still dress in modern ways, send their kids to public schools, and drive vehicles. Others are more hardcore.

Bear with me here...When I was in college, I worked for a state historic site. We had a living history weekend and around 30 living historians came to set up in our field. I developed a HUGE crush on the 20-year-old son of one of them. He lived in a "colony" (more or less) of other families who all lived in the same manner. They were kinda Old Testament and lived the way they "performed.". The women weren't "allowed" to work outside of the home, they get around by horses and buggies, the kids were all schooled in a one-room schoolhouse, they only wore clothing they made (they had sheep for wool, tanned leather from their cows, etc.), they only ate food that they grew or bartered from other farmers, the girls could only read the Bible, etc. I really liked this guy but, of course, we lived in two different world-I lived in the 21st Century and he lived in his version of Gilead. We had kind of a forbidden, romantic, weekend love thing, though. It was fun. :-) I did ask him what would happen if he wanted to actually pursue me. He said that his father would ask my father if we could court. We'd only be allowed to see each other with chaperones, I'd have to give up my schooling and job, and I'd have to be Baptized under their particular denomination. Look, I'm a modern gal but *some* of the aspects of the way they lived totally appealed to me at the time. Log houses? Horses all the time? Community singing and dancing every weekend? Close knit neighbors? A simpler way of life? Count me in! I definitely romanticized a lot of it. However, the realistic side of me was stronger. No way in hell was I giving up my degree, my radio, my Dairy Queen trips, and my VC Andrews. 

So yeah. I wonder just how aware Serena Joy really was. I know she was an architect, but I still think her intentions were more complicated than that. I think Fred went into simply wanting the power, whereas SJ went into it because she felt that the US was in turmoil and she thought "their" way would be better for everyone. Both ideas are shitty, but they're different brands of shit. 

This is largely my take on her as well.  Lots of people get caught up in the idea of the "good old days" when things were supposedly better and how it would be better for all of us if we just went back to that.  Okay, yeah, most of those people don't blithely go along with violently overthrowing a government or half the awful stuff we've seen to make it happen, but she certainly wouldn't have been the first person to have a gauzy romanticized view of pre Mad Men America when everybody was god fearing and had all the babies they wanted and even some they didn't.

At least part of her ever simmering rage seems spurred by how far apart her ideal of this "better world" is from the way it's played out.  It seems obvious to me that she never quite envisioned things getting to the point where she'd be legally forbidden to read her own book or do anything at all except fussy knitting or gardening when she's not participating in the world's unsexiest three way.  I'll go even further out on a limb and guess that she was one of those people who immediately dismissed anyone warning of slippery slopes or extremism in her rhetoric as hyperbolic and hysterical.  She can call the loss of everything that made her life satisfying a "small sacrifice" to be right with Gilead's version of God all she wants, but we can also see she hasn't fully convinced herself of it or she wouldn't be so angry all the time.

One of the things that's been so very interesting to me in her recent detente with June is her unspoken acknowledgement that June isn't just a womb with feet.  Yes, she's still clearly anticipating June's baby as her own, but she's not Naomi Putnam callously disregarding her as "that girl" as if she had nothing at all to do with the baby's existence.  She made a point of showing June the nursery and asking her opinion about the wallpaper.  Almost as if seeking her blessing, she very seriously told June how she would be the very best mother she could be to the baby.  It seems rather unlikely that June and then by extension Janine would have been so freely allowed to hang out at the hospital with Baby Charlotte/Angela had she not recognized on at least some level that they're mothers too.  If I didn't know better, I would almost think Serena has somehow rationalized the entire handmaid arrangement as a voluntary surrogacy thing, a business arrangement.  It is possible to be horrified by the person that she is and the things she has done while also having a certain limited amount of empathy for a woman whose picture might as well be in the dictionary under law of unintended consequences, also known as "definitely did not see this coming."

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1 hour ago, Scarlett45 said:

I think you’re assuming surrogacy is the first response of a married couple who wants kids but hasn’t conceived yet (I don’t think it is never mind the financial implications- $250k is a LOT of money!). I assume the Waterfords have been married for a while but we don’t know what their reproductive history has been. 

And yeah, Serena may have been injured from the gun shot but I believe Fred was always infertile if not sterile and THATS why she hasnt had a child. 

 

But no, no sympathy for Serena Joy. Fred needs to die a slow slow death, she’s not as bad as him but she’s still awful.

Absolutely. One of my take aways from the last episode is that I want both of them punished, but I need Fred to go down horribly, do so first and think that Serena has come out on top. And then she gets taken down. Fucking asshole couldn’t have even lost an appendage in that bombing.

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On 5/18/2017 at 10:06 PM, Margo Leadbetter said:

In the book, the wives go to endless tea parties, gossip, and knit endlessly, providing hats and scarves to the soldiers on the front.

There’s a war going on?  Where? Against whom? One of the annoying things about this show is that they’d never show you how this perfect little society sprang into being with laws, rituals, identical burqas and uniforms for all the women and even speech mannerisms all put in place in the space of...what?  Two years?  It’s just not credible.  They seem like a society that has existed for hundreds of years and has had time to put in place and hone all of these strange customs.  Because let’s face it, the society they supposedly came from was one the most advanced and educated in the world (the first world, in fact) not exactly a backwards, uneducated place where women were already subjugated.  Seems really hard to imagine how all this sprang into place so tidily.

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