We’re more than halfway through the month of #MARM and today is Margaret Atwood’s 80th birthday. Naomi and I are supposed to be deep into discussions about The Handmaid’s Tale and The Testaments (her spoiler-free launch of The Ts discussion is here). But I’ve still got my head in Handmaid’s.
Even though I finished rereading more than a week ago. I’m rewatching the Hulu Originals series (more on that soon – and I’m only on episode four, you can still catch up if you care to), and I’m reading the graphic novel adaptation by Renee Nault too. But I’ll probably start with TheT tonight. Even so.
When I was in my twenties, I was flummoxed by the fact that Atwood did not identify as a feminist. I could pinpoint, to the day, the incident which spurned my discovery of feminism, and I didn’t understand her equivocating about the term, when I had so recently and passionately adopted its usage.
Instead, when the F-word comes up, Atwood often speaks about her commitment to equality. And it often comes up. And it’s often complicated. Because everyone who challenges her on the matter has their own personal understanding of feminism (and is perhaps just as puzzled by, or oblivious to, her lifelong insistence that she is committed to equality not to feminist ideology, as I was).
These days, more and more people are taking their truth from the media (including social media, not necessarily journalism) rather than from the source, assuming that when other people declare Margaret Atwood a feminist spokesperson or a prophet (which also comes up fairly often, in regards to Handmaid’s), that she identifies as such herself.