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Tara Ariano

S01.E04: Nolite Te Bastardes Carborundorum

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I've started a quote section in my bujo from the book.  I'm really, really pissed at my job right now, and I used the epi title on my weekly spread this week.

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On 5/3/2017 at 0:48 PM, AnswersWanted said:

 

Call me petty, but I rather enjoyed seeing Fred twist the subjugated knife in his wife's back.

It's clear that she's an intelligent, savvy, clever woman, but she's outsmarted herself. She was willing to help create a world where women "know their place". Where women are rightfully taken back to the times when "America was great" again by taking away women's ability to vote, to have their own operate finances from their husbands or other male kin, and to own property.

She was part of this group so convinced they could find a better way, stop the "baby killing", stop the derogation of society as a whole, turn the country back to god. But she was the ultimate fool in believing that she would somehow not end up corralled and forced to submit just like the rest of them.

For all her smarts Serena Joy underestimated just how women's rights served her well. They allowed her to speak freely, to believe as she pleased, to be a leader, a champion for her cause. They gave her a voice, and in doing so she used her own voice to silence herself, rather fitting I'd say.

I'm reminded of something I heard once (and I think by a relatively conservative radio host) that men wouldn't get away with all they do if there weren't women waiting in the wings willing to take them.  In this case, women accepting the men's strict interpretation.  

It's painful to watch Serena channel all her frustration into the degradation of June.  

It's a tough show to watch, but I look forward to each episode.

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On ‎5‎/‎3‎/‎2017 at 3:59 AM, AnswersWanted said:

I am not sure how I feel about "Orphan Black"'s Donny being turned into a lecherous, rapist doctor on this show.

 

Huh?? Did I miss something. Did he rape her?  Did he "try" to rape her? No and no, as far as I saw.  I think he was honestly trying to help her. 

 

15 hours ago, EdnasEdibles said:

Just think--what if she had trusted him, got pregnant from him and then the Commander can't get it up that month. How do you explain that baby? 

Exactly!  Smart on Offred's part to turn him down.

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Huh?? Did I miss something. Did he rape her?  Did he "try" to rape her? No and no, as far as I saw.  I think he was honestly trying to help her.

I think the truth is somewhere in the middle. No, he didn't try to physically force himself on Offerd, but he also was trying to take advantage of his and Offred's positions to get some sex. As others have stated, he could just have artificially inseminated the Handmaid's, but he specifically wanted sex. And the likelihood is that Offred would be more severally punished if she was caught. As a man and one of the few doctors that Gilead seems to accept, he probably is much safer then her. I don't see him as trying to be some selfless savior nor a monster, just another morally gray character with a heavy dash of opportunist.

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Doctor: trying to help or rapist? I also felt it was ambiguous and creepy. As mentioned above he could be a sick bastard getting off on it, but explaining it away in his mind as helping these girls.

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4 hours ago, A Boston Gal said:

Anyone notice the pictures of the commanders and wives with their new babies that were hanging on the doctor's waiting room wall? There had been discussion here of how African Americans were banished in the book, but part of the system in this adaptation, and how racism obviously would still be an issue in this New World Order.  However there were interracial commander couples pictured (only African American wives, though) and I believe an African American baby was shown in a photo. 

I think the way to square this would be to realize that even oppressive regimes can make "exceptions" for a select few people who are minorities; those whom The Powers that Be view as acceptable, non-threatening or having earned their approval. For example, see "Carson, Dr. Ben."

This is fascinating to me. I don't think the decision to include black characters was pc at all. I think it makes perfect sense. There's still racism in the 2017 version of Gilead. They probably sent most poc to colonies but were "progressive" enough to allow a few of them positions in the new regime. Of course only white men can be commanders and those commanders can have black wives or handmaids if they want but we will never see the reverse and that's all by design.

I don't know if it's on purpose or not but I noticed how there was no interaction between Moira and any of the black men she passed during the escape. Historically we tended to stick together in times of trouble but in Gilead, the men are beholden to the patriarchy above anything else, even race. 

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36 minutes ago, ridethemaverick said:

This is fascinating to me. I don't think the decision to include black characters was pc at all. I think it makes perfect sense. There's still racism in the 2017 version of Gilead. They probably sent most poc to colonies but were "progressive" enough to allow a few of them positions in the new regime. Of course only white men can be commanders and those commanders can have black wives or handmaids if they want but we will never see the reverse and that's all by design.

I don't know if it's on purpose or not but I noticed how there was no interaction between Moira and any of the black men she passed during the escape. Historically we tended to stick together in times of trouble but in Gilead, the men are beholden to the patriarchy above anything else, even race. 

 

Quoting myself because I just saw a good screenshot of that wall and there were black commanders with white wives. So it looks like they're completely ignoring race and I'm giving them way too much credit. 

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3 hours ago, Duke2801 said:

Huh?? Did I miss something. Did he rape her?  Did he "try" to rape her? No and no, as far as I saw.  I think he was honestly trying to help her. 

 

I disagree. There were ways he truly could have helped her that did not involve his penis entering her body.

He even decided to probe her body despite her merely telling him that she had fainted. As far as I am aware most with medical licenses would not feel the need to feel around inside a woman's vagina just because she said she'd had a fainting spell.

To me he was merely trying to take advantage of an opportunity, of a woman he hoped would be desperate enough to let him try and "help her".

Also, for me, it's an issue of consent as well, as in does Offred truly have the ability to consent considering her current position in society?

She certainly cannot rely on men to truly be godly and good and honest, her current commander has shown us that so far with how he's already breaking the rules just to be around her, encouraging her to literally break the law for his own amusement, being alone with him, playing scrabble, holding and touching and even reading books.

She has seen that men are quite able, and willing, to do the very things they have claimed are wrong, immoral, wicked and evil. But if a man suddenly decides otherwise where does that leave her?

This doctor allowed her to reject him, but what if he hadn't? What must go through the mind of a handmaid when a man, a man of power and control, wants something from her, however he may word the request. If she says no will she be sent away, punished by the Eyes, mutilated? But if she says yes will she still be blamed and held accountable for this man's "sins"?

I think that is really my biggest issue with this doctor and his offer. He is allowed to walk away and see if the next girl might be more willing, while Offred has been put through the mental anguish of knowing she's followed the very rules that have been beaten into her but she's also rebuffed a man and she truly cannot have any idea which is worse for her until it'd be too late.

Edited by AnswersWanted · Reason: Added more words.
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Finally made it through this episode. 

The main problem with this show is that it makes everything else I watch seem utterly frivolous by comparison.

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Hi. I liked the first 3 eps a lot but this 4th ep left me with 2 many questions...it didn't sustain the realism of the others

Not gagging "Aunt" Elizabeth seemed very contrived. The timing was also off to me..  Dr appt but return at NIGHT....squeeze in a failed Ceremony then at 9 meet the Commander in his study?

I am not a big series watcher cause my logical or nit picky mind gets in the way. I start wondering....who stocks the grocery shelves... who keeps city services running....hospitals? Schools? Where are the children....teenagers? 

Who designs and makes the clothes? 

It seems most of the men are military..police...toting guns....but how will they support a home for wife handmaid...kitchen worker and chauffeur?  Do they even have wives? 

Enquiring minds want to know. 

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1 hour ago, Stillhoping said:

Hi. I liked the first 3 eps a lot but this 4th ep left me with 2 many questions...it didn't sustain the realism of the others

Not gagging "Aunt" Elizabeth seemed very contrived. The timing was also off to me..  Dr appt but return at NIGHT....squeeze in a failed Ceremony then at 9 meet the Commander in his study?

I am not a big series watcher cause my logical or nit picky mind gets in the way. I start wondering....who stocks the grocery shelves... who keeps city services running....hospitals? Schools? Where are the children....teenagers? 

Who designs and makes the clothes? 

It seems most of the men are military..police...toting guns....but how will they support a home for wife handmaid...kitchen worker and chauffeur?  Do they even have wives? 

Enquiring minds want to know. 

 

Since the show hasn't really covered very many of those questions that you've asked, I will answer them in the book thread here:

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I can't get past how mind-numbingly bad Elisabeth Moss is in this role.  I try to cut her some slack by reminding myself she's playing a repressed woman whose life is in constant danger, but then we have the escape scene, an opportunity to unleash the real June, her desperation, rage, etc., and she's just as vanilla.  

I appreciate the script's occasional references to life "before," which would have been innocuous back then but now are stark reminders of how far off the rails society has gone -- for example, when Commander Fred says his parents made him take Latin for the SATs.

I agree with the poster (here or in another episode thread) who called out the lack of racism in this ultra-fundamental society.   It's just not believable.  In the kind of fucked-up society Gilead appears to be, June and her husband would have been charged with miscegenation and there would have been no black Aunts leading around white Handmaids (sorry, Moira).   In Massachusetts, no less.  Look what happened at Fenway Park just this past week.

Edited by millennium
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23 hours ago, HeySandyStrange said:

I think the truth is somewhere in the middle. No, he didn't try to physically force himself on Offerd, but he also was trying to take advantage of his and Offred's positions to get some sex. As others have stated, he could just have artificially inseminated the Handmaid's, but he specifically wanted sex. And the likelihood is that Offred would be more severally punished if she was caught. As a man and one of the few doctors that Gilead seems to accept, he probably is much safer then her. I don't see him as trying to be some selfless savior nor a monster, just another morally gray character with a heavy dash of opportunist.

I can get on board with the idea that he isn't completely selfless, of course. But I still very much disagree with branding him a rapist. 

Quote

I can't get past how mind-numbingly bad Elisabeth Moss is in this role.  I try to cut her some slack by reminding myself she's playing a repressed woman whose life is in constant danger, but then we have the escape scene, an opportunity to unleash the real June, her desperation, rage, etc., and she's just as vanilla.

Wow I could not disagree more. I think EM is killing it in this role.  I was never crazy about her as Peggy Olson but I love her as Offred. 

Edited by Duke2801
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There is a discussion of the race issue in the book thread.  Since the show is obviously handling it one way, and the book quite the opposite way, that seems to be the place for the discussion from the mod's instructions.   I'm not trying to be a bossy-pants here, but until the mods change their minds about including book in episode talk, I'll be posting about it there (and have been for days!) or in the questions thread.

I hope you guys join the conversation in Palimpsest because it's been a good one.

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You could still post in that thread if you wish though, although if you are spoiler-phobic you may not want to.  However, who knows how closely the show will follow the book?  It certainly isn't in this specific situation.   I'll answer the Christianity mockery question in the questions thread.

Edited by Umbelina

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I had been wondering if it would be okay to create a thread for discussing how the show handles race and ethnicity.  I'm pretty new here so I wasn't sure if that would be allowed or not.  The race issue really bother me allots but I don't want to take over every other thread with it.

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I am really enjoying being able to discuss the show with everyone on these forums. Thank you all for your thoughtful input. 

For me the favorite part of the episode was the    end, after June's punishment for trying to escape where each handmaiden saved the tiny scraps they could hide so that June could have something to eat. In the darkest of times there are still moments that can inspire you. That moment will stick with June and she can draw strength from it. 

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I agree it feels weird to talk about this in an episode thread. And confining it to the "book talk" thread is a bit exclusionary to people who only want to discuss the show. I think we can justify starting a new topic for diversity and social justice discussions. I'll get one started and see if we can get a mod to migrate some of these posts over there.

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Your wishes are granted, thanks to @Slovenly Muse!

The new thread to discuss race, culture, etc can be found here:

I moved some posts, so feel free to take the discussion over there. Thanks everyone!

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I dislike when people post song lyrics, so I'll just do a link here. The episode title (and episode itself) has had "Acrobat" by U2 running off and on in my head for days:

Lyrics

Song @ Spotify

Edited by kieyra
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On 5/6/2017 at 9:27 AM, Stillhoping said:

Hi. I liked the first 3 eps a lot but this 4th ep left me with 2 many questions...it didn't sustain the realism of the others

Not gagging "Aunt" Elizabeth seemed very contrived. The timing was also off to me..  Dr appt but return at NIGHT....squeeze in a failed Ceremony then at 9 meet the Commander in his study?

I am not a big series watcher cause my logical or nit picky mind gets in the way. I start wondering....who stocks the grocery shelves... who keeps city services running....hospitals? Schools? Where are the children....teenagers? 

Who designs and makes the clothes? 

It seems most of the men are military..police...toting guns....but how will they support a home for wife handmaid...kitchen worker and chauffeur?  Do they even have wives? 

Enquiring minds want to know. 

I noticed the doctors appointment timing too. But as a New England native, it's plausible that they left at 3pm and it's dark by 4 in the winter. But I also wondered about the ceremony timing. Maybe they hold it late afternoon? I don't recall the timing ever mentioned in the book.

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Someone up thread remarked that Elizabeth Moss was "mindnumbingly bad" in this role. Nooooooos! She is tremendous!

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On 5/7/2017 at 9:28 PM, kieyra said:

I dislike when people post song lyrics, so I'll just do a link here. The episode title (and episode itself) has had "Acrobat" by U2 running off and on in my head for days:

Lyrics

Song @ Spotify

Thank you for posting this! The lyrics and the song.

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On 5/7/2017 at 8:28 AM, kieyra said:

I dislike when people post song lyrics, so I'll just do a link here. The episode title (and episode itself) has had "Acrobat" by U2 running off and on in my head for days:

Lyrics

Song @ Spotify

This song automatically plays when I plug my iPhone into my USB car charger.  (I think it plays alphabetically by song, and Achtung Baby is one of my albums), so when the Commander related the translation, my ears definitely perked up!  

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It's interesting to me that the colorblind approach the show seems to be taking is more jarring to me coming off a society only a few years off of my own than a lot of the other dystopian elements of the story.  Like nearly everyone else, it was a little hard for me to swallow on initial viewing that no one would look twice at an aunt that was much younger and much darker than any of the other aunts we've seen.  But in thinking about it, maybe that's the point the show is trying to make.  The new order has come up with a nifty color scheme for all of these women so they cease to be individuals who would require any wasted time looking at them or thinking about them at all.  As a man, you know at a glance that blue is wives, brown is aunts, red is handmaids.  You already know their relative value and place in society.  No more guesswork or effort in trying to figure a woman out.  You don't even have to look them in the face or really see them at all.

I'm not entirely satisfied with this explanation for the complete lack of acknowledgement of the racist element but I'll give them this one.

Both actresses looked like they'd rather be anywhere else during the ceremony that wasn't scene.  Putting aside all the squicky consent issues of the entire arrangement, I'd be surprised if that wasn't happening with some regularity.  The entire setup is the complete antithesis of sexy, which in the book is pretty much intentional.

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I have to admit that I was touched by the scene between Serena Joy and Fred after he couldn't get it up.  I could sense the longing for connection, the ache to be able to touch and take pleasure in one another.   Especially from Serena Joy, who gets no sensual contact from the Ceremony.  Watching her desperately take in his scent made me feel for her.  Even though she is complicit, she is also a victim.  Makes me wonder about their relationship from before. Did he confide in her then, seek out and respect her advice?

Very similar to June's pleasure and longing as she held the dictionary. 

The scene from with Dr. Donny..........June was so vulnerable. She always is, but, in that moment, especially so. He could have raped her very easily. The asking was just a formality. Her reaction in the van was a very real, visceral reaction to that truth. I've been in situations like that, where, after, it hits you so hard just what kind of danger you were in. 

Also, the look on her face when she stepped outside at the end, and looked up and saw Serena Joy looking down from the window.  Her facial expression so clearly said, "Fuck YOU, Bitch", that they didn't even have to have June's voiceover state it. 

Noticed an expansion in June's wardrobe, that she now has a red sweatshirt, and a scarf. So many lovely shades of red in the Handmaid's wardrobe.  And the shades of turquoise in the wives' wardrobe.  I'd like to see the shop where the wardrobes are made/sold.  

I teared up when the other Handmaids shared bits of their breakfast with June.  That was so beautiful. 

Edited by rollacoaster
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2 hours ago, rollacoaster said:

I have to admit that I was touched by the scene between Serena Joy and Fred after he couldn't get it up.  I could sense the longing for connection, the ache to be able to touch and take pleasure in one another.   Especially from Serena Joy, who gets no sensual contact from the Ceremony.  Watching her desperately take in his scent made me feel for her.  Even though she is complicit, she is also a victim.  Makes me wonder about their relationship from before. Did he confide in her then, seek out and respect her advice?

 

 

I agree that scene and the scene when Fred shut her down with the Gilead version of "don't worry your pretty head about that" made me wonder what Serena Joy thought was happening in the world prior to this.  Did she see a declining birth rate and turn to God and this is the bastard mutant thing that rose up around her?  Was she a zealot, calling other women gendered slurs or was she caught in almost the same situation June was?  She woke up one day without access to money, without a job, without a future as anything other than a woman dressed in a color to denote her purpose in life?  Is she bitter because the world she helped bring about sucks for her, or is she bitter because this world sucks and she too was just doing what it takes to be alive in it?   

From the series so far we just don't know in this telling of the tale.  All we can see is that she's horrible to those with even less power than she has but then, what power does she have?  The power to dress in teal every day, right down to her shoes, to never have an intellectually stimulating conversation?  She's not allowed to read books or have a profession or do anything other than nurture her resentment.  

Plus, I thought she was punishing June not for failing to be pregnant -- although that too -- but because she did think June was pregnant and that it was June's fault that the Eyes had reason to question her, shock her and then cause her to miscarry.   The only reason I drew that conclusion was that her punishment was to be kept from interacting with the outside world at all.   Serena Joy is participating in all of this but we don't know how gladly, we just know that she has said she has prayed.  

Maybe becoming incredibly religious was her reaction to not being able to become pregnant.  There would be a lot of people who would reach for the "it's a judgment from God!" explanation if the world birth rates dropped like a stone.   

I'm not in anyway excusing her, what she's doing to June/Offred and the "Martha" living in her home is inexcusable.  It's monstrous.  I'm just trying to understand the monster she has become and how she got there.   She has no power in her life, not any real power.  She doesn't have the power to have an equal relationship with her husband or practice whatever media savvy craft she once did.  That conversation revealed that she likely had a profession and it sounded like it was in some type of marketing or media, perhaps politics.  So did she wake up one day and find that her husband and all the other "good men" had taken it from her or did she know that was coming?

I've really been enjoying this series and one of the things I like about it is that it just keeps raising more questions at every turn.  It made sense to me that all Moira had to do was don an Aunt outfit to be able to walk freely.  We saw what happened to a man accused of rape and sex is apparently only supposed to be for procreation.   It makes sense that the guards and soldiers would be incredibly careful around the Aunts.   They are women with something that resembles authority in Gilead.  Anyone with authority is dangerous to everyone around them who doesn't have more authority.  Hell, Aunt Lydia was making great strides towards beating June into a bloody pulp on the floor of Serena Joy's sitting room and the only thing that made her stop was not "Hey, a commander's wife is telling me what to do!" it was "Stop! She's pregnant."   

All of that background, everything with Serena Joy just sadistically wielding the little bit of power her world provides for her, made that end scene in which these powerless women all risk whatever heinous punishments the Aunts would come up with to try and sneak food to June.  

In terms of the doctor, he was creepy in the book, I found him just as creepy here.  He can't just have turkey basters worth of semen hanging around without risking some kind of (likely very specific) brutal death since clearly AI is against the Gilead laws and he was taking "no, thank you" for an answer but the thing that gave me an added case of the creeps (on top of every other "so close to rape, well beyond coercion, power imbalance beyond the telling of it" thing) is that I was I afraid he was an Eye.   So there still exists a possibility that he is trying to help and why "they go through my trash" and presumably limit what equipment he can have access to.  That doesn't change who may or may not be in the story, but that's why the turkey baster syringe-of-semen might not be an option.  He'd have to have the darned things prepped.  

They've done so well with the atmosphere that I'm paranoid on behalf of Offred/June.  

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On 5/3/2017 at 2:55 AM, Deputy Deputy CoS said:

Why, what was likable about it?

I thought it was likable because Serena Joy is a miserable bitch.  

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Fred has a laptop! That everyday piece of technology is Gilead was so surprising, as was Fred discussing the Toronto Star and websites with Serena. I needed to be reminded that these are things that still exist, although not for the Handmaids.

Serena blocking out the windows of the car was just so mean.

Aunt Lydia has really drunk a LOT of cool-aid.  

That escape attempt was riveting, even though I knew it was doomed.They should have gagged the Aunt. The scene where Moira and June were separated tore my heart out. I want Moira  to be with the resistance, building an army or something

How does Dr. Donny know that he’s not sterile? Has he “Helped” other handmaids with his swimmers?

I recognized Toronto City Hall!

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The Commanders house! I drive past that house and iron gate everyday on the way home from work. I would have loved to have seen the filming of this in my city. Also loved seeing the City Hall in Toronto.

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On 5/5/2017 at 2:22 PM, Duke2801 said:

Huh?? Did I miss something. Did he rape her?  Did he "try" to rape her? No and no, as far as I saw.  I think he was honestly trying to help her. 

 

Exactly!  Smart on Offred's part to turn him down.

A doctor is in a position of authority to a patient (like teacher and student, like boss and employee) and tried to coerce her into sex. And tried to convince her that it was her best option.

Furthermore, we know that June is an EXTREMELY vulnerable position.  Literally she was in a vulnerable position.  Figuratively she is vulnerable.  She is a victim of this society that subjugates women by taking all of their agency and power away from them.  Any man that tries to have sex with a woman in this society cannot possibly be receiving consent.  Women do not have freedom, power, agency and therefore the ability to consent or have consensual sex with men.  It is a given that women in this society would be tempted to debase themselves or do what they wouldn't normally do (never consent to, never in 'a million years' think of doing in regular society) to escape the situation. Ofglen tried to give a guard a handjob so he wouldn't imprison her.

Do you think that a prisoner in jail can consent to sex with a guard?  He or she cannot.  It is the same.  Handmaidens are victims and prisoners in this society, period.  A man attempting to offer a woman in this society a quid pro quo for sex is attempting rape.

This man wanted to rape her and was attempting to.

I am very depressed that this has to be explained, and it makes me feel so physically ill that I must leave the topic, but not surprised.

Edited by Ms Blue Jay
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Speaking of Toronto City Hall: I found the scene where June and Moira were walking around the grounds with the other Handmaids, aunts and soldiers so unsettling. I’m not sure how long they were in the Red House, but they seemed so disoriented at how things on the "outside” had changed. The landscape was familiar, but still otherworldly. The photography was great. Very well done.

Edited by marinw
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1 hour ago, Ms Blue Jay said:

A doctor is in a position of authority to a patient (like teacher and student, like boss and employee) and tried to coerce her into sex. And tried to convince her that it was her best option.

Furthermore, we know that June is an EXTREMELY vulnerable position.  Literally she was in a vulnerable position.  Figuratively she is vulnerable.  She is a victim of this society that subjugates women by taking all of their agency and power away from them.  Any man that tries to have sex with a woman in this society cannot possibly be receiving consent.  Women do not have freedom, power, agency and therefore the ability to consent or have consensual sex with men.  It is a given that women in this society would be tempted to debase themselves or do what they wouldn't normally do (never consent to, never in 'a million years' think of doing in regular society) to escape the situation. Ofglen tried to give a guard a handjob so he wouldn't imprison her.

Do you think that a prisoner in jail can consent to sex with a guard?  He or she cannot.  It is the same.  Handmaidens are victims and prisoners in this society, period.  A man attempting to offer a woman in this society a quid pro quo for sex is attempting rape.

This man wanted to rape her and was attempting to.

I am very depressed that this has to be explained, and it makes me feel so physically ill that I must leave the topic, but not surprised.

FFS. He DID NOT HAVE sex with her. He offered. She refused. End of story. 

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1 hour ago, Duke2801 said:

FFS. He DID NOT HAVE sex with her. He offered. She refused. End of story. 

Thank you!!  Of all the effed up things in Gilead, that was pretty low on the list.  And certainly wasn't rape.

Edited by Canada
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11 hours ago, Emily Thrace said:

Also the "Aunt" talking to the Toronto Star is totally Moira right? That's how we're getting our second season.

I hadn't made that connection! Good theory, although Canada may have some sort of of underground railroad, so Moira may not be the only refugee aunt, handmaid, or martha.

Edited by marinw
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I find it fascinating in a story that is almost exclusively about the sexual slavery of women, people are still attempting to defend what was clearly an attempt to rape a woman. 

That she said no and he didn't doesn't make him some kind of golden boy. Only in a society where rape is commonplace and excused with religious handwaving would such a comparison even be acceptable. 

If a doctor did something like this (and it has happened) it is considered a crime. So because Offred said no that somehow reflects positively on the doctor? We should applaud him for NOT raping her? 

Is this where we are landing - applauding men for NOT being rapists? 

8 hours ago, Emily Thrace said:

Also the "Aunt" talking to the Toronto Star is totally Moira right? That's how we're getting our second season.

Sadly I don't think so.... Moira escaped at least 2 years later (as this is Offred's second posting and each posting lasts 2 years). 

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9 hours ago, Emily Thrace said:

Except its not the end of the story. In fact it actually demonstrates something essential to this story. That consent is not black and white and its sometimes more complicated than just yes or no He was her doctor it an imbalance of power at the very least, especially in Gilead where women have so little status. Just like if your boss offers you sex and you refuse its still inappropriate because it puts you in a difficult position if you refuse. He could have forced the issue and there would have been little June could do to stop it in her position. If a doctor did that in the normal world he could lose his license with good reason. Its not rape as it stands, but it would not be consensual sex even if June did agree. Or if the doctor did have good intentions. Its a distinction that important especially since  I'm sure one of the justification behind handmaids is that June and the others agreed to serve therefore it can't be rape. In fact I bet that Fred is selling that line to the Toronto Star.

Also the "Aunt" talking to the Toronto Star is totally Moira right? That's how we're getting our second season.

Yes indeed he could have.  And yes IF my boss offered me sex it would put me in a weird position. Though "offering" me sex does still not a rapist make.

But in THIS story - in THIS case - the doctor did NOT do that.  THAT is the point I am making.  Not a point about the role of men vs. women in Gilead.  NOT about society as a whole.  But in THAT scene - in THIS story - he did NOT rape her or attempt to rape her. 

And with that, I am officially out of this discussion.  

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Well, you know he did ATTEMPT. He just didn't actually follow through on it. Clearly your mileage is taking you somewhere else... which is ok. Just that others are getting to different destinations. 

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A boss "offering you sex" is not just putting you in a weird position.  It is one of the definitions of sexual harassment.  A person who has the power to fire you, power to demote you or promote you, power over your career, power over your career reputation, power over your employment, power over your salary and compensation, should not be "offering you sex".  

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexual_harassment

And in Gilead the situation with the doctor and June is even worse, in my opinion, as women do not have the rights that women even do in our society, but I talked about why it's worse upthread.

Edited by Ms Blue Jay
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On 2017-05-03 at 10:13 AM, Eyes High said:

I love that the Toronto Star got a shoutout and apparently still exists in Handmaid world. You know they'd be all over a refugee Aunt's story.

On 2017-05-15 at 9:11 PM, marinw said:

Speaking of Toronto City Hall: I found the scene where June and Moira were walking around the grounds with the other Handmaids, aunts and soldiers so unsettling. I’m not sure how long they were in the Red House, but they seemed so disoriented at how things on the "outside” had changed. The landscape was familiar, but still otherworldly. The photography was great. Very well done.

The initial reminder of the outside world via the mention of the Toronto Star was very jarring for me, since it felt out of place in the world of Gilaed, and also in a way put some distance between myself and the story as told through June's eyes, because even in this fictional world, my home seems to be relatively unaffected.

Then, that entire scene in front of Toronto City Hall had the exact opposite effect. I lived down the street from there, and it was pretty disturbing to see bodies being carted around in front of it and Gilead to be brought right to my doorstep.

On 2017-05-03 at 11:39 PM, NorthstarATL said:

 I was shocked at how much the transit station looks like the one at Peachtree Center (or at least how it used to look; it's been a while), but I liked how disoriented June and Moira were.

I was thinking it looked more like Spadina, but it's hard to tell! Definitely a TTC station, though.

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Secnarf, I'm pretty sure it's Lower Bay, the one that's right underneath Bay station, but only used for filming purposes.

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On 5/5/2017 at 11:22 AM, Duke2801 said:

Huh?? Did I miss something. Did he rape her?  Did he "try" to rape her? No and no, as far as I saw.  I think he was honestly trying to help her. 

 

Exactly!  Smart on Offred's part to turn him down.

Re: what would have happened if Offred had become pregnant in a way that was obviously due to someone other then the commander. I don't really think anything would happen. Only 3 people in the world would ever know for sure and none of them have a motivation to say anything. Offred stays alive, Serena gets a baby, The Commander gets another success story to prove the rightness of Gilead. The book is more explicit in implying that it was an open secret that most of the children were not actually children of the commanders, but no one talks about it. They need the kids and admitting that other men can get the handmaid's pregnant draws a direct line to the fertility problem being at least 50% due to the commanders being steril, which renders their little plan pointless. No one is going to admit that thousands of women are being raped for no reason. You're getting into Great Leap Forward in China territory here, but you can't talk about the lie because the lie disproves the theory that is keeping the power balance so there's a great deal of stuff everyone has to just pretend is true.

I always thought Offred turned him down because she couldn't be sure if it was a real offer or a test.

Edited by FozzyBear
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I want a spinoff detailing the adventures of Moira the Freedom Fighter and her Freedom Fighting Canadian Girlfriend. 

Edited by marinw
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On 14/05/2017 at 9:52 PM, marinw said:

Fred has a laptop! That everyday piece of technology is Gilead was so surprising, as was Fred discussing the Toronto Star and websites with Serena. I needed to be reminded that these are things that still exist, although not for the Handmaids.

I also find it interesting that in their society they not only still have internet service, but that they haven't blocked out websites from other countries. Or would that just be the kindof thing available only to commanders? 

Also if their is a UN trade embargo, how are they getting things like laptops and the kind of electronics you need to mantain an internet system? If it has been years was this some kind of fantasy 100% US made computer?

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7 hours ago, Kel Varnsen said:

Or would that just be the kindof thing available only to commanders? 

Also if their is a UN trade embargo, how are they getting things like laptops and the kind of electronics you need to mantain an internet system?

As always, the ruling class gets to keep the nice toys. And the infrastructure of roads and electricity seems to be Intact, at least in this part of Gilead, so the internet would be too, although its use would be limeted to the Commanders. 

There must be a thriveing Black Market for all kinds of things such as computers.

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5 hours ago, marinw said:

There must be a thriveing Black Market for all kinds of things such as computers.

Hasn't been said, but I presume that is where the tobacco products are coming from. 

What else do you think is in the Black Market? 

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