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Tara Ariano

S01.E04: Nolite Te Bastardes Carborundorum

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On 5/23/2017 at 0:19 PM, EC Amber said:

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? 

The magazines the Commander keeps around. It was implied that it was an old magazine but we didn't see the date.

Also sexy underwear to wear under your loose dress.

Edited by marinw

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On 5/20/2017 at 6:42 PM, kingshearte said:

Conceiving a baby is the paramount thing that trumps everything else.

This is only true for the people in power, the Gilead.  This cannot be assumed for all the people who are victims of the government.

Remember that when Offred and Ofglen did not know each other they assumed each other to be pious True Believers.  A lot of women in this society are hiding their true feelings so as not to be killed.

Women are being raped as part of this 'society'.  Women are not allowed their own agency, choices, opinions, freedom, sexual liberation, relationships, love, even things like friendships or reading.  None of this is allowed.  Without those things at hand, how can women make actual "choices"?  How can you call the decisions those women make in that type of situation real "decisions"?  There is almost no free will. There is no education.  So there is no consent. Again I give the analogy of a prison.  The doctor is just basically offering Ofglen another type of rape than the one she's normally used to.  Sure, the doctor may not have offered this solution in any other society -- but Ofglen would definitely not want to have sex with her doctor in any other situation, either!  Like others have pointed out, he could have inseminated her, then there's no type of sex whether forced or not involved.  Boom, problem solved.  There are so many things at hand that make that doctor's "offer" too nefarious for me to accept as good.  

Women are like the slaves of this society.  Men and older women are the masters.  The doctor would be included in the master class.  Not a confidant or a friend.  If the doctor was a confidant or a friend he'd come up with another solution that doesn't involve the doctor penetrating June and getting off.

Edited by Ms Blue Jay
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I am torn by the whole doctor thing.  Sex would have been the fastest way, and they could have been interrupted at any moment.  On the other hand, if he had prepared sperm ready to go inserting it might not be difficult, but where would he store the sperm and where would he get the instruments?  His surroundings seem very basic, and having stored sperm could get him killed.

Maybe he just wanted to get off.  Maybe he really is trying to help.  I honestly couldn't tell.

I do think I might have said yes, were I in Offred's place.  The benefits would outweigh the price for me.  One kid guarantees she would never be sent to the colonies, and in a few years when my child bearing days are less promising, I might have a chance of escape. 

My biggest concern would be whether or not the doctor was setting me up.  That just makes no logical sense though, they still wouldn't kill me, they'd still want my womb.  They would maim me, sure, but why would this all be a set up just to maim me?  They can do that anytime they want to anyway, with no reason required.

I would have done it.  His risks are as big as mine, mutually assured destruction, only he would be hung, I'd be kept alive.

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1 hour ago, Umbelina said:

I would have done it.  His risks are as big as mine, mutually assured destruction, only he would be hung, I'd be kept alive.

I am well past my baby-making best before date, so it would be Marthadom or Colonies for me. But if I were June, I would have done it too.

It is so easy for us to be judgey of June and Dr. Donnie. But we don’t live in Gilead.

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12 hours ago, marinw said:

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.

It is interesting that they were burning books and works of art, but they haven't completely clamped down on internet access. 

On 20/05/2017 at 6:42 PM, kingshearte said:

. It's almost certainly not entirely altruistic, because, of course, it means he gets to have sex — maybe it's the only way he gets to, because who knows if a doctor is considered important enough to be issued a woman. But getting something out of himself doesn't necessarily make the entire intention bad.

Another layer to consider is that handmaids get basically no physical contact. The only time they are touched is during the ceremony, and that contact is as limited as possible. There are studies that have shown that being deprived of all contact is actually bad for health. So in a way, he's also offering a little extra human contact, which is helpful. And — and I'll acknowledge that this is super effed up — there's also the possibility that, although it would still have to be pretty quick, it could be more enjoyable sex for both parties than the utterly unsexy and unenjoyable sex that is a handmaid's usual lot. So between that and the potential for pregnancy, it's not an entirely one-sided beneficial arrangement, as much as it seriously squicks me out to even say that.

Yea it is weird. The scene with the commander and his wife makes me think that sex is only allowed with handmaids and only for procreation. Does that mean that anyone without a handmaid is not allowed to be having any sex. So in that case it could just be an offer. Also what level of society are doctors on in comparison to handmaids? June is absolutely a prisoner in this society, but we don't really know that the doctor isn't one as well. Also keep in mind that the last time we heard about someone raping a handmaid, his punishment was being brutally murdered by other handmaids.

Also if sex is only for procreation why does the ceremony only happen once a month?

Edited by Kel Varnsen
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Im behind watching these, and overall I think they're  very well done, very disturbing - hard to watch

A nitpick I didn't see mentioned in the thread: making one sassy comment gets your eye plucked out, but actually escaping just gets your feet whipped? While I'm sure that was very painful, it clearly did heal, while Janine's eye can't grow back. Doesn't make sense. 

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On 5/3/2017 at 2:32 AM, chocolatine said:

...Offred being called by the name Waterford, the doctor trying to pressure her into sex.

Loved your post, but on this one point...It could be because I had a different impression of that scene from the book, which carried over to my impression of the scene in the show, but I didn't think he was pressuring her into sex. And now I realize why. In the book, the doctor makes much more clear that his offer might save her life, because if Waterford is shooting blanks, and she fails ever to get pregnant by him, she's over; but if the doctor impregnates her, everyone will think the child is Waterford's, and she'll at least be allowed to continue her existence. Not that there aren't "benefits" for the doctor as well, obviously, but for some reason the primary characteristic I attached to the doctor in the book was humane. 

Edited to add: I now see that others have said much the same thing. So consider this post a "me too."

Edited by Milburn Stone
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I am behind at watching this.  Just a few observations:

- Someone upthread asked why no teenagers or kids around.  This is a society with difficulties to conceive before the coup by religious zealots.  Plus only 1 in 5 babies survived.  So there should be very small number of kids to begin with and they are most likely imprisoned in indoctrination center somewhere for their "education".

- My first impression of the doctor was he was very creepy individual who used his position to force himself on the oppressed.  However, upon watching the confirmation of Offered limited time in the next episode, I could see how the doc actually being helpful considering the social setting.

- Doctor's comment about the commander's infertility made a lot of sense.  He basically tried with 3 different women (wife, handmaid1, Ofred) and failed to bring out an heir.  There is a singular common denominator here.

- Also, how did the Eye decided which woman is considered blessed with fertility?  If there was a genetic test done, wouldn't it be easier to test all commanders' wives to make sure they did not have the defect? Or better yet, why not test the commanders?  If the ultimate goal is increased child birth, then it is a HUGE waste of time to pair up rare fertile handmaids with infertile males.

Most likely they are afraid to be seen as less manly when they are proven infertile.  However, at least to me it does not make sense to continually stroking their egos at the risk of human extinction.

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2 hours ago, DarkRaichu said:

However, at least to me it does not make sense to continually stroking their egos at the risk of human extinction.

No, it doesn't make sense - but this society wasn't designed with the purpose of furthering the welfare or health of society. Of course they told themselves it did - because that's a great way to rationalize what they actually did. These Commanders are more than willing to keep shooting blanks into rape victims right up until the last flickering light of fertility goes out. Look at politicians and the environment. 

Now, how much of that is awareness coupled with a psychopathic lack of empathy (Fred) and how much is religious delusion (his wife Serena Joy) is anyone's guess. 

Edited by EC Amber · Reason: edited because words are hard
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On 5/23/2017 at 11:34 AM, Umbelina said:

I am torn by the whole doctor thing.  Sex would have been the fastest way, and they could have been interrupted at any moment.  On the other hand, if he had prepared sperm ready to go inserting it might not be difficult, but where would he store the sperm and where would he get the instruments?  His surroundings seem very basic, and having stored sperm could get him killed.

Maybe he just wanted to get off.  Maybe he really is trying to help.  I honestly couldn't tell.

I do think I might have said yes, were I in Offred's place.  The benefits would outweigh the price for me.  One kid guarantees she would never be sent to the colonies, and in a few years when my child bearing days are less promising, I might have a chance of escape. 

My biggest concern would be whether or not the doctor was setting me up.  That just makes no logical sense though, they still wouldn't kill me, they'd still want my womb.  They would maim me, sure, but why would this all be a set up just to maim me?  They can do that anytime they want to anyway, with no reason required.

I would have done it.  His risks are as big as mine, mutually assured destruction, only he would be hung, I'd be kept alive.

I haven't read the book in decades but from the show alone I felt like it was suggesting it was at least 60% for his own pleasure.  The fact he stroked her leg suggested so, and that he didn't peek around the curtain to speak to her directly until the very end.  But I think it was supposed to have a lot of ambiguity, too.

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4 hours ago, Umbelina said:

They went by who got pregnant and bore a healthy child, and who didn't. 

Ok. I must have misssed where they mentioned that.  However, how did that explain how Moira got to the the red center?  When did she have her child and where was the child in the flashbacks?

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16 minutes ago, DarkRaichu said:

Ok. I must have misssed where they mentioned that.  However, how did that explain how Moira got to the the red center?  When did she have her child and where was the child in the flashbacks?

I honestly don't remember, but I don't think Moira did have a child on the show.  I think they may have chosen her as a handmaid just in case she could, since she hadn't slept with men?

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3 hours ago, Umbelina said:

I honestly don't remember, but I don't think Moira did have a child on the show.  I think they may have chosen her as a handmaid just in case she could, since she hadn't slept with men?

Why would red center wants virgins?  If anything, the fertility of virgins is unknown. Since the Commanders surely do not have any problems with fertility (heh), they would rather have women with track records (ie child) as handmaids 
Now if she was gay, the Eye would still need some kind of proof of her fertility (ie. previously bearing a child) for them to overlook her sexual orientation.  Apparently they hang infertile gay women as shown in the case of Ofglen and her wife.

Either way, if having previous child is a requirement and Moira never had any child, then she shouldn't be in that center to begin with
 

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24 minutes ago, DarkRaichu said:

Why would red center wants virgins?  If anything, the fertility of virgins is unknown. Since the Commanders surely do not have any problems with fertility (heh), they would rather have women with track records (ie child) as handmaids 
Now if she was gay, the Eye would still need some kind of proof of her fertility (ie. previously bearing a child) for them to overlook her sexual orientation.  Apparently they hang infertile gay women as shown in the case of Ofglen and her wife.

Either way, if having previous child is a requirement and Moira never had any child, then she shouldn't be in that center to begin with
 

She was gay, so hardly a "virgin."  No idea other than the one idea I gave.  I don't think the book elaborated much either, but you should ask in the book questions thread in case someone remembers more than I do.

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IIRC, any woman of childbearing age who *might* be fertile was put in the Handmaid program. They didn't know if Moira could have children or not.

 

Also the point of Gilead was to oppress women, not really to repopulate the Earth. But that discussion is better for the Book thread.

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I really love Moira. She saw things a lot more clearly than June, who was complacent for much longer. Her most badass moment was in the stall when she's carving 'Aunt Lydia sux' into the stall wall, ans June warns her that they'll cut her hand off if they find her. Is it worth it? Moira's assured yes was a thing of beauty.

I was shocked they even had a doctor. Why the hell wasn't he around when Janine was giving birth?

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1 hour ago, bijoux said:

I really love Moira. She saw things a lot more clearly than June, who was complacent for much longer. Her most badass moment was in the stall when she's carving 'Aunt Lydia sux' into the stall wall, ans June warns her that they'll cut her hand off if they find her. Is it worth it? Moira's assured yes was a thing of beauty.

I was shocked they even had a doctor. Why the hell wasn't he around when Janine was giving birth?

Most doctors, especially ob/gyn's were killed, but they probably had to keep a couple around for emergencies, probably guys who refused to give abortions or possibly even birth control earlier in their lives. 

They believe in "natural" everything, so natural home birth is a requirement in Gilead.  Someone said the doctor and team were outside the house on the show "just in case."  I didn't see it, but it would make sense. 

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6 hours ago, bijoux said:

Why the hell wasn't he around when Janine was giving birth?

Women must suffer during childbirth. Which is a bit flip, I admit. They (leadership of Gilead), being men, have draped virtually all of procreation in a variety of state-controlled ritual. The handmaid's aid the handmaid giving birth, the wives see to the wives. Childbirth is women's work. 

 

On 6/1/2017 at 3:40 AM, NoSpam said:

Also the point of Gilead was to oppress women, not really to repopulate the Earth. But that discussion is better for the Book thread.

It seems pretty clear that is a driving element of the tv show. Seems relevant for discussion... 

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I know this is supposed to be set in Cambridge/Boston but nothing looks like it. Just bugs me a bit.  The subway station they went to is in Back Bay of Boston but the buildings were not like that area at all.  I wonder why they reference that area but have no intention of using actual skylines etc.  

Edited by Xcptnl
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On 2017-5-16 at 1:04 AM, 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.
...
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.

Women in this society don't know their own minds, cannot give consent, cannot make the choice to have to have sex? That sounds like the sort of view the authorities in this society have too - I find it bizarre that in a world about taking away choice, people would defend that.

Indeed, consider the view about the "rapist" convicted earlier in the season, that he may have just been a man who'd had consensual sex with a handmaid (which the authorities would view as rape) - are you saying that's right, that it'd still be rape?

Sure, the doctor is a creep at best (due to not offering to do it artificially), and possibly breaking other laws, though that doesn't make it rape. If a woman - even a handmaid - meets someone and wants to have sex with them, says yes, that's rape?

Spoiler

And indeed, we see this in Episode 5 - was the last scene with Nick also rape?

 

 

Emily Thrace: "That consent is not black and white and its sometimes more complicated than just yes or no"

Indeed it's not black and white, but that applies to the earlier view that all sex with women in this society is rape. The complexity is that she's coerced into it by the threat of needing to make a baby, though that's not a threat from the doctor. The doctor might be seen as supporting that though. I don't think this would apply to sex in general though in this society.

 

"Just like if your boss offers you sex and you refuse its still inappropriate"

Is it inappropriate, or is it rape? These are very different things!

 

Ms Blue Jay: "It is one of the definitions of sexual harassment."

Yes, not rape.
 

Edited by mdwh
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41 minutes ago, mdwh said:

Women in this society don't know their own minds, cannot give consent, cannot make the choice to have to have sex? That sounds like the sort of view the authorities in this society have too - I find it bizarre that in a world about taking away choice, people would defend that.

Indeed, consider the view about the "rapist" convicted earlier in the season, that he may have just been a man who'd had consensual sex with a handmaid (which the authorities would view as rape) - are you saying that's right, that it'd still be rape?

Sure, the doctor is a creep at best (due to not offering to do it artificially), and possibly breaking other laws, though that doesn't make it rape. If a woman - even a handmaid - meets someone and wants to have sex with them, says yes, that's rape?

  Reveal hidden contents

And indeed, we see this in Episode 5 - was the last scene with Nick also rape?

 

 

Emily Thrace: "That consent is not black and white and its sometimes more complicated than just yes or no"

Indeed it's not black and white, but that applies to the earlier view that all sex with women in this society is rape. The complexity is that she's coerced into it by the threat of needing to make a baby, though that's not a threat from the doctor. The doctor might be seen as supporting that though. I don't think this would apply to sex in general though in this society.

 

"Just like if your boss offers you sex and you refuse its still inappropriate"

Is it inappropriate, or is it rape? These are very different things!

 

Ms Blue Jay: "It is one of the definitions of sexual harassment."

Yes, not rape.
 

You're making statements that I did not say and implying I said them.

You're also misunderstanding what I did say.

1. "Women in this society don't know their own minds,"  =  I never said that.

2.  Women cannot give consent , cannot make choices = Women can give consent and make choices, but it's not the type of consent that we know.  We, in our society, can refuse to have sex with a man and there's a GOOD chance, not a 100% chance, that we won't get killed or harmed for it.  If these women in Gilead refuse to have sex with a man, they can be killed for it.

3.  "I find it bizarre that in a world about taking away choice, people would defend that."  100% not defending the society or women's lack of choice at all.

4.  "Indeed, consider the view about the "rapist" convicted earlier in the season, that he may have just been a man who'd had consensual sex with a handmaid (which the authorities would view as rape) - are you saying that's right, that it'd still be rape?"  Nope.  You're conflating what I said with an entirely different event and stating a viewpoint that I didn't posit.

5.  A woman in this Gilead society having sex has a consent that is incredibly compromised.  It is not a 100% free consent.  Even in a patriarchal society like ours, some view that consent women give is not entirely uncompromised, as there are many known cases where a man has beaten or killed a woman who has rejected him.  If you don't believe me, look up statistics for domestic assault, violence, or spousal homicide, etc.  But it's a lot more uncompromised than in Gilead.

6.  A boss offering to have sex with you in THIS society - OURS - is sexual harassment.  A man forcing a woman to have sex with him for procreation, when he knows the woman is forced into it through threats of harm or murder, as in the society of Gilead, is rape.  Don't bother confusing the two unrelated examples in some strange attempt to try to make a point or argument.

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OK, while it's entirely understandable that June would utilise being in good graces with the Commander to get released from her room, she's made herself Serena Joy's enemy. Now you can say Serena Joy had it coming, but it might not be the smartest move. Actually, I'm kind of interested in getting a flashback from Serena Joy's perspective: she seems to be unhappy with the state of affairs that she helped create (understandably, perhaps) but I'd be curious as to know why she supported the regime in the first place. I guess she wouldn't be he first person to support a repressive society and then go, "Hey, I didn't mean I should be among the repressed!" It reminds me of Martin Niemoeller's saying:

"First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me."

On ‎03‎/‎05‎/‎2017 at 8:59 AM, AnswersWanted said:

The scene where Moira took her chance to escape, knowing she had to leave her friend behind, even as June gave her the okay, was heartbreaking.

I loved June's little smile to say, "At least one of us got away". I also wondered if Moira was the "aunt" that was decrying the regime at the UN that the Commander was worrying about (though the timeline probably doesn't work for that).

Maybe this story just brings it out or perhaps I have a really sick imagination, but I was sure June was going to be anally raped after she was strapped down on that table. They've already shown there's no line they won't cross and it shouldn't harm her "precious" ovaries. But the "It's so awful that you're making me do this to you!" as the aunt beat her was very reminiscent of every supposedly "loving" abuser.

On ‎04‎/‎05‎/‎2017 at 2:50 AM, stagmania said:

I'm sure the doctor tells himself that he's acting out of kindness and goodwill. No doubt some of the handmaidens are willing to let him do it in the hopes it will increase their chance of pregnancy.

That was my take. While he's clearly helping himself, I could believe he really does think he's improving the lot of the Handmaids, in a small way.

On ‎04‎/‎05‎/‎2017 at 6:39 AM, FozzyBear said:

I also cried, big ugly tears when all the handmaids brought June food they had smuggled in to make sure she ate. It was the most hopeful thing I've seen in months.

It was about the most hopeful and genuinely kind actions we've seen in four episodes. Sisters of the world unite!

On ‎01‎/‎06‎/‎2017 at 7:55 AM, DarkRaichu said:

Why would red center wants virgins?  If anything, the fertility of virgins is unknown.

Yes, but presumably Gilead has its ambitions establishing a "1000 Year Reich" and will have to find new Handmaids from somewhere.

On ‎15‎/‎06‎/‎2017 at 1:39 PM, EC Amber said:

Women must suffer during childbirth. Which is a bit flip, I admit. They (leadership of Gilead), being men, have draped virtually all of procreation in a variety of state-controlled ritual.

That one has Biblical provenance, sadly (and has been used - by men, mainly - to oppose giving women painkillers during childbirth):

"In pain shall you bring forth children" (Genesis 3:16)

On ‎05‎/‎05‎/‎2017 at 7:25 AM, boes said:

if they're going by their Bible, incest isn't really a problem.  See Lot and his daughters, Noah and his sons.

Actually, there are several biblical injunctions against incest (of various degrees) and while those cases (and for that matter, Adam & Eve's children) would necessarily involve sexual relations between close family, they were all in Genesis, before the laws were laid down (in Leviticus and Deuteronomy).

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I keep thinking about the scene with the doctor. I know that people have varying opinions of it, but the more I think about it, the more I like it. 

He wasn't wrong; they WOULD blame her if she didn't become pregnant. While the idea of sleeping with him to get pregnant so that she wouldn't be tortured or sent to the Colonies was hardly a "choice", I actually see what the doctor did as extending a bit of kindness towards her. He asked, she declined, he let it go. Nothing more after that. I've read all the comments on here and on Reddit about this being a form of rape because she doesn't REALLY have a choice in the matter when it comes to getting pregnant but I just didn't see the doctor's offer as malicious. I wonder if it would've been more acceptable if he'd offered to inseminate her using another method, like a turkey baster? 

I must be honest...if I was on my third posting and knew that the commander was probably sterile, I would have considered his offer. Self preservation is a strong thing. 

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On 11/5/2017 at 2:40 PM, mamadrama said:

I wonder if it would've been more acceptable if he'd offered to inseminate her using another method, like a turkey baster? 

I think so- that way it’s actual about helping her conceive, not fulfilling his own need for partnered sex with someone who is in a desparate situation. 

Yes- when she declined he let it go, but his intentions weren’t pure. 

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On ‎5‎.‎11‎.‎2017 at 10:40 PM, mamadrama said:

I keep thinking about the scene with the doctor. I know that people have varying opinions of it, but the more I think about it, the more I like it. 

He wasn't wrong; they WOULD blame her if she didn't become pregnant. While the idea of sleeping with him to get pregnant so that she wouldn't be tortured or sent to the Colonies was hardly a "choice", I actually see what the doctor did as extending a bit of kindness towards her. He asked, she declined, he let it go. Nothing more after that. I've read all the comments on here and on Reddit about this being a form of rape because she doesn't REALLY have a choice in the matter when it comes to getting pregnant but I just didn't see the doctor's offer as malicious. I wonder if it would've been more acceptable if he'd offered to inseminate her using another method, like a turkey baster? 

To me the doctor's "kindness" reminded me of a camp boss who selects one of the woman prisoners and gives her food and shelter and spares her for heavy work in return of sex. The result is that she keeps living when others die. But can we really call him kind?

Of course it would be more acceptable if he would just inseminate her because then he would have no benefit for it.

Also, what colors the scene that he made his supposition when she was already laying in the table. Why didn't even he ask when she wasn't at his mercy but standing/sitting and fully clothed?   

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