Structures of Slavery and The Handmaid’s Tale

(via culteress)

The Handmaid’s Tale is a modern classic story of one woman’s slavery in a dystopian post-America society. Recently adapted into a show on Hulu, its sixth episode (“A Woman’s Place”) is the first to seriously deviate from the plot of the original novel. Earlier I wondered how Hulu was going to further explore and expand the world of Gilead, and how that would impact the show’s feminist messages. With “A Woman’s Place”, Hulu has started to deliver. We see different women in different positions of power and oppression. Serena Joy takes center stage, but we also spend time with June/Offred (our titular Handmaid) as well as two other women. Each woman tells us something different about the way we respond to slavery.

Spoilers for Episode 6 of The Handmaid’s Tale and warnings for slavery and sex trafficking below.

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Sexualized Saturdays: The Sexist & Racist Themes Portrayed Through the Orion Slave Girls

Ah, Star Trek, a TV show that gives us a glimpse of a utopian future where everyone in the Federation is equal and the government secretly looks the other way and even condones sex trafficking. Wait—what was that second part? Oh, nothing much. Just the conveniently overlooked fact that in order to keep at least somewhat peaceful relations with the Orion Syndicate, the Federation sometimes ignores and even sometimes seems to condone sex trafficking. But hey, it’s okay, right? Because the Orion women like being taken advantage of and sold as slaves…

Yep, one of my least favorite things about the Star Trek universe will forever and always be the Orion slave girls.

Trigger warning for rape, rape culture, rape apologism, sexism, racism, abuse, sex trafficking, and slavery after the jump.

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Theatre Thursdays: Sex Work as Portrayed in Musicals

We at Lady Geek Girl and Friends are ardent supporters of sex workers’ rights and sex positivity. Because of this, we find the portrayal of sex workers in musicals, well, troubling at best. As with many other forms of media, prostitution is shown as pretty much the lowest possible rung a woman can reach. Sometimes it’s used as a code word that means ‘she has a tragic backstory’; sometimes it’s used to show just how low she has been brought. Either way, if you’re a sex worker in a musical, odds are you’re gonna have a bad time.

anne-hathaway-fantine-les-miserablesFantine from Les Miserables probably comes to mind first. Fantine, left with no other way, is forced to turn to prostitution. Her compatriots, who all seem to be hookers with hearts of gold sing raucously about their trade at first and seem to be pretty content with their lot, but as Fantine’s situation worsens, their lyrics as well as her lyrics get more and more tragic:

[Ensemble] Lovely ladies, going for a song

Got a lot of callers but they never stay for long

[Fantine] Come on, captain, you can wear your shoes

Don’t it make a change to have a girl who can’t refuse

Easy money, lying on a bed,

just as well they never see the hate that’s in your head

don’t they know they’re making love to one already dead?

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