Jenner Insulated from Dystopian Reality
The revelation that Kylie Jenner held a Handmaid’s Tale fancy dress party is in one sense hardly shocking. This is a woman who has lived her whole life protected by vast wealth and with a limited understanding of the real world. It is nonetheless an extraordinarily crass decision by the reality TV star.
Out in the real world the Handmaid’s tale is not a work of fiction but rather an ever growing reality. As more and more states strip women of their reproductive rights, we move closer and closer to a new United States similar to that envisioned in Margaret Atwood’s novel. The lack of regard for democratic norms shown by President Trump is a sign of the drift towards totalitarianism in our country. Likewise his disturbing alliance with Christian fundamentalists is another sign of reality mirroring fiction. At the moment this trend is reflected in the abortion bans in many Southern states but there is reason to believe that the novel, now also a highly successful series, may in fact be a prophetic text.
Should Trump, as seems likely, lose the next election many pundits have questioned whether he would willingly leave office or whether he would dispute the result and seek to subvert the democratic will. In this scenario a civil war would be almost inevitable thus fulfilling another of Atwood’s predictions. Trump’s constant wooing of the military industrial complex might well give him the edge in any such conflict. At a time of soaring deficits Trump has poured Trillions of dollars into the military and is likely to have a strong base of support amongst the non-college educated troops who make up the majority of the armed forces.
Equally prescient is the setting of the novel in a time of environmental crisis and collapsing fertility rates among westerners. In this scenario the conscription of more fertile young
women to consolidate the ranks of the privileged would virtually be a necessity. In addition the shocking disparities in wealth which now exist in the United States can surely only withstand the rising popularity of Socialism through suppression and dictatorship. The most popular politician in the United States today is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez whose popularity is based on her fearless critique of the capitalist system and more and more young people are questioning a system which seems rigged in favour of the privileged. The rallying cry of Trump and his allies would clearly be something that he has already declared: “America will never be a Socialist country”.
It would be no surprise then that such a dictatorship should seek to legitimize itself through a new moral crusade with the bible as it’s justification and that inevitably women would be blamed for the sins of men and cast in the roles of harlots, housekeepers and baby machines. Meanwhile a few privileged women would collaborate with the regime just as the Nazi wives did in Germany. So what may seem like a joke to Kylie Jenner and her privileged class feels increasingly real to the majority of women in America and anything but funny.
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