Tag Archives: male dominance

“Freedom from” vs. “Freedom to”

In The Handsmaid Tale, freedom of women is something that is not talked about much. The women just do as they are told and live by the rules. In Chapter 5, Aunt Lydia says to Offred,“There is more than one kind of freedom, said Aunt Lydia.  Freedom to and freedom from.  In the days of anarchy, it was freedom to.  Now you are being given freedom from.  Don’t underrate it.” This quote says a lot about freedom; it hints to Offred not to take the type of freedom she has “for granted” because things could be a lot “worse”. Freedom from, the type of freedom Aunt Lydia says Offred has, can be defined as protection or security. A few lines before this quote, we see the words “Women were not protected then.” This gives us the hint that freedom to during the “days of anarchy” must have been when women were not protected. Now, what Offred has, freedom from, keeps her confined, from whom?  Men. Men are no longer able to speak, touch, or make any typeof contact with them. The text states, “Now we walk along the same street, in red pairs, and no man shouts obscenities at us, speaks to us, touches us. No one whistles.” This type of freedom, freedom from, can be a good and a bad thing. Good, because the women are somewhat protected from men and out of harm’s way. Bad, because now women may have a hard time finding a soulmate, or possible husband. Also, sex life for them is also scarce. Aunt Lydia tells Offred “not to underrate it” because in some way, it is better than freedom to. Overall, in my opinion, it’s a “lose-lose” situation. Women can not have total freedom. They can not have their own voice or do what they please in either situation. Men will always have the “upper hand” and control them. As in today’s society, the male gender is the dominant gender. This is a reoccuring trend in society which may never be reversed.


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