Race, Intersectionality, and the End of the World: The Problem with The Handmaid’s Tale

by Shannon Gibney and Lori Askeland

Hulu’s reboot of The Handmaid’s Tale opens with a car chase: the protagonist (Elisabeth Moss), who will later be called “Offred,” is racing with her husband Luke (O-T Fagbenle) and daughter Hannah (Jordana Blake) in their faded, old model Volvo through a frozen landscape, sirens of their invisible pursuers wailing.

The decision to introduce us to Offred as a member of an interracial family revealed an obvious break from the overwhelmingly white world of the novel and 1990 movie. Many reviewers construed that fact — and the powerful presence of Samira Wiley in the role of Offred’s badass lesbian friend, Moira — as undeniable evidence that the series would be more intersectional in its approach to feminist themes than the novel had been.  (“There’s intersectionality, too, with Moira, a lesbian, played by a black actress, Ms. Wiley,” was the breezy quip of the New York Times’ Katrina Onstad.) But sadly, bodies of color alone do not a liberatory racial narrative make. Indeed, a deeper look at the series shows the uncomplicated, and therefore, problematic effects of this “colorblind” casting.

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The Happy Hour Review: Colossal is Basically White Feminism

I watch, I drink, I spit hot fire. Yup, you guessed it, spoilers ahead.

Colossal checked off a lot of boxes for what I would theoretically enjoy in a movie. Directed by Nacho Vigalondo, it is often funny, surprisingly dark, and an inventive new take on kaiju movies. I like all those things. The lead, Gloria, is easy to root for as played by star Anne Hathaway. And Jason Sudeikis impresses as Gloria’s friend and eventual foil, Oscar. For about half of the movie, I found this all very enjoyable.

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My Love/Hate Relationship with HBO’s Girls

Girls is over. I have a lot of feelings about this show, if you’re aware of the criticism surrounding it, then yes I’m going to dabble into that. As well as some of the parts I actually liked. If you don’t want to read this whole essay, then it’s fine. To sum up how I feel: I showed up for Adam Driver and developed a love-hate relationship with the series overall. Brace yourselves, this is going to be long.

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