November 18, 1939

“Not everyone is going to like your work and if they do you’re doing something wrong. ” Margaret Atwood

via ViceLife “Iconic Author Margaret Atwood on Abortion, Twitter, and Predicting Everything We’re Doing Wrong”

Margaret Atwood Canadian Poet and Novelist is born.

Margaret Eleanor Atwood CC OOnt CH FRSC is a Canadian poet, novelist, literary critic, essayist, teacher, environmental activist, and inventor.

Margaret Atwood – Novelist – Associated Links:

Margaret Atwood – Novelist – Related Links:

  • “The Art of Fiction No. 121” | Paris Review
  • “Margaret Atwood on the real-life events that inspire ‘The Handmaids Tale’| Penguin UK
  • “Margaret Atwood: She’s ahead of everyone in the room” | The Guardian
  • “Margaret Atwood Expands the World of “The Handmaids Tale” | The New Yorker
  • “Margaret Atwood’s Dystopian Imagination” | The Nation
  • “Using What You’re Given: An Interview with Margaret Atwood” | Southwest Review
  • “Queen Elizabeth Make Margaret Atwood ‘A Companion of Honor’ | Town & Country

The Handmaids Tale – Art Imitating Life” by Debrah Pfisterer aka Sophisticate In The Suburbs™

Seventeen years before the “Handmaid’s Tale” TV series debuted, I was an English major. Senior year in college I decided to take a Margaret Atwood Seminar taught by a male professor. At the beginning of the class, I thought it was very progressive that a Male instructor wanted to teach the writings of a well respected feminist author.

When we read “The Handmaids Tale” the Professor discussed with us how the author wrote about how women were seen as either Maids, wives, or mothers. I remember getting upset because there was a fourth type of a Woman emerging. One that was single and professional. I had seen these women, who were successful in business or entertainment and who didn’t have children. What about historical figures like Gabrielle Chanel who was a businesswoman, never married, and didn’t have children? How about Gloria Steinem?

When we had to write a research paper at the end of the year, I did extensive research to demonstrate that Atwood wanted to portray Women as more than the three stereotypes in the book. After handing in my paper the professor had a meeting with me after class. He explained that I defended my argument but that he didn’t like my argument. I didn’t understand. I remember stating “But I proved my argument”.

He agreed with me and told me that I did defend my argument but he wanted me to write the argument as he saw it. He argued that Women fell into the three subservient categories Margaret Atwood demonstrated. He added that I would get an “A” if I wrote my final research paper that reflected his argument. If I chose not to reflect his argument he would grade my paper with a “C”. Taking the Seminar my Senior year, I felt the pressure of finding a job and needing a good GPA to compete with the other students. As he stared at me, I felt as if I were being blackmailed.

Worse than feeling blackmailed I was keenly aware I was experiencing the male discriminatory behavior Margaret Atwood tried to exemplify in the novel. Something inside of me hurt as right before my eyes art was imitating life. Something inside of my broke, a hope broke for the future, for my future as a successful woman as I was entering upon it.

A male professor was teaching the class not to help women realize our worth or because Margaret Atwood was a feminist writer, but to demonstrate and reinforce how the reality of men holding power over women and exercising it to demonstrate that we existed only as subservient handmaidens.