In these increasingly troublesome times, it feels more important than ever to cling to forms of media that feel poignant. And as the new teaser for The Handmaid's Tale appears to prove, it could be one of the most significant dramas of our time. Though we're only treated to brief glimpses of scenes and dialogue in the 30-second teaser, the sheer fortitude of powerful, feminist commentary exhibited in it is tremendously inspiring for women to see. And it features the sort of tasters of dialogue and visuals that feel painfully relevant within our current political landscape.
Based on Margaet Atwood's seminal novel, The Handmaid's Tale is a dystopian drama in which women are treated as the property of a cruel, fundamentalist regime. The story is set within Gilead, a totalitarian society that was formerly part of the United States. It's a society where the last remaining fertile women of the land are forced into sexual servitude in order to repopulate a world savaged by environmental disasters.
The teaser trailer shows Offred (Elizabeth Moss) talking about having "another baby," an act which is "forbidden now," before being taken away from her son to serve her duty as a still-fertile woman. The impact of that act and the nefarious, horrifying world in which The Handmaid's Tale is set are shown within the short, powerful vignettes of the teaser.
But it's the final line of "my name is Offred, and I intend to survive" that's sure to get your blood pumping.
It's a line that feels essential for now. A line that demonstrates the crucial need to be treated as an individual, rather than a faceless mass — and as a human, rather than an object. It's also a line that demonstrates the strength of survivors of all kinds, and of the willingness to fight and do whatever it takes to ensure that.
At such a moment in time when women in the U.S and across the world are all fighting for sexual and bodily autonomy, safety, and respect, Offred's line could easily be adopted by any one of us as a personal call to action in defending our human rights. Because it isn't just a line that explains the value of women, or the importance of fighting for our own protection and freedoms. It's also a line that boldly declares the value of each woman. We have names. We are living. We are worthy.
The teaser even manages to draw eerie parallels to current affairs in the words of The Commander (Joseph Fiennes), as he attempts to defend the horrifying, unethical actions of his regime. Turning to an emotional Offred, he solemnly states, "We only wanted to make the world better... Better never means better for everyone."
These are words that ring heavy in the current aftermath of President Trump's "Make America Great Again" campaign. Be it signing executive orders pertaining to refugee and immigrant rights to enter the U.S or ones pertaining to a woman's right to choose, it's clear that the process of making America great again doesn't necessarily mean great for everyone either.
Perhaps one of the most striking visuals from the teaser is that of Ofglen (Alexis Bledel), with fear in her eyes and a lower face mask obstructing her mouth and voice, being led down a hall by two male guards. It's a chilling image for the juxtaposition implicit in it; Ofglen's eyes are those of a woman screaming. However, she's completely and forcibly silent.
The Handmaid's Tale teaser has genuinely got me excited for the 10-episode drama adaptation. But within those 30-seconds it also managed to remind me to speak out and be heard, remain strong, and, most of all, to survive. If only 30-seconds worth of The Handmaid's Tale managed to achieve that, then I've got a feeling that the full length of the drama will have a lot of us feeling charged up, powerful, and ready to fight for ourselves.