100 Sci Fi women #4: Offred

Lest it appear that women must wield guns to appear in this list, a change of pace…

Offred   The Handmaid’s Tale Margaret Attwood

In a way it is wrong to refer to her as Offred, the name bestowed upon her by the repressive sexist society she is dragged into. As a “Haidmaid” her role is to carry the children of the high ranked men of society, pregnancies which are harder and harder to achieve due to the toll that environmental toxins are taking on society. In the world before the revolution which oppresses women, she has a family and is the daughter of a radical feminist. In the new world her husband has been taken and probably killed, her daughter taken from her and she has seen her best friend tortured. Despite being stripped of friends, her husband, daughter, mother, freedom and even her name, and despite the fact she considers suicide, she finds a way to survive, learn, communicate, protect herself, live, fight and even, almost love again. We hope that in the end she does find her way to safety, even if we can’t know this. She survives something we would find unthinkable and unbearable, but she doesn’t survive without pain and anguish.

I want Luke here so badly. I want to be held and told my name. I want to be valued, in ways that I am not; I want to be more than valuable. I repeat my former name, remind myself of what I once could do, how others saw me.

I want to steal something.