Abortion Bans and Handmaid Protests

The Connectedness of The Handmaid's Tale to the Disruption of Reproductive Rights


DOI: https://doi.org/10.6018/ijes.558371
Keywords: Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale, Ronald Reagan, Donald Trump, Abortion, Reproductive rights, Dystopia, Feminism, Intersectionality, Performative protests


Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale has gained relevance in recent years due to the popularity of the series adaptation by showrunner Bruce Miller. The genesis of the novel is tightly bound to the sociopolitical context in which it was conceived in the 1980s while the show was released just a few months after Donald Trump’s election, both contexts marked by the looming threat of the limitation of access to safe abortion. The aim of this article is to analyze The Handmaid’s Tale as a cultural artifact that transcends the fictional realm and has spilled into the real world by inspiring a global protest movement against restrictions on reproductive rights. While the handmaid protest movement has garnered media attention, its articulation and effectiveness present limitations.


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Author Biography

Sara Tabuyo-Santaclara, Universidade de Vigo

Sara Tabuyo-Santaclara is a predoctoral researcher at University of Vigo, under contract from the Xunta de Galicia since 2021. She is a member of the Research Feminar: Feminisms and Resistance, within the wider research group BiFeGa: Literary and Cultural Studies, Translation and Interpretation (Ref. ED431C-2020/04), and she is affiliated to the Interuniversity Research Centre for Atlantic Cultural Landscapes (CISPAC). Her PhD thesis analyzes representations of girlhood in The Handmaid’s Tale Universe. Her main research interests are feminist, cultural and gender studies, as well as critical race theory and postcolonial literatures.


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How to Cite
Tabuyo-Santaclara, S. (2024). Abortion Bans and Handmaid Protests: The Connectedness of The Handmaid’s Tale to the Disruption of Reproductive Rights. International Journal of English Studies, 24(1), 135–151. https://doi.org/10.6018/ijes.558371