“It has become an international protest method,” Margaret Atwood shared with HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY at Variety’s Power of Women luncheon on April 13th, when we asked her about the impact her book turned Emmy-winning series The Handmaid’s Tale has had on women. “People dress up as Handmaids, and they are just there. They’re there in legislatures, they’re there outside legislatures, where people are making repressive laws and trying to move the clock back, and they can’t be thrown out because they’re not making a ruckus. They’re quite silent and modest, but everyone can look at them and see what they mean and that has gone around the world.” The Canadian novelist, who was honored by Variety for her support for AfterMeToo, a movement working to end workplace sexual violence, spoke openly of her pride — and concern — that the story she wrote in 1985 still resonates with audiences today. In fact, it may be more impactful today than it has ever been before.
In speaking of the show resonating more since Donald Trump was elected President, Margaret admitted that a lot of the second season of the show, which premieres April 25th, has been inspired by the current state of America. “It would be a very different show,” she explained when asked if Handmaid’s tale would’ve been successful if Trump had not been elected. “It would still be a very good show, but it wouldn’t be so creepily prescient, as it is right now. And, as we go into season 2, because they have situated it in the present time, rather than in 1985, they’re able to write in elements of our reality that we are living, so it gets even closer to what we like to think of as real life.” As a consulting producer on the show, she’s aware of how intense the next season of the show will become, and has weaved in her own activist influence as well, specifically her work with the AfterMeToo Movement. ” What comes after #MeToo is built-in, structural support for women in the workplace, and a fair investigative process. That’s what AfterMeToo is aiming for: a safe way of reporting and also guaranteeing that everything will be investigated by professional third parties.”
Margaret continued to comment on the state of women’s rights here in America and around the world as she spoke the room at the luncheon, pointing out that we’re living in perhaps the ‘best and worst times for women’ in history. But to her American friends, she jokingly offered sanctuary in her homeland of Canada for anyone who wished to escape the Trump era in our country. And with that, she segued into speaking of how real her story the ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ has become in 2018. “[The show’s] no longer a story about something that couldn’t happen,” she said during her speech. ” It has become a story already in process. That is why the iconic red costume with the red hat has become an immediately recognizable protest symbol around the world. It’s a little too real.”
She’s got a point there. And she wasn’t the only one. Every woman who spoke at the luncheon, which was presented by Lifetime, and sponsored by Karma Automotive and SheaMoisture, made powerful statements about how the advancement of women is crucial around the world. From Emily Blunt speaking to the power of education for young girls, to Viola Davis, who spoke to us EXCLUSIVELY to HollywoodLife about how having more women behind the scenes in the entertainment industry is crucial to telling more female stories, which will inspire the next generation. It was truly an empowering event !