10 Most Terrifying Laws in Gilead on The Handmaid’s Tale


The Handmaid’s Tale viewers are no strangers to the horrific scenes laid out in the show, the dreadful nature of Gilead and how the elite treat those underneath them. But over the seasons viewers have also seen a number of horrific scenes, creating some of the biggest reactions TV fans have ever seen. This list reminds viewers of the most gruesome scenarios they have endured on the show so far, including those they would perhaps like to forget first.

10 Most Terrifying Laws in Gilead on The Handmaid’s Tale

Frankly, no sane person would willingly live in a country like Gilead, so the politicians of the nation have enacted laws that have basically ensured that no one in the country can leave, either because they don’t know how or because they’re too scared to stand up against their government. Pretty much every one of their laws is an object lesson in the madness of extremism, but some laws stick out as the worst of the worst. These are the 10 most terrifying laws in Gilead.

10.Women Can’t Vote

10 Most Terrifying Laws in Gilead on The Handmaid’s Tale

Any sane woman living in the Western world would be appalled at the idea of their right to vote being taken away, and it says a whole lot about Gilead’s societal structure and laws that this is actually one of the least horrifying laws that they have enacted on their populace.

The governing body of Gilead is actually completely confusing and unclear, and it appears that this is an intentional move to obfuscate where the power truly lies. So in that sense, it’s really a question of how much voting in the “Republic” of Gilead even matters at this point.

9. Women Can’t Write

It’s beyond bizarre to imagine any government making it literally illegal for half of their population to even write, but Gilead is nothing if not the most extreme imaginable oppression. The Biblical justification for this law is pretty much nonexistent, but the actual word of the Bible clearly doesn’t have a lot of impact on the realities of Gilead’s extremist laws.

Words have power, as Serena Joy Waterford’s prior career as an extreme right wing author demonstrated. And since women in Gilead are supposed to have as little power as possible, it’s no shock that they’re now banned from writing.

8. Women Can’t Read

This law obviously goes hand in hand (pun intended) with the previous law, but in addition to being forbidden from writing, women are also forbidden from reading.

This is a horrifying but brilliant little twist of a law from Gilead as well, because while they use the Bible to justify every awful thing that they do, if women are banned from reading then they can’t exactly prove or disprove that Gilead’s laws are actually completely made up nonsense.

As we saw in the prior season of The Handmaid’s Tale, Gilead takes this law very seriously. And Serena was lucky to only lose a finger instead of a hand.

7. Competing Religions Are Outlawed

In a theocracy, it’s frankly upsettingly realistic to assume that all other religions will be outlawed. And that people who adhere to those religions may be punished very harshly for their differing point of view.

But Gilead’s particular brand of Christianity seems to be the most extreme fire-and-brimstone version of the religion that anyone could imagine. And while they have made “competing” religions illegal they have also made every branch of Christianity besides their own illegal. And of course, anyone who is discovered to be of a different faith is typically sentenced to death for their heresy.

6. Women Can’t Own Property

This is yet another one of the more insidious laws in Gilead’s society. Because given the entire societal structure of the nation, this really comes as no surprise. But when it comes to disenfranchising it’s population, there is really no greater extreme that they could go to.

Things like literacy and religious freedom are undoubtedly important, inalienable rights for all humans on earth. But to deny someone ownership of literally anything in the world completely traps them in their station in life and gives them zero means of escape. Which is obviously the idea behind this law.

5. Contraception Is Illegal

As anyone who has watched more than 40 seconds of The Handmaid’s Tale already knows, the entire country of Gilead is ostensibly built around resolving the plummeting birth rates by any means necessary.

However, the oppressive nation tends to talk out of both sides of it’s mouth here. Because paradoxically anyone who is found using contraception is punishable by death (and if birthing children is all that matters, how could any death of fertile people be justified). And in case forced birth wasn’t horrifying enough in concept, the reality of handmaids is enough to turn anyone’s stomach.

Offred was cursed with giving birth to the baby of her captors back in season two.

After being raped several times by Fred in the chilling Gilead “ceremony”, Offred eventually fell pregnant with Nick’s (Max Minghella) baby.

Determined to not allow the baby to be born and grow up in Gilead, Offred ran away to give birth in an abandoned house.

This scene of Offred attempting to give birth alone was one of the hardest scenes to watch as the fear for her life grew.

Even Elisabeth hated creating the scene as she said on Jimmy Kimmel Live. “Probably the birth scene in season two, where I had to give birth by myself, naked.”

4. Male Next Of Kin Rule Women And Children

Gilead is a nation that relies on the subjugation of it’s people in order to function. One of the clearest and easiest ways that they’ve made this happen is by only giving any real legal rights to men. The women and children of their society are pretty much property belonging to their male next of kin. Whether that’s their father, husband, or whatever man is left over after the revolution.

In this day and age most people would imagine that’s impossible, because any sane person understands that one human can’t be owned by another, but this idea is one of the main cornerstones of Gilead’s existence.

Throughout The Handmaid’s Tale fans were subjected to watching the commanders perform the ceremony.

This is an organised, weekly rape of the handmaids by the commanders, in an attempt to impregnate them.

In order to stay alive, Offred was forced to endure this barbaric ceremony regularly.

Offred eventually made her way out of the horrific situation and indeed the Waterford household – but not before she had to deal with this scenario a number of times.

3. “Gender Treachery” Is Illegal

According to the laws of Gilead, sexual intercourse is solely for procreation, and therefore is only legally permitted between a man and a woman. So of course, anyone who is not heterosexual is illegal. And that is an impossibly insane thing to wrap your mind around.

It’s one thing to outlaw behaviors, but to make the existence of an actual person illegal is truly incomprehensible. It’s not surprising in the least that a bunch of religious ideologues would look at LGBT sexualities as a sin or even as a crime, but it flies in the face of everything that is important about human existence.

Season one saw Emily (Alexis Bledel) venturing into her role as a rebel.

After finding herself in a tough situation with an angry commander controlling her life, she sparked a one-person rebellion.

Speaking out a few times against the establishment did not go well for her, though, as she was first forced to watch her colleague being hung.

Emily was then subjected to a horrific clitoridectomy, with Aunt Lydia (Ann Dowd) telling her she “won’t want what she can’t have”.

2. The Free Press Is Illegal

This is one of those laws that once again seems downright logical according to Gilead’s ass-backwards logic, but once the freedom of the press is gone it’s starkly clear how important it is as a basic human right.

Half of the population can’t read anyway, and the government of Gilead has no interest in letting it’s people know what it’s up to, so the notion that they would have any press at all seems like a bit of a stretch. But concealment of information and truth is one of the most dangerous and easiest ways to control millions of people too.

1. Freedom Of Speech Is Illegal

Anyone who has ever been on Twitter has questioned whether or not speech should truly be free at least once in their lives, but the realities of what banning free speech means is legitimately terrifying to see in The Handmaid’s Tale.

Regulating what people can even say to one another is a level of control that only the scariest totalitarian regimes subscribe to, and putting every person in the country in a mindset where they are always in danger if they ever express themselves openly really robs them of their own personhood. Gilead’s rule of law is fall in line or die, and nothing could make this clearer.

Season three brought a new era of viscera to the show.

Whilst visiting the leaders of Gilead in Washington, D.C, Offred was shocked to find some handmaids bunking with her. But she was even more shocked when she attempted to speak to one of them, and they turned around to show they had three rings holding their mouths together. The handmaids are usually the bottom of the pecking order in society, but this was a step too far for Offred, and fans.

The Handmaid’s Tale is available on Hulu.

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Source: ScreenRant / Express UK

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