×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Margaret Atwood: We’re Living in ‘Both the Best and Worst of Times for Women’

Margaret Atwood commented on the state of women’s rights and what the success of “The Handmaid’s Tale” says about the world at Variety‘s Power of Women luncheon.

Atwood, being Canadian herself, joked to the audience that Americans could find “a nice hot cup of tea and a mattress in the church basement” in their neighbor to the north should they feel compelled to flee from the current political state. But she added that Canadians have been impressed by the way Americans have “mobilized and pushed back.”

“I know when the election first happened, there were a lot of young people in tears because this had never happened to them before,” she said. “They had never seen things go backward in this way before. But the way Americans across the country have pulled themselves together on many different fronts, not just women but those extremely impressive students who are working for better, fairer gun laws.”

She compared the current state for women to the one she grew up in, noting that, though progress has been made, there is still a fight to be had.

“How different the world is today than during my adolescence in the ’50s when, if you were a powerful, professional woman, you’re either a bitch or a freak,” she said. “How interesting it would be if no one saw the need to have a special event for women because women had become simply an accepted and equal part of society.”

“But we are very far from that moment,” she continued. “Right now, it is both the best of times and the worst of times for women… We have not seen such a blatant pushback against women for a very long time. Some women are fighting for rights they’ve never had, but others are fighting the threat of removal of such rights. Now is not the time to take anything for granted.”

She went on to talk about Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale,” and how, after Trump won the election, the dystopian drama “was no longer a story about something that couldn’t happen. It had 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 ended on an optimistic note, however. She pointed out that at the end of “The Handmaid’s Tale” book, it’s revealed that the repressive regime in its world did eventually end, and she hopes to see the same result in real life.

The author was introduced by Ronan Farrow, and also said in her speech that there should be a monument dedicated to journalists who have died in the name of exposing corruption.

Atwood was recognized by Variety for her support for AfterMeToo, a movement working to end workplace sexual violence.

RELATED CONTENT

More TV

  • Series Mania Unveils 2019 Festival, with

    Series Mania Unveils 2019 Festival Lineup

    PARIS — Graced by Uma Thurman, “The Good Doctor” star Freddie Highmore and “Black Mirror” creators-showrunners Charlie Brooker and Anabel Jones, the 10th Series Mania – and second in Lille, north-east France – will kick off March 22 with Netflix prominent, a broader   geographical reach and a strong presence of women writers and directors. [...]

  • Riz Ahmed CAA headshot

    Riz Ahmed Gears Up for ‘Englistan’ Series and ‘Hamlet,’ Talks U.S. and U.K. TV Biz

    Having worked on both sides of the pond, “The Night Of” star Riz Ahmed thinks the U.S. TV biz could learn from the Brits’ “unpretentious” attitude toward the creative process and the U.K. industry could emulate the Americans’ openness to “new voices.” “The British approach to creativity can be really helpfully unpretentious….That sets us apart [...]

  • Black Panther

    'Black Panther,' 'Crazy Rich Asians,' 'Westworld' Among Costume Designers Guild Winners

    “Crazy Rich Asians,” “The Favourite” and “Black Panther” walked away with top honors at the 21st annual Costume Designers Guild Awards Tuesday night, the final industry guild show before the Oscars on Feb. 24. “The Favourite” and “Black Panther” are up for the Oscar this year, along with “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs,” “Mary Poppins [...]

  • Syfy Cancels 'Nightflyers' After One Season

    Syfy Cancels 'Nightflyers' After One Season

    The George R.R. Martin drama “Nightflyers” has been canceled by Syfy after only one season. Based on the novella from the mastermind behind “Game of Thrones,” the show was seen as a big gamble for the NBCUniversal-owned cable network, as it represented the most expensive series it had ever developed. The network attempted to spark [...]

  • Batwoman Arrow

    The CW's 'Batwoman' Pilot Switches Directors, Adds Dougray Scott

    The CW has added veteran Scottish actor Dougray Scott to its “Batwoman” pilot as well as swapped in Marcos Siega for previous director David Nutter, Variety has learned. The pilot, which stars Ruby Rose as the eponymous caped heroine, is being helmed by DC TV head Greg Berlanti, and was penned by “Vampire Diaries” alum [...]

  • OG Review

    Review: 'O.G.' on HBO

    Jeffrey Wright, the most compelling reason to watch HBO’s new film “O.G.,” is among television’s best actors at switching between codes or manners of being. On “Westworld,” his timeline-toggling android swaps personae so delicately that his performance gains in resonance when recalled in retrospect. (Perhaps that’s why Wright has been so oddly underrated through the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content