Battle Beyond the Movies – Dystopian Population Control
Why are we, as humans, so certain that not only will we live to see the end times, but also that along the way, we will turn against each other in fundamentally brutal ways? At the heart of that brutality, at least with this episode’s movies, lies our own ability to continue on as a species. When forces conspire to prevent people from conceiving, what dystopian population control measures will we put up with?
In The Handmaid’s Tale, in the fascist post-America called Gilead, the new authorities enforce a convoluted version of musical chairs to keep fertile women, called handmaids, pregnant as often as possible. This officially sanctioned slavery is supposed to perpetuate “the best” the country has to offer by mating the handmaids with “Commanders”, or governmental leaders. If the system sounds rigged to favor the same people responsible for creating it, you might be on to something.
In Children of Men, things are worse, if that’s possible. Instead of dramatically low birthrates, there are NO births, and haven’t been for the last eighteen years. That future also depicts a fascist government trying to control its citizens through force, but hopelessness has become so ingrained in people that even patriots have become jaded. What’s the point of resisting when our shared doom is inevitable?
In this podcast, Paul and Inez examine and compare these films as they approach women’s reproductive rights (and really all of their rights) in dystopian futures and then deliver their verdicts on which film dealt with that theme best.