Throughout Margaret Atwood’s trilogy, we can observe how sex plays a huge role in the characters’ lives and how women and their bodies are seen as sexual objects more than human beings. We can see how the first novel encompasses the problem of human trafficking, the second novel displays the psychological trauma experienced by Toby and other women who were raped by Blanco and the Painballers, and in the third novel, we keep experiencing the traumatic effects that sexual abuse had on Amanda. Moreover, if we study the character of Zeb, we see how having sex is a way out for him from his harsh reality. He is someone who finds comfort and pleasure in lustful thoughts and in getting involved in sexual relationships. Although we see in Maddaddam that Zeb and Toby have a kind of a love story, I personally believe that their love is pretty twisted and somehow unhealthy, as I feel that even if Zeb does seem to care for Toby, he is only using her as a mean to free his sexual desires. In addition, Ren becomes a stripper to be able to make money, which shows how easy it is for young women to find jobs exposing their bodies to alleviate men’s physiological needs for sex.
Is it possible that in our society this has become a social problem, or is it only a theme we find in Atwood’s novels? Personally, I feel that this is not far away from the reality of our world. Let’s be honest, this problem explored in the novels is accurate with some of the social problems we encounter in our everyday lives. Even when women are gaining more and more space in our society today, social media still expose women’s bodies creating the idea that for a woman to be considered “beautiful”, she has to fit a certain standard. Thus, this idea allows men to keep looking at women as a mean to fulfill their own needs. Moreover, women also grow and learn to internalize this idea that they have to sexy and attractive to awake men’s interest and approval, as well as to feel that they have value. If you want to learn more about this topic, I invite you to read the following article:
I believe this is a complex and fragile topic, and can generate a lot of debate, but it is worthy of discussion. What place do you think sex has in our society? Do you think women are victims of the way we see sex nowadays?