dystopia. Written shortly after the election of Ronald Reagan in the United States and Margaret Thatcher in Great Britain, The Handmaid’s Tale is temporally embedded in a period in which revival of conservative attitudes were apparent, and one increasingly influenced by an organised movement of religious conservative who criticized attitudes towards sex in the 1960s and 1970s. Those groups deemed these general attitudes “excessive”, and believed strongly against what they called the “sexual revolution”. This negative outlook sparked amplified fear among feminists that the advances women had made in recent decades would be negated. Attwood’s novel strongly reflects this by exploring what consequences such negations of women’s rights would have on society. In Gilead, a group of conservative religious extremists take power and turn the “sexual revolution” on its head. Subverting the feminist argument for liberation and equality, Gileadian society features a “return to traditional vales” and gender roles, and the overthrow of women by men. Actions such as the legalization of abortion and the increasing political influence of women – major achievements for feminist campaigners – have, in their entirety, been undone to such an extreme degree that not only were women forbidden to vote, they were also prohibited from performing even seemingly menial tasks such as reading or writing. This challenges the rising status of women into one of submission once again, throwing Attwood’s society into antithesis to the prevalent society at the time, thus acting as a warning of what may happen. Other 1980s fears such declining birthrates and environmental degradation are reflected in the novel – Attwood creates a world impaired with pollution and infertility which reflects rising societal anxieties at the time. It is not only the actual land which has been destroyed, but the human race has itself become so damaged by the pollution in the air and water that only one in every four babies born are healthy enough to survive (or to be considered a ‘keeper’). Attwood reflects the real-life issues through her novel and paints a picture of what life may well be like in the near future if people continue to ignore the increasingly permanent damage being done to our ecological and social systems.