I just finished the first season of The Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu.
If you haven’t watched it, I strongly recommend it. This is probably the only show that I would describe as “awful” and “horrifying” and still recommend it. Let me explain.
It wasn’t “awful” and “horrifying” in that it was badly made. On the contrary, it was beautifully made. For me, it brought forth so many emotions that at times I wasn’t sure what to do with them all. It reminded me of when I saw Roots for the very first time. The predominant feeling I had then was a profound hatred for white people. Similarly, with The Handmaid’s Tale – at the conclusion I had a profound hatred for men.
Okay, that is clearly me doing the most. I don’t hate white people and I certainly don’t hate men. I love men but this series really made me examine the world around me and the attitude towards women in 21st century America. It’s frightening. Again, if you haven’t watched it – watch it.
I said all that to get to the real topic of this blog: the notion of romantic love.
I read an article recently entitled “Ten Important Lessons I Learned from The Handmaid’s Tale” . The ninth lesson reads like this:
A loveless world is bleak.
Take away romantic love and you’ve taken away the beauty of life. I love how the colors in this series reflect the sadness and emptiness experienced. Romance, passion, and connection are what makes life beautiful. Without it, we see that life is simply empty.
I’ll give you a minute to re-read that.
I had to do a little research on the author of the article before I could give an opinion. I wanted to consider the source. I’m not going to bash the author but after reading her bio I can see how she could form such an opinion. She’s a romantic and that’s just lovely. I am not and so I, of course, have a very different opinion.
I do not believe that romantic love is the “beauty of life”. Not because I’ve never experienced romantic love … come on … I’ve had my share of romance (probably your share too!) but the beauty of life? Really? Perhaps the author is strictly referring to the context of The Handmaid’s Tale and if that is case than I really must call BS. The female characters’ lives weren’t bleak because they didn’t have romance and passion. Their lives were bleak because they were stripped of their freedom and forcibly raped every month in order to bear children for couples that were barren. These women weren’t even viewed as human beings. No amount of romance was going to fill up the empty lives of these women.
On the other hand, if we’re talking about romantic love in general, I tend to view it with a more realistic eye. Romantic love is fun and exciting but it’s also fleeting. It’s like a raging bonfire – it starts out all hot but eventually if the flames aren’t tended to they will go out.
Or maybe it’s just me.
I will say this though, I have never felt that my life was empty when I wasn’t in a romantic relationship. I do believe that love is one of the things that make my life beautiful. That includes familial love, love between friends, even the love for a pet … just love. I have plenty of that and I agree that without it life would seem pretty bleak.