'The Handmaid's Tale' branded 'torture porn' over gratuitous violence against women

The Handmaid’s Tale is being accused of gratuitous violence

The second season of The Handmaid’s Tale has arrived on television and it is not for the faint-hearted.

The original season was based on Margaret Atwood’s celebrated feminist novel of the same name but this new season continues the story beyond the end of the book and after watching the first two episodes viewers are branding it ‘torture porn.’

The first episode sees gagged women urinating on themselves as they are forced to line up in front of nooses and face death. They are brutalised, electrocuted with cattle prods, threatened with dogs, and in one case one handmaid has her hands chained to a stove and their hands burned.

In several reviews, critics talk of the season’s continuing violence against women and their bodies and now viewers are catching up to that fact and describing it as ‘torture porn.’

 



“Second series is a huge disappointment, repetition of misogynistic violence to women unnecessary,” one viewer tweeted. “I’m out. #tortureporn.”

“The Handmaids Tale is a great show but it’s now starting to whiff of a little torture porn,” another viewer wrote.



Showrunner Bruce Miller excuses the violence but saying it is based on real-life torture of women in the real world, from Taliban oppression to female genital mutilation.

“We don’t make up some kind of cruelty, I don’t want to do that. I hate that,” he said. “It’s hard because these are things that are happening in the real world. We’re not making them up. But showing them, you do carry some responsibility. The last thing you want to be making is torture porn.”



Elisabeth Moss, who is also an executive producer on the show, claims they made efforts to stop the violence from being too gratuitous.

“When we’ve told the story that we needed to tell,” she told USA Today. “There’s a very dark scene later on in the season, and it was cut down a little bit because it didn’t need to be gratuitous.

“We’re not trying to pound anything down anyone’s throats.”

It seems a lot of viewers would beg to differ.

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