The Frightening Realism of 'The Handmaid's Tale' Is Inspiring Costumed Protests and A Lot of Freaking Out

We are now five (harrowing) episodes into Hulu's astonishing new series, The Handmaid's Tale, based on Margaret Atwood's dystopian 1985 novel of the same name. In case you haven't yet engaged in the weekly trauma of watching this thing, here's a brief overview to get you up to speed:

Elisabeth Moss plays a strong, modern woman named Offred (birth name: June) contending with a new authoritarian system that has taken away her child, murdered her husband, and enslaved her -- and every other fertile woman in the country -- to act as what are essentially "two-legged wombs" for the largely sterile aristocracy. Failure to obey new rules regarding everything from language restrictions to dress code result in a variety of physical tortures and disfigurements that are better left discovered through the show or novel (also because the mere idea of describing them here is giving me the heebie-jeebies).

Try and get through this trailer without crying:

If you are in possession of a womb in real life, this is basically the most terrifying thing that's ever been on television. Ever. It's all the more frightening, of course, because of our current political climate. With the Republican party going after women's reproductive rights on both a national and state level; and with an overwhelmingly wealthy, white, male government looking after wealthy, white, male priorities, The Handmaid's Tale is particularly hard to watch right now. For a lot of viewers, it simply isn't a massive stretch to imagine a scenario of this sort occurring in real life.

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As such, every week, and with every new episode, Twitter explodes in a totally reasonable panic bomb.

Occasionally, someone thankfully drops something vaguely humorous into the mix:

What's abundantly clear is that The Handmaid's Tale is scaring the crap out of a lot of people, when watched in conjunction with the current administration. On the plus side, it has also given communities that oppose Trump shorthand for the fear they are experiencing around civil liberties.

Beautifully, women are even incorporating the Handmaids' distinctive robes and bonnets into reproductive freedom protests around the country.

In Iowa, women dressed as Handmaids to protest a new bill requiring women to get an ultrasound before they can receive an abortion:

In Missouri, this group of Handmaids protested the state's new budget plan, because it would cease funding to any and all organizations that provide abortion services, and all but do away with funding for family planning:

In Texas, Handmaids showed up at the Capitol building to protest the SB25 bill, which would allow doctors to lie to their pregnant patients about any signs of fetal abnormality, should that doctor suspect the patient may wish to seek an abortion under those circumstances:

Chilling, no?

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A second season of The Handmaid's Tale has already been scheduled. It might be hard to watch, but there are worse ways to keep us on our toes.

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