Margaret Atwood's seminal dystopian novel The Handmaid's Tale has been called many things before — but sexist? That's what one Toronto parent is claiming in his quest to get it out of schools.
Actually, it sounds as though Robert Edwards is mostly offended by the anti-Christian themes in Atwood's seminal story of a future theocratic society which uses women as breeders.
But he's latched on to the book's violence, foul language, sexual degradation, "brutal situations," and "prostitution" as reasons to remove it from the classroom. After all, some of the language in the book is stuff students would be expelled for saying in the hallways, so why is it okay to read a book containing it?
"I'm not looking to ban books," says Edwards, who's launched a formal procedure to get the book removed from the school. He considers himself religious, and says that if the school board is going to include books criticizing one faith, then all faiths ought to be opened up for criticism. (Including Zoroastrianism?) A "review committee" is considering the book and will make a recommendation to the "director of education."
In the meantime, Edwards' 17-year-old son, who had been studying the book with the rest of his classmates, will instead study Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, a book with no disturbing sexual situations at all. And he'll get to step out of class during discussions on Attwood's book. (In other words? Free period!) [Edmonton Sun]