I’ve been circling the idea of writing about Margaret Atwood for a while. An amazing author, a fascinating personality, lover of comics and social media…she’s a symbol of female empowerment for me. I mean, she says things like this:
“’Why do men feel threatened by women?’ I asked a male friend of mine.
“’They are afraid women will laugh at them’, he said, ‘undercut their world view.’
“Then I asked some women students, ‘Why do women feel threatened by men?’ ”’They are afraid of being killed,’ they said.”
Everyone knows her as an author. After all, my favorite novel of hers is being shown on Hulu right now, with the insanely talented Elisabeth Moss as Offred. Other books of hers (Alias Grace and the Maddam series) are being developed for our viewing pleasure. She even collaborates on a graphic novel series, Angel CatBird. She writes real good. You should always start with Handmaid’s Tale but if you like her, go with Cat’s Eye (reflection of an artist’s childhood), Blind Assassin (a story within a story, fascinating), or Oryx and Crake (another dystopian and first of the MaddAddam series). Her books tend to focus on a woman or women finding their strength and exposing secrets. They are usually oppressed by men as well.
But Margaret Atwood is prolific outside of the written page too. She’s a huge animal advocate and her Angel Catbird graphic novels are intended to educate about the perils facing cats and bird. She partnered with Nature Canada, encouraging owners to keep their domestic cats from roaming and protecting the environment’s natural ecosystem.
She’s a frequent political commentator. If you don’t follow her on Twitter, you really should. She isn’t afraid to share her opinion and is a strong feminist (no matter what people try to say about her). Even though she’s a hardcore Canadian, her commentary on the recent U.S. election gave me LIFE.
She’s also an inventor. Since she’s always on book tours, she came up with the brilliant idea to create the LongPen. It allows authors to sign books even if they aren’t there. People who show up for a signing can even talk to the author through the pen. Sounds randomly weird but I can see other uses. It’s still in its early stages so I’m excited to see all the uses. As I see how it could be used for evil, I hope it remains a positive invention.
Margaret Atwood refuses to be boxed in and remains using her voice to amplify issues and use fiction as a form of educational tool. I think, at minimum, we should require a deep dive into the Handmaid’s Tale but we can all learn from her and her life. As she says: