A Brief Content Warning List for The Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu (Episodes 1-3)

Backlit woman dressed modestly The Handmaid's Tale
Actress Elizabeth Moss as Offred in her room at the Commander’s house. (Photo: Hulu)

EPISODES 1, 2, and 3

A NOTE: Everything shown in this TV show—and the original book is happening or has happened historically to women in real life.

If you find you need a real life example for something shown in the program, please feel free to ask me as I know a fair amount of women’s history and current events.

These items / themes are present in the book.

(If you haven’t read Margaret Atwood’s masterpiece, this list is a little spoiler-y, but does not tell you anything about the story itself.)


    -brainwashing (religious, blaming the victim)

    -gender-based violence

    -infertility (this is shown in much more emotional detail than the book)

    -state violence against women (laws, punitive punishment)

    -sexual slavery (rape, aftermath of rape, and human trafficking)

    -anti-LGBT+ laws, violence, language (it’s emotionally wrenching)

    -women-on-women violence

    -restrictive clothing

    -deliberately circuitous language

    -religion used as a reason for violence (sexual and physical)

    -attempted baby theft

Young woman in wide white bonnet stares straight ahead in close-up
Ofglen (Alexis Bledel) kneeling on pillow prior to a Salvaging. (Photo: Hulu)

These items were not discussed / shown in the book (at all, or in other cases, mentioned but never discussed at length).

Again, spoiler-y, but this list will tell you little about the story.

    —paramilitary violence against protestors

    -kidnapping of a child

    -genital mutilation (implied)

    -mistreatment of the mentally ill (coersion, violence)

    -tagging (branding) of women

If I think of anything else that should be added to this list—or you do—please let me know.

As I watch each new episode, I will create a new post with content warnings and link it back to this one.

Instant Bluebird :: You best be born tricky


Can I point out that I often disrupt adjectival word order in order to create tension, build rhythm, devise a MacGuffin, and more?

In technical writing, you don’t want anything to jump out at the reader except for direct meaning.

If you’re a journalist, the word count and the publication style offer constraints. However, long-form (features) writing is designed with some clever maneuvering in mind.

With creative writing, it is in your best interest to be born tricky with language.

It is probably better to not think of writing exclusively as “story” and “grammar” and to consider it more akin to, say, card tricks and close magic.

Keep it quick; make it tricky; never obfuscate for obscurity’s sake: go make those words dance in your hands.