Whether or not you’re a fan of TV shows, you’ll no doubt have at least heard of the TV adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s novel ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ or even the recently aired second season of ‘Top of the Lake’; two TV dramas both starring lead actress Elisabeth Moss, and featuring themes of infertility and surrogacy.
Surrogacy and infertility
Ok, so the use of the surrogacy theme in just two TV shows hardly denotes a recurring theme or obsession. However, the successful figures for these shows tell another story, and what with The Handmaid’s Tale finding itself nominated for an astonishing 13 Emmy awards there’s no denying the theme has struck a nerve with its viewers.
One suggestion is that the popularity owes itself to the cultural relevance of the surrogacy theme; it’s harder than ever before for couples with fertility problems to conceive nowadays. The NHS has implemented restrictions on IVF treatment, with 13 areas of England limiting or even ceasing IVF treatment altogether. As a result of this, many people are turning to surrogacy than in previous years.
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Whilst there’s a general consensus the shows are so popular owing to their cultural relevance, it may not be the surrogacy theme which strikes a chord with the viewers. Despite the progression of women’s rights over the years, women nowadays still find themselves objectified for their bodies, both in the media and during their everyday lives. Many women still face pay gaps between themselves and men performing the same role with the same experience in the workplace. Many marketing companies still make use of blunt and often crude gender stereotypes to promote their products. The presence of this sexism may offer a reason as to the popularity of the shows
Finally, the dystopian universe portrayed in the TV dramas listed above may be the reason behind the interest. What with recent political and governmental changes, the idea of a dystopian world is sadly more plausible than ever. It could be this morbid curiosity which leads people to watch the shows, in order to get a glimpse of what many people see as ‘the inevitable’ state of the world we’re careering towards.