Homosexuality - Whereas Atwood often puts both sides of an argument, she seems to offer no excuse for Gilead's harsh treatment of homosexuality. This can be seen in:
Chapter 8, where Offred sees the bodies of those hanged for Gender Treachery
Chapter 38, where Moira tells Offred that other so-called Gender Traitors are sent to the Colonies.
Moira herself, who is in many ways Offred's model of heroic rebellion, is a lesbian, who tells Offred in chapter 28 that ‘she'd decided to prefer women'.
Attitudes to homosexuality - Attitudes to homosexuality have varied over the centuries and in different cultures:
There is an ongoing world-wide dispute about attitudes to homosexuality;
In some countries, notably in the West, homosexual practices are legal and protected by human rights legislation. Several countries have legalised same-sex civil partnerships or marriages
In others, especially Muslim countries, it is illegal and can be punishable by death
Even in countries where homosexuality is legal, the attitudes of the public towards homosexual practices are frequently divided, with disapproval or stronger opposition often depending on religious views.
Adultery and divorce - Attitudes to sexual freedom, to adultery and to divorce vary throughout countries, cultures and societies. In Muslim countries where Sharia law operates, attitudes are strict and adultery is often punished by imprisonment, flogging or even death. In much of the western world, however, attitudes vary between extreme laxity and concern that standards are being eroded - adultery is a crime in Gilead
Pornography - The growth of pornography, especially that which depicts violence against women, is a cause of great concern to many people and perhaps especially to feminists such as Atwood. There are several instances in the novel where it is seen as horrific, and Atwood's mention of the proliferation of ‘Pornomarts' immediately prior to the takeover of the new régime of Gilead suggests a trend she deplores. In her later novel Oryx and Crake, she specifically attacks child pornography.
Racism - For Atwood, growing up in North America, discrimination against black people of African ethnic origin would be a very obvious form of racism. She would also be aware that there had been discrimination against Native Indian tribes in Canada. In the USA, where millions of people were brought from Africa as slaves to work in the plantations from the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries, racial discrimination against black people continued long after the abolition of slavery. Though now illegal, it still exists in some areas and in the attitudes of some people today.
Freedom - lack of self-expression, Gilead has to follow state rules otherwise punishment