“To paraphrase Margaret Atwood, ‘We can never let them grind us down,’” Clinton said, according to the Huffington Post.
She continued: “We come tonight to celebrate the last 100 years, the progress that so many generations have fought so hard for — and what a time it is to be holding this centennial, just ask those who’ve been watching The Handmaid’s Tale, a book I read and was captivated by years ago,” she said, according to the Huffington Post.
The novel, which Hulu recently adapted into an online show, takes place in a society where women are second-class citizens, stripped of their constitutional rights. Women who are capable of having children are made into “handmaids,” bearing children for members of the upper class whose wives are infertile. The novel primarily follows the story of a handmaid named Offred, who is comforted by a Latin phrase that translates as “Don’t let the bastards grind you down” — roughly the same saying Clinton referenced during her speech.
“Now, I am not suggesting this dystopian future is around the corner,” Clinton continued, “but this show has prompted important conversations about women’s rights and autonomy. In The Handmaid’s Tale, women’s rights are gradually, slowly stripped away. As one character says, ‘We didn’t look up from our phones until it was too late.’”
“It is not too late for us,” Clinton said, but only as long as women’s rights advocates “keep fighting.”
Clinton has kept a relatively low profile since losing the presidential election to Donald Trump in November. But now, Clinton is “back to being an active citizen and part of the resistance,” she said at the gala, according to The Hill.