iStation’s “Red Cape” & The Handmaid’s Tale

One of the best ways to gather a pulse of what is happening in the public education world of North Carolina is to follow the Twitter feeds of educational journalists, researchers, writers, teachers, and bloggers.

That includes following Greg Flynn. Today he tweeted:


Full credit where credit is due. His tweet is the impetus for this post, but it would not be as much if I were not also an English teacher who will be teaching one section of AP English Literature and Composition this coming school year.

And I plan on teaching The Handmaid’s Tale. Its relevance to today’s cultural dialogue cannot be denied and Margaret Atwood is a living legend in modern literature. She should be strongly considered for a Nobel Prize. And as a father of a teenage daughter about to embark on life after secondary schooling, it is important to hear voices that are not coming from canonized white men.

iStation’s use of a red cape as part of its logo can not be mistaken. Nor can its wanting to expand its reach as a brand in the world of personalized learning in a day and age where so many in power turn to technology for technology’s sake.


No, iStation did not deliberately use a red cape with knowledge of the symbolism The Handmaid’s Tale. What it had in mind was probably more akin to superheroes like Superman and Dr. Strange who wear red capes. “Use our program and see students soar into another realm of learning. They will become their own superheroes.”

But it is not a simply twist of irony that allows Flynn to make the link between iStation’s red cape to Atwood’s iconic wardrobe placement in her dystopian novel.

Why? Because that red cloak in The Handmaid’s Tale is becoming a rather visible symbol for social movements, particularly women’s reproductive rights.


Read Atwood’s work and you will quickly understand her commentary on gender and social power. The Hulu series that currently is in its fourth season strikes many a nerve and has a wide audience.

Art represents life. As it always has.

iStation’s CEO Richard H. Collins is a rather big political donor. Below is a snapshot of an profile of his giving.


That money is probably not going to candidates and PACs that support a woman’s choice in her reproductive rights.

And those Cease & Desist letters that were given out by iStation’s legal representation in North Carolina were meant to silence people. Keep them from talking.


Seem to have seen that before.