The Handmaid's Tale Costume Controversy

The Handmaid’s Tale was originally a novel written by Margaret Atwood that focused on a dystopian society where a totalitarian regime overthrew the United States government. The characters in the novel (and Hulu mini series) are divided into categories such as “Marthas”, “Handmaids” and “Unwomen.” Each of these categories come with a different role that needs to be fulfilled in that particular dystopia. Handmaids, for example, are forced surrogates who are picked by society hierarchy and are then taken in by couples and forced to have intercourse with the husband in hopes of having a baby. If a baby is produced and born healthy, the couple keeps the child and the Handmaid returns to her duty with another couple. The women in this story suffer from a lack of rights and freedom, they are raped, constantly under surveillance, and forbidden to rebel or speak about the time prior to this regime, or they are banished.  

Photo Source: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6193745/Retailer-pulls-sexy-Han...

The Hulu mini series has brought a new audience to the storyline and Handmaids have become a symbol of feminism. Costumes of Handmaids have even been worn to protest against female oppression. Recently, however, a company named Yandy, which specializes in lingerie, released a “sexy” Handmaid costume and was immediately faced with backlash and criticism. The costume consisted of a short, tight-fitting red dress, red cape, and white bonnet. Critics argued it was disrespectful to women and should be taken down immediately. Statements like “rape isn’t sexy” were sent to the online store. After realizing the mistake they had made, Yandy removed the costume from its website and released the following statement: "Yandy always has stood, and will continue to stand, at the forefront of encouraging our customers to ‘Own Your Sexy.’” Our corporate ideology is rooted in female empowerment, and gender empowerment overall. Over the last few hours, it has become obvious that our ‘Yandy Brave Red Maiden Costume’ is being seen as a symbol of women’s oppression. Our initial inspiration to create the piece was through witnessing its use in recent months as a powerful protest image. Given the sincere, heartfelt response, supported by numerous personal stories we’ve received, we are removing the costume from our site.”