Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale is seen as a dystopian allegory for the oppression of women, but that didn't stop one online lingerie retailer from offering a "sexy" version of the show's trademark red cape dress and white hood. Faster than you could say, "Praise Be!," outrage exploded online and the company quickly pulled the Halloween costume from its site.
As reported by Entertainment Weekly, Yandy is no longer selling the outfit — which was labeled as a "Brave Red Maiden Costume" since it was not an officially licensed product — and has apologized, acknowledging that it was "being seen as a symbol of women's oppression, rather than an expression of women's empowerment."
The costume was originally listed on the Yandy site with the following description: "An upsetting dystopian future has emerged where women no longer have a say. However, we say be bold and speak your mind in this exclusive Brave Red Maiden costume."
People were not amused.
A few people saw the costume as carrying an important message, or at least nothing more the latest in the Halloween trend of making anything "sexy."
On The Handmaid's Tale, based on Margaret Atwood's 1985 novel, the remaining fertile women in the Gilead society (formerly the United States) must wear the outfit, and are subject to rape and subjugation by men. The costume has become a symbol of oppression and is now frequently worn by protesters of various Trump administration policies that seek to limit women's rights. Earlier this month, a group opposing the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh donned the striking outfit outside the Senate Judiciary Committee's confirmation hearings.
In response to the outrage, Yandy has pulled the costume and posted an apology that says, "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, rather than an expression of women's empowerment. This is unfortunate, as it was not our intention on any level. 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."