Since the Hulu production of Margret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale was released, the red of the handmaids’ costume has dyed every watcher and reader’s mind. The story of The Handmaid’s Tale unfolds in a dystopian society where the birth rate has been fiercely dropped for unknown reasons and, because of that, the social structure changed violently: the patriarchal power has there reached its peak, under which those women who are still capable of giving birth are forced to become reproductive slaves. The handmaids (that’s what they call those fertile women) are only treated as tools for sex－their sexual pleasure, enjoyment, and authority has been suspended and discarded by a male-dominated world. The handmaids are very recognizable since they wear uniformed red cloaks with white bonnets.
Image via Carbon Costume
With the vivid description of the handmaids in red by Atwood and the depiction of the costume in the Hulu series, these clothes have become symbols of patriarchal oppression. Recently, in the streets, you may have seen those red silhouettes swaying in social protests, especially those aiming for gender equality and women rights.
Image via LifeNews.com
Okay, so that’s the context. What I’m concerned with now is that Yandy.com, an American online retailer and fashion design company focusing on lingerie, swimwear, Halloween costumes, and women’s apparel, recently released a piece of The Handmaid’s Tale-inspired Halloween costumes for fun. The sexualization and light-heartedness of this costume has has trigged a tsunami of social debates.
Image via twitter
Image via Twitter
Image via Twitter
Every year at Halloween I think “You know who’s horrible? Yandy.” and every year I get proven overwhelmingly correct. https://t.co/urvJHNE3gI
— John Lam (@AnxiousPenman) September 20, 2018
Today: Slutty Handmaid’s Tale Costume. Tomorrow: Slutty Global Warming. pic.twitter.com/bLr7s1owOX
— Kashana (@kashanacauley) September 20, 2018
Great description on this bad costume. ‘All women are sex slaves. However!!!’ pic.twitter.com/Mt2B2rFwlL
— Katherine Krueger (@kath_krueger) September 20, 2018
I’m dressing up as existential despair this Halloween pic.twitter.com/fMyuNuuU1g
— Jessica Valenti (@JessicaValenti) September 21, 2018
After hours the product had been released, the Yandy company made a statement of apology and pulled the product away, according to HuffPost:
Yandy always has stood, and will continue to stand, at the forefront of encouraging our customers to “Own Your Sexy.” We support our customers being comfortable in their skin, regardless of who they are or what they choose to wear. 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.
So, that’s the context and the text. Bookstrs, what do you think about this controversial event caused by a piece of costumes? Do you think the Yandy costume re-oppressed female authority? Or do you think by camping the symbols of oppression out is a form of performative tactics against the oppression? Or do you think this is just Halloween?
Featured Image via the-pool