The Handmaid’s Tale has made me want a drink on more than one occasion and my dream of doing this ended just as swiftly as it began yesterday. Women may not be able to buy happiness, especially once the Gilead government revokes all rights of women, but at least I can buy a $40 bottle of wine inspired by their oppression, pain, and suffering!
Limited edition wine distributer Lot18 announced Tuesday morning that they’d be releasing a trio of wines inspired by the characters of Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel of the same name. Not only were they inspired by the “bold characters” of Atwood’s novel and corresponding Hulu adaptation, but they were also inspired by the violently oppressed and traumatic experiences they’ve all been through, apparently.
Lot18 described the Offred-inspired wine as “rich and complex” with the wine being so smooth and appealing, “you may as well give in.” References to state-sanctioned abuse have never seemed so appealing! Ofglen’s wine is even more enticing with a description of “pleasure and enjoyment may be forbidden…but it can certainly be found in this memorable wine.” With the FGM, and her experiences at a labor camp, it sounds like Ofglen could use a glass of her own wine. The final wine in the set was inspired by Serena Joy which was described as “sophisticated, traditional and austere,” just like her expressionless face during the show’s ritualized assault scenes.
The wine set is certainly not the first time that The Handmaid’s Tale merchandise has created controversy. Just earlier this year, an elite women’s co-working space, The Wing, posted an image with a matchbox with the words “I am free” on its side. Alongside it, a hot pink notebook with a line from an Atwood poem: “A word after a word after a word is power.”
The irony in the pink-washed partnership between The Wing and Hulu to promote The Handmaid’s Tale lies in the total disconnect between the show’s promotion and the deeper meaning of the show. The Wing promotes an elite Girl Boss aesthetic along with its aesthetic accompaniments. From their Instagram, The Wing exemplifies the alpha Girl Boss mindset with images of launch parties, hot pink pens, and signature cocktails. The exclusive and prestigious cloud that The Wing lives in disguises Atwood’s message. Women’s independence is fragile, despite what a matchbook may boast.
The point of the matter is that no matter how many ways the iconic red capes and crisp bonnets are redesigned and slapped onto various products, including wine, they’ll never be cool. As the world seems to edge closer and closer to Gilead every day, these products make that arrival feel less serious.
Featured Image Via Eater.