A Halloween costume inspired by the television show The Handmaid’s Tale is no longer for sale after complaints that the outfit was offensive and tone-deaf caused an uproar online.
American retailer Yandy modelled its “Brave Red Maiden” costume after the red cape and gown worn by handmaids — women who are sexually assaulted and forced to carry children to term for infertile women — in the TV series based on Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel of the same name.
The costume consisted of a form-fitting red minidress, red cape and white bonnet. It retailed for US$64.95.
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Many people called the retailer out online, arguing that the costume was misogynistic and missed the entire point of the show. The Handmaid’s Tale is set in a fictional place called Gilead where society restricts women’s rights, and handmaids are considered the property of the state.
On Thursday, Yandy released a statement saying it had removed the costume from its site, and acknowledged that the outfit 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.”
The retailer is well-known for selling a series of “sexy” costumes, including nun, school girl, and “Native American Seductress.” Obviously, their business picks up as Halloween approaches.
The costume isn’t the first time Handmaid’s Tale-inspired products to have received criticism.
In July, Handmaid’s Tale wine was pulled from manufacturer Lot18’s website a day after it was announced. The alcohol line was based on characters in the show and was called out for being offensive.