An online lingerie retailer has apologised after withdrawing a “sexy” version of the outfit made famous by the Handmaid’s Tale TV series.
US firm Yandy.com was widely criticised for its ‘Brave Red Maiden’ costume, made up of a red mini dress, red cape and white hat, all inspired by the Emmy award-winning TV drama starring Elizabeth Moss.
Based on Margaret Atwood’s book, it portrays a bleak future in which a falling birth rate means women are forced into surrogacy as sex slaves.
The model in the photograph on their website was wearing high heels and the product description read: “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.”
Accused, amongst other things, of being “tone deaf” and “sexualising misogyny and rape”, the firm withdrew the item and issued an apology.
“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,” its statement read.
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 website.”
The outfit, put up for sale at $64.95 (£50) ahead of Halloween, provoked a furious backlash, with @girlonetrack speaking for many by saying: “We’re now beyond satire. ‘Sexy’ Handmaid’s Tale outfit. There’s nothing like fighting the patriarchy by sexualising a show about misogyny and rape.”
I’m still unable to form my feelings about this costume into a coherent sentence. My gast is flabbered.
— Ms O’Mahuncy (@dot_to_dot) September 21, 2018
“I’m still unable to form my feelings about this costume into a coherent sentence. My gast is flabbered,” wrote dot_to_dot.
If you looked up “Offensive Antithesis”, the definition would be this “Sexy” Handmaids Tale costume.
Glad the company removed it and made a statement, but for anyone first to come up with the idea and then for someone to approve it is horrifying. pic.twitter.com/BeobxKHgEY
— b r i t t_m a r i e (@nuggetbritt) September 21, 2018
@nuggetbritt posted: “If you looked up “Offensive Antithesis”, the definition would be this “Sexy” Handmaids Tale costume. Glad the company removed it and made a statement, but for anyone first to come up with the idea and then for someone to approve it is horrifying.”
The TV adaptation of Atwood’s novel began airing last year and when Halloween rolled around, plenty of fans wore handmaid costumes and shared their efforts online.
The outfits have also been adopted by protesters and when US Vice President Mike Pence arrived in Philadelphia in July, he was met with rows of women dressed as handmaids, in a protest against his views on reproductive rights.