Why this 'vulgar' Handmaid's Tale Halloween costume has been pulled from sale.


When US lingerie company, Yandy, released sexy ‘Brave Red Maiden Costumes’ inspired by those seen on The Handmaid’s Tale, no one could have predicted the controversy that would ensue.

Oh wait…

No literally everyone could have predicted it.

Because WHY.

As if The Handmaid’s Tale inspired-wine or lingerie wasn’t bad enough, for $64.95 USD ($89 AUD) you too could have bought yourself the cringiest, most offensive Halloween outfit of 2018.

On a surface level, it’s not a great costume. You kind of look like little red riding hood with a white cap. But given the context of what handmaids represent and the whole point of The Handmaid’s Tale, the outfit becomes highly problematic.

Handmaids Tale Costume
Why did no one sense check this? Image: Twitter.



The handmaids are a group of women who are stripped of their identity and human rights and used as walking wombs for the rich. They are raped by their 'masters' in the hopes that they'll become pregnant, before having their babies stolen from them.

Simply put, their red-hooded capes and white wings are a symbol of institutionalised sexual slavery, and the move of 'sexing the outfit up' feels icky and head-scratchingly ironic to say the least.

And while this was done in poor taste, there's another layer to the problem, which lies in the product 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," it read.

It's similar to the company's non-apology apology they released after outrage over the costume went viral:

"Yandy always has stood, and will continue to stand, at the forefront of encouraging our customers to ‘Own Your Sexy.’” they said.

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.

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.”

Essentially Yandy likens wearing the outfit of a sexualised rape victim as forwarding the feminist agenda.


Laura Bradley of Vanity Fair, however, probably said it best:

"This is just the latest misstep in a series of dubious ploys to convert the fervour surrounding this series [The Handmaid's Tale] into profits — similar to how feminism itself is frequently co-opted for monetary gain," she writes.

"And no matter how many times this news cycle plays out, it seems companies still have yet to understand the point."

It speaks to the same outrage people feel when the Kardashians confuse empowerment as marketing when spruiking diet pills, weight loss lollypops or taking half-naked selfies with Emily Ratajkowski.

As Bradley continues to say, this isn't the first time Yandy has crossed the line. They continue to sell offensive Native American costumes and faced controversy for selling 'sexy Stranger Things Eleven costume that people say sexualised the 12-year-old character, and also made costumes of the dentist responsible for hunting Cecil the lion, complete with a severed lion's head.


While the costume has since been pulled from the website, people on Twitter voiced their concerns about the controversial outfit.





This isn't to say women shouldn't have every single right to wear a 'sexy firefighter, policewoman etc. costume,' or don on their Jessica Rabbit best, but maybe leave the handmaids out of your October 31 celebrations.

What do you think of 'Brave Red Maiden Costume' set? Tell us in a comment!