There’s one less sexy costume for Halloween this year.
The Brave Red Maiden costume, initially for sale through the online retail site Yandy.com, was removed following an outcry on social media Thursday, due to its glamourization of the fertile female slave characters from Canadian author Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel and current TV show The Handmaid’s Tale.
Yandy, which prides itself on encouraging its customers to “own your sexy”, provided this description of the outfit:
“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 featuring a red mini dress, a matching cloak with an attached hood, and a white bonnet headpiece. (Pantyhose not included.)”
The reaction was swift from some online critics.
I can't decide if this misses the point of The Handmaid's Tale, or encapsulates it completely. https://t.co/nSDeKpJN8T
— Petra Starke ?? (@petstarr) September 21, 2018
“I can’t decide if this misses the point of The Handmaid’s Tale, or encapsulates it completely,” wrote one Twitter user.
Wait. Is this…sexy handmaid? This is so far from the point I can't even.
— Noncompliant (@_noncompliant_) September 20, 2018
“Wait. Is this … sexy handmaid? This is so far from the point I can’t even,” said another user.
WTF WHO THIUGHT THIS WAS A GOOD IDEA I JUST WANNA TALK https://t.co/DsHBarTujG
— Kozmik Warlock ?? (@kozmos92) September 21, 2018
“WTF (what the f—) who (thought) this was a good idea …,” added one more person.
However, there were many other people who came to the defence of Yandy, arguing that there was nothing wrong with the outfit.
“There are sexy Handmaid’s Tale outfits for Halloween and tbh (to be honest) I love them,” one defender of the costume wrote. “They are everything Gilead would have hated and that’s perfect in a way I appreciate.”
Atwood chimed in Friday morning when asked by a Twitter user if she could put a stop to the costume’s sales.
No, I can't put a stop to it..@MGM or @HandmaidsOnHulu might say something; but, after appearing at so many protests, the outfit is out of the box by now. Not sure this version will sell many, however. Who exactly would wear it, and on what occasions? Anyway the shoes are wrong. https://t.co/18HeMONM9t
— Margaret E. Atwood (@MargaretAtwood) September 21, 2018
“No, I can’t put a stop to it,” she wrote in response. “@MGM or @HandmaidsOnHulu might say something; but, after appearing at so many protests, the outfit is out of the box by now. Not sure this version will sell many, however. Who exactly would wear it, and on what occasions? Anyway the shoes are wrong.”
Yandy released a statement early Friday morning after receiving a barrage of online backlash.
“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.”
— Yandy.com (@Yandy) September 21, 2018
But there’s good news for fans of sexy Halloween costumes: the site is advertising over 1,900 other party getups for Oct. 31.