‘Handmaid’s Tale’ costume removed from sale after huge backlash

Costume removed after being described as "tone deaf" and "misogynistic" online

A US retailer has removed a controversial Handmaid’s Tale costume from sale after receiving widespread criticism.

Yandy.com removed the costume from its site after it was branded “tone deaf” amidst accusations of “sexualising misogyny and rape.”

Referred to as the “Brave Red Maiden” costume, the product consisted of a red cape and white hat – the same one worn by the handmaids in Margaret Atwood’s novel The Handmaid’s Tale and the TV series it inspired.

A further option included a mini-dress with the 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.”

The product prompted a widespread backlash online. One Twitter user, Zoe Margolis said: “We’re now beyond satire. “Sexy” Handmaid’s Tale outfit. There’s nothing light fighting the patriarchy by sexualising a show about misogyny and rape.”

Another, Kim Horcher said: “Do you love The Handmaid’s Tale for its dystopian themes about a degraded future society where women no longer have any sort of rights or autonomy, holding up a mirror to our own reality? Cool, well, here’s a sexy version for Halloween for you.” You can read some more reaction to the product here:

After the backlash, the costume was removed from the retailers site; they also issued a statement saying it was “unfortunate” it had been interpreted as “a symbol of women’s oppression, rather than an expression of women’s empowerment.”

They added: “Our corporate ideology is rooted in female empowerment, and gender empowerment overall.”

When the TV adaptation of the Handmaid’s Tale aired last autumn, many other similar costumes appeared online, prompting further controversy.

Handmaid's Tale wine

Elisabeth Moss in ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’

Back in July, a series of ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ wines were released. Three varieties were available in the range – two reds named after Offred (Elisabeth Moss) and Ofglen (Alexis Bledel), and a white named after Serena Joy (Yvonne Strahovski). 

However, after widespread criticism, the wines were removed from sale. The second series of the show has just finished airing in the UK.