A popular trend with Halloween costumes is to modify an iconic outfit to make it more "sexy" for men and women, but in the case of costume distributor Yandy, some consumers thought they took things a little too far. Cashing in on the popularity of Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale, the retailer sold a "Brave Red Maiden Costume" that was much more revealing than the outfits depicted on the series.
I’m dressing up as existential despair this Halloween pic.twitter.com/fMyuNuuU1g— Jessica Valenti (@JessicaValenti) September 21, 2018
In the series, based on Margaret Atwood's novel of the same name, an authoritarian government forces women into subservience to men and are subjected to physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. The issue that consumers took with the costume wasn't the concept of female empowerment, but that sexualizing a show in which women are subjected to countless horrors went against everything that the show seemingly represents.
Due to the backlash, Yandy pulled the costume and issued a statement.
"Yandy always has stood, and will continue to stand, at the forefront of encouraging our customers to 'Own Your Sexy,'" the company's statement on Twitter read. "We support our customers being comfortable in their skin, regardless of who they are or what they choose to wear. Our corporate ideology is rooted in female empowerment, and gender empowerment overall."
It continued, "Over the last few hours, it has become obvious that our [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 noted.
Various different causes in the current political administration have echoed chilling elements of the fictional show, with protesters often adorning themselves in the iconic outfit when attending protests to remind activists just how closely the series has been reflecting a possible future for the United States.
Before being pulled from the site, the costume 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 featuring a red mini dress, a matching cloak with an attached hood, and a white bonnet headpiece."0comments
The first two seasons of The Handmaid's Tale are currently available on Hulu.