An online retailer has pulled a controversial Halloween costume after facing backlash on social media.
Yandy — a costume, lingerie and rave ware retailer known for its skimpy products— attempted to make dystopian fiction risqué again with the “Brave Red Maiden Costume,” a skin-tight red mini dress with a long red cape and white bonnet, based on the outfits worn by women forced into surrogacy in The Handmaid’s Tale.
In the Margaret Atwood novel and the Hulu television series, woman are stripped of their jobs and are barred from owning property and even reading. Women who are fertile, known as handmaids, are given to powerful families in a dystopian version of the United States, raped, forced to give birth and then the children are given to the families and the so-called handmaids are reassigned to another family. Those who seek to end the oppression are beaten tortured and killed.
According to CNN, the costume’s description referenced The Handmaid’s Tale, reading “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.”
After Yandy released the costume, backlash spread like wildfire across social media, with users criticizing the company for sexualizing a series about misogyny and rape. On Friday, Yandy’s pulled the costume from its lineup.
The company released a statement, which read in part:
“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.”
In recent months, activists have donned handmaid-esque costumes to protest sexual harassment, proposals restricting abortions and even the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Some of Yandy’s other Halloween costume offerings this year include a “sexy” NYT Op-Ed costume and a “sexy” Pizza Rat costume. The retailer is still facing criticism for other skimpy costumes based on stereotypes of Native Americans and other indigenous people.