A “se.xy” handmaiden’s Halloween outfit inspired by Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel and now Tv program The Handmaid’s Tale could have been yours for a red hot second. The halloween costume – sold by United states lingerie company Yandy – was reported “offensive” by the internet. Needless to say.
Yandy duly removed the Sexy Halloween Costumes For Women, saying: “Over the last couple of hours, it is obvious that the ‘Yandy Brave Red Maiden Costume’ will be viewed as a symbol of women’s oppression, rather than an expression of women’s empowerment.” In the true spirit of Halloween, taking out the costume from sale had been a misstep. The costume casts among the spookiest images easy for modern women. The spectre of any handmaiden is really haunting, more so than a ghoul or ghost or zombie.
For anyone unfamiliar with Atwood’s nightmarish world, a handmaiden is actually a woman who may have an intact reproductive system within an era of growing infertility. Handmaidens have to carry the offspring from the ruling class. They wear distinctive red dresses and white bonnets that obscure their faces.
The handmaidens are ladies who are valued simply for their reproductive function, they have got no autonomy, and therefore are essentially raped every time they are assigned to bear a kid. In Atwood’s dystopia, women generally speaking aren’t permitted to read or write and therefore are stuck in domestic roles. As Yandy highlights within their apology, handmaiden’s costumes (albeit canonical, non-s.exy versions) have already been donned around the globe by protesters demanding greater rights for females. The costumes were used both in Ireland and Argentina to campaign for abortion rights, these people were used in Britain to protest Donald Trump’s state visit, and they’ve been used round the US to protest numerous bills, such as funding cuts to reproductive health centres. The point is to draw a parallel between the way women are silenced in dystopian fiction and the way women in today’s political climate feel silenced on matters associated with their particular bodies. To some degree, the dystopia has arrived.
The Adult Halloween Costumes takes this iconic handmaiden image and propels it into the absurd. It shortens and tightens the figureless red robe and adds fishnet stockings and extremely high heel shoes. Besides it connote an (all too real) world where girls have no say over their reproductive health, but it additionally produces in the fore the truth that women are overtly se.xualised.
It’s easy to see why so many individuals wrote into Yandy saying that it absolutely was offensive, but surely there’s also something darkly humorous about this too. It’s bizarre that somehow the world of retail will be able to spin a story about oknqdh and misogyny into an empowering garment. The initial item description read: “An upsetting dystopian future has emerged where women no more have a say. However, we say be bold and speak your brain within this exclusive Brave Red Maiden costume.” The irony astounds.
Beyond the laughter, if they meant to or otherwise not, Yandy sold the ideal Adult Halloween Costumes. It mixes the puritanical reproductive coercion of The Handmaid’s Tale with all the objectification and commercialisation of female bodies. It displays a dystopian reality that may be inside our future, and may also describe our present. It’s a totally scary approach to observe Halloween.