Insensitive Halloween costume sparks outrage, causes removal


Courtesy of Creative Commons

“The Handmaid’s Tale” is based on a book of the same name by Margaret Atwood.

Carrie Pommerening, Staff Writer

We’ve sexualized nuns, nurses and traditional Native American attire, and now we are doing it to victims of sexual assault.

Yandy, a Halloween costume company that specializes in sexual costumes, announced that they would be releasing a “Brave Red Maiden” costume based on the handmaid attire from “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

People quickly expressed their outrage about the costume, and Yandy later released an apology statement:

“Yandy always has stood, and will continue to stand, at the forefront of encouraging our customers to ‘Own Your Sexy.’ 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.”

They also stated that their “initial inspiration to create the piece was through witnessing its use in recent months as a powerful protest image.”

Yandy has tried too hard here, and tried to make a complex excuse for a costume. They didn’t think about what the handmaid’s costume truly represents.

In “The Handmaid’s Tale,” the United States government was overturned by radical Fascist Christians who thought women should fulfill their duty of childbearing. Thus, a new country was born: The Republic of Gilead.

The handmaids in this country are women captured and forced into reproductive slavery because of their “sins.” The story is centered around one woman’s story of becoming a handmaid and dealing with the oppression of this morally corrupt dystopia.

“The Handmaid’s Tale” is not about getting a woman’s sexy back, but her journey after losing all basic human rights. The handmaids are treated like cattle. The only people who would find this image sexy are those characters who enjoy raping them.

People wear this costume to protest against those who threaten women’s rights to their own body or reproductive decisions. Their protesting was not about a woman’s ability to be sexy and dress how she wishes to dress, it was about a woman’s right to have an abortion or affordable birth control.

A woman’s autonomy over her own body has nothing to do with sexiness. If someone from Yandy thought their mission had anything to do with the theme of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” they’d be wrong. If they thought the women protesting in the handmaid costume were fighting for their right to be sexy, they’d be wrong.

There is nothing wrong with woman owning her sexiness, but we need to think about what some costumes may represent. There are already so many questionable costumes out there, so let’s not add a symbol for the oppression of women to that list.

Yandy made a huge mistake with this costume. It takes away the meaning behind it and the impact it makes when protestors wear it. We should use this as an example of how we all need to realise the narrative we create when wearing these kinds of costumes.

Some may say that it’s just a costume, but it is more than that. Once people started recognizing and using it as a symbol to protest for the protection of a women’s rights, it became so much more.

Own your bodies, ladies. Own your sexiness. Don’t own the appropriation of culture or a symbol used to protest for women’s rights.