A truly scary Halloween costume. Online retailer Yandy is apologizing for a “Brave Red Maiden” costume — a sexualized version of the red robes and white bonnets worn by the handmaids in the Hulu drama The Handmaid’s Tale — that it briefly offered for sale.
The costume, which Yandy had been selling for $64.95, immediately sparked outrage as both the award-winning series and Margaret Atwood’s 1985 book of the same name depict handmaids being treated as sexual slaves.
“An upsetting dystopian future has emerged where women no longer have a say,” Yandy’s product description read. “However, we say be bold and speak your mind in this exclusive Brave Red Maiden costume.”
I’m dressing up as existential despair this Halloween pic.twitter.com/fMyuNuuU1g
— Jessica Valenti (@JessicaValenti) September 21, 2018
Currently, the URL for the product listing leads to an apology from the company. “Yandy always has stood, and will continue to stand, at the forefront of encouraging our customers to ‘Own Your Sexy,’” the retailer stated. “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. 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.”
The statement continued: “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 has courted controversy before: Its “Sexy Shooter Happy Hour” and “Dream Catcher” costumes have incited accusations of cultural appropriation of Mexican and Native American cultures, respectively.
Yandy also offered a Cecil the Lion costume in August 2015, an outfit inspired by the beloved Zimbabwean lion hunted killed by an American dentist on a hunt a month prior.
“We don’t take ourselves too seriously and neither do our customers,” Vice President of Merchandising Pilar Quintana-Williams told HuffPost last year after the company seemingly riffed on First Lady Melania Trump’s inauguration outfit with its “Model Wife Costume.”
Quintana-Williams continued, “The Yandy Girl strives to be the talk of the Halloween party, and we’ve found these topical, pop culture-inspired costumes with a fashion-forward twist are always a fan favorite year after year.”
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