Is nothing sacrosanct? Evidently not when it comes to Halloween costumes. Every year without fail a company somewhere will shock the internet with its tone deaf wares. The latest "fun" outfit to miss the mark? A "sexy" Handmaid's Tale outfit, complete with a thigh-high red minidress and white bonnet.
Yes, an online retailer really did not notice the irony in creating a sexed-up version of the modest red clothing worn by the handmaids in Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel (and award-winning TV show) to highlight their oppression in a cruel totalitarian society. (Where, we might add, they are forced into sexual slavery to procreate with high-ranking men.)
Online lingerie and costume retailer Yandy described the outfit as a "Brave Red Maiden Costume". “An upsetting dystopian future has emerged where women no longer have a say,” read the description. “However, we say be bold and speak your mind in this exclusive Brave Red Maiden costume.”
It was on sale for $64.95 until it was removed following an inevitable social media backlash. In a statement, the company said its "corporate ideology is rooted in female empowerment, and gender empowerment overall."
Yandy said it was aware the costume had been interpreted "as a symbol of women's oppression, rather than an expression of women's empowerment," which had not been the intention. Instead, it was apparently inspired by how the costume had been "use[d] in recent months as a powerful protest image".
But with the removal of the sexy handmaid costume from the internet, you might be struggling for ideas this Halloween. Here are some other feminist figures you could channel for even greater impact. Just don't forget to sex them up!
If we've learned anything from the world of beauty pageants, it's that sashes = hot. And remember: sexiness is all about your deeds, not words. It's been 100 years since women got the vote, it's time the Suffragettes got saucy.
She may have been the first woman to win a Nobel Prize but, sadly, the trailblazing physicist and chemist was also a pioneer of modest fashion. Go for a long, high-neck black dress but radiate some sex by adding an Angelina-esque thigh-high slit.
Pour your curves into a pair of tight Jodhpurs, team with a 1930s-style bomber (pull that zip right down) and you're good to go as the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic.
Rosa doesn't get enough appreciation for her superb glasses collection, and, fortunately, hipster frames are HOT. Pick some up and go as the first lady of civil rights.
Red is the colour of lust (hullo, scarlet woman!) so Marina's signature red robe is already pretty risqué - you might have to take some scissors to it though (not enough leg). Then just stare into space while crying, à la the fearless performance artist this Halloween. Death is coming for us all eventually and is there anything scarier than that?