Nothing Sexy About Rape: Online Store Pulls Sexy 'Handmaid's Tale' Costume After Backlash - NBC Bay Area

Nothing Sexy About Rape: Online Store Pulls Sexy 'Handmaid's Tale' Costume After Backlash

This incident is a part of a long Halloween legacy of marketing offensive and controversial costumes

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    There's nothing sexy about rape, some online commenters noted.

    If Halloween is approaching, then it must be time for another retailer to pull its Halloween costume for bad taste.

    This year the early offender is an online lingerie store that has removed a sexy “Handmaid’s Tale” costume from its website after receiving massive backlash on social media.

    The show, which was based on the book by Margaret Atwood, was set in a dystopian America where women were forcefully used as surrogates and sex slaves.

    The product description for Yandy’s “Brave Red Maiden” costume makes a direct reference to the critically acclaimed Hulu drama, USA Today reported.

    "An upsetting dystopian future has emerged where women no longer have a say," the description reads. "However, we say be bold and speak your mind in this exclusive Brave Red Maiden costume."

    Many social media users commented on the misogynistic aspect of selling a costume about female oppression. Some also noted the irony that this product was removed when many stores continue to sell offensive race- and culture-inspired costumes. 

    This is not the first time that Yandy has marketed a Halloween costume that might provoke backlash.

    Last year, the company began selling its “Reality Star in the Making” costume for $59.95 with a product photo featuring a pregnant Kylie Jenner look-alike in a short, tight white dress.

    The description promises to “boost your show’s ratings” with the help of a "faux pregnant belly."

    Yandy’s questionable product choices are a part of a long retail Halloween tradition of selling controversial costumes.

    In 2017, Walmart and several other retailers took down a “World War II Evacuee” costume, which included a green beret, a blue dress and a satchel. The item caused an outrage because of its resemblance to Jewish Holocaust victim Anne Frank. Amazon, however, continues to carry the product on its website.

    Walmart also had to pull its $4 “Razor Blade Suicide Scar Wound Latex Custom Makeup” kit in 2016 after receiving complaints that the kit supported self-injury.

    In the same year, online retailer Costumeish faced a social media outcry in 2016 after posting a “Parisian Heist” costume parodying Kim Kardashian’s robbery in Paris. The listing sported a bound and gagged model who looked like Kardashian dressed in a white bathrobe and wearing a huge ring.

    Time reported that social media users also accused the Disney online store of racism in 2016 after it attempted to sell a costume of a character from the “Moana” movie. The Maui costume included a brown bodysuit and tattoos, which would make the wearer dress up as a person of color. Disney later apologized and quickly took the costume off its website.

    Like those companies, Yandy seems to be reflecting on its decision to sell the handmaid costume after the retailer said it received many “sincere, heartfelt response, supported by numerous personal stories.”

    A statement on Yandy’s site, which has since replaced the red cape, mini dress and bonnet ensemble, apologized for the offensive costume. The company called the incident “unfortunate” and said it was not their “intention on any level.”

    “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 reads. “Our initial inspiration to create the piece was through witnessing its use in recent months as a powerful protest image.”