After an immediate and growing backlash, online women’s apparel retailer Yandy removed their “sexy” ‘Brave Red Maiden Costume’ and issued an apology on Friday. While the retailer is known for ridiculous lingerie and offensive Halloween costumes based on ethnic stereotypes, apparently the company has found the line they won’t cross: sex slavery!
The ‘Yandy Brave Red Maiden Costume’ is an obvious version of the crimson robes worn by Handmaids in Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale. In the series, and the original novel by Margaret Atwood, handmaids are women forced into sexual slavery in an ultraconservative religious theocracy called the Republic of Gilead. The robes have taken on a charged new significance under the current administration of Donald Trump, and women have worn them as a protest against misogyny at political events. Naturally, Yandy thought: let’s make a “sexy” version of the outfit worn by brutalized slaves in 2018!
Yandy’s futile attempt to profit from the zeitgeist met with ferocious condemnation online. On Friday, Yandy removed the outfit and issued an apology in its place on their site:
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.
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. 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.
Better late than never, Yandy.