Yandy is pretty well known for making "sexy" costumes out of anything — from South Park to Slender Man. But people drew the line on one of the company's latest ensembles — a sexy version of the handmaid outfit from Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale — leading Yandy to remove it from its site and issue an apology.
— dontwasteyourpretty (@wastedprettypod) September 20, 2018
The "Yandy Brave Red Maiden Costume" started making the rounds online Thursday. It was a provocative version of the outfit Offred (Elisabeth Moss) and other handmaids are forced to wear on The Handmaid's Tale. The ensemble has also become a common sighting at political protests and other events, including the recent confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Yandy's costume drew criticism for sexualising the show's portrayal of female sexual slavery, similar to what happened when lingerie company Lunya announced it was releasing a red sleepwear set called Offred (which doesn't look to be available on its site).
In response to the feedback, Yandy has removed the costume from its online store. The link is still active on the website, but it now directs to Yandy's apology, which you can read in full here:
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.
This isn't the first time a company has pulled a costume for insensitivity. In 2016, Disney removed its Maui from Moana costume after concerns were raised because it featured a specific skin colour, risking coming across as "brownface," as well as appropriating Polynesian mythology.
Similarly, Yandy has received criticism over the years for perpetuating racist stereotypes in some of its costumes, like "War Chief Hottie," "Goddess Isis," or "Shot Glass Geisha Girl." This is something the company continues to do, as one of 2018's releases is "Beautiful Native," one of many stereotypical Native American outfits. And yet, the response hasn't been strong enough to get those removed, or even properly addressed.