My name is Offred. I had another name. Ladies I have to let you go. [SOUND] [MUSIC] [MUSIC] [MUSIC] [MUSIC]
Nothing screams "romance" quite like ... uh, The Handmaid's Tale?
On Wednesday evening, Van Daele & Russell, a wedding photography company based in Canada, posted an image of a bride and groom sharing a kiss while surrounded by several people dressed as handmaids from the Hulu adaptation of Margaret Atwood's dystopian novel of the same name. According to the caption, the photo was taken in Cambridge, Ontario, where the show also films.
"Praise be! Kendra & Torsten are married!" the company captioned the Facebook post. "If theres any The Handmaid's Tale fans out there, youll know most of it is filmed in Cambridge! So, as fans of the show, it only seemed fitting for there to be some Handmaids in K&Ts wedding photos along the hanging wall in Mill Race Park!" A laughing emoji, prayer hands, and the "OK" symbol were tacked on the end, for good measure.
The stark contrast of the couple's clear joy and the bleakness of the "hanging wall" where handmaids in the show are literally hung, left to rot, and displayed as a warning to others who may be thinking of rebelling against their male oppressors/rapists is quite something to behold.
Reactions to the post were swift, and ranged from shock and outrage to plain confusion.
??????????????????????????????????????? pic.twitter.com/zZNzohXZXb— Thackery Binx (@The_SummerMan) October 3, 2019
The straights are not okay pic.twitter.com/jm7Ody6yY4— Caitlin Van Horror (@HelloCVH) October 3, 2019
when you definitely understood what the handmaids tale is about pic.twitter.com/kvmNDUQ0uv— rose (@beep_boopD2) October 3, 2019
Following the backlash, the company responded to dozens of critical comments by copy and pasting the same lengthy statement: "We actually totally agree with ALL OF YOU! Mission: accomplished! Everyone is talking about this issue now, rather than binging on a television series and then not doing ANYTHING about what theyre SO worked up over until the next season comes out in the spring," reads a message signed "S&C," likely referring to namesake founders Shawn Van Daele and Clint Russell.
"Whats sad is that the oppression and hatred, the division, fear and breakdown of HUMANITY & COMPASSION is being perpetuated in every one of these comments," they added. "Take a step back and consider you may not actually know the facts, either that this image was CREATED and put out by a pair of 'Gender Traitors' who are no strangers to many of the subplots of oppression, violence, and inequality that run through Margarets brilliant work."
The message continued, "Whats sad is that everyone is REACTING exactly as expected just like in Gilead and missing the opportunity to think for themselves, to educate themselves and become ENGAGED ACTIVISTS instead of simply keyboard warriors."
Reactions to that comment weren't glowing either, with many on Facebook echoing the sentiment of user Elizabeth Zelle, who wrote, "Ugh, 'lol, we trolled you all!' is not a great look either, to be quite honest. While you're busy throwing shade at the internet for being reactionary, what have YOU done beside photoshop an image and mock the public outcry? How are you being ENGAGED ACTIVISTS (ALL CAPS YELLING)? Congrats on being part of what's wrong with the internet."
Just a few months back, Kylie Jenner was criticized for throwing a Handmaid's Tale-themed party for her friend, in which guests wore vamped up versions of the handmaids' signature red robes and white bonnets. And back in 2018, costume brand Yandy was lambasted for selling "sexy" versions of the look as a Halloween costume.
If you're not familiar with the premise of the show, it's probably the *least* sexy programming on TV right now. A show about the debasement of women in an explicitly misogynist society seems like the last theme couples would want for their wedding (especially a wedding between a man and a woman), but to each their own ... ?