10 months ago
Last month, a group of Texas women reportedly donned red robes and white bonnet hats in protest of various anti-abortion measures being considered by the state Senate. The outfits were not arbitrary; they were modeled after characters from Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, a 1985 dystopian fiction novel that explored the subjugation of women in a totalitarian theocracy that completely outlaws abortion.
Now, ahead of the April 26 release of Hulu’s television adaptation of the book, women have been spotted donning the same red robes across various American cities, including New York, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.
What’s unclear is whether or not each instance is a protest against President Donald Trump, who has been repeatedly criticized by women’s advocacy groups for signing legislation to cut federal funding to Planned Parenthood—or if it is a unique marketing stunt by Hulu, as was the case at SXSW when the company hired silent, red-clad Handmaids to walk through the festival.
Either way, it’s getting people talking.
Handmaids were spotted handing out promotions for the show in New York City, according to one Twitter user who encountered them in Bryant Park.
Handmaids were also seen at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, where Atwood spoke earlier this month.
The Handmaid’s Tale takes place in a future world where poorer women don’t have rights, and young, fertile women are sex slaves whose purpose is solely to help rich families conceive. A number of liberal social media commentators have interpreted the new show as a current political metaphor.
“The book is nearly 35 years old, so if it is anti-Trump, God bless time traveler Margaret Atwood,” showrunner Bruce Miller told The Hollywood Reporter. “Certainly the current political climate affected us, but it was never a discussion about particular people or particular programs that were going to be in place.
Some social media users speculated about whether or not continued encounters were a direct protest of President Trump, or “viral marketing.” The official Handmaid’s Tale Twitter account responded to inquiries with a coy: “Under his Eye.”
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