Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last two years, there’s no way you haven’t heard of the Handmaid’s Tale series. Based on Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel, the series deals with rape and abuse in the nightmarish world where women are treated as commodities.
In an astonishingly insensitive marketing ploy, the producers of the show MGM released a line of wines “modeled” after the characters Ofglen, Offred, and Serena Joy to be sold on Lot18 (someone clearly didn’t understand the novel). Ofglen and Offred were both red wines (unsurprisingly) while Serena Joy snagged herself a white blend.
As soon as Twitter heard about the launch of the wines there was a massive amount of backlash which, in part, was certainly due to the descriptions, the one about Offred particularly, which at the very least would make even the most objective observer feel uncomfortable especially in the context of the novel and the series.
Offred’s wine is described as “completely stripped of her rights and freedom.” It further goes on to say “Offred must rely on the one weapon she has left to stay in control — her feminine wiles. This French Pinot Noir is similarly seductive, its dark berry fruit and cassis aromatics so beguiling it seems almost forbidden to taste. But it’s useless to resist the wine’s smooth and appealingly earthy profile, so you may as well give in. Nolite te bastardes carborundorum, indeed.” The irony!
“Can you turn rape into marketing copy?” “Sure, you bet.” “Great, it’s for Handmaid’s Tale wine.” “Haha, love it.” pic.twitter.com/9089Cveu0G
— Margaret Lyons (@margeincharge) 10 July 2018
Twitter also offered up some better merch options for the show.
Hey @hulu I had some better ideas for merchandising! Handmaid’s Tale the pepper spray. Handmaid’s Tale the IUD. Handmaid’s Tale the enormous donation to the National Network of Abortion Funds. https://t.co/gIRH62wdyf
— Jess Zimmerman (@j_zimms) 10 July 2018
Thankfully, the wines have been pulled, with a Lot18 representative confirming that the wines had been cancelled. Thanks, Hulu, but we’ll take the Handmaid’s Tale without a side of rape culture.