5 reasons why ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ cosplay will become huge

handmaid's tale cosplay
(via Margaret Atwood’s official Twitter page)

In just several weeks since its release The Handmaid’s Tale has been blowing viewers’ and critics’ minds alike with its combination of consummate artistry and astute socio-political commentary. Because of this and a number of other reasons, I predict that Handmaid’s Tale cosplay is going to be huge this year (for every year this show continues to run and for every year the GOP stays in power). Count on seeing plenty of it at both comic cons and political rallies and marches alike.

Let’s run down what these reasons are.

1. It’s Timely as Hell

There are those who say that The Handmaid’s Tale isn’t timely because the original novel was published in 1985, but something doesn’t have to be new  just to be timely. Timely just means that it feels particularly relevant at a particular time, namely right now. One writer even opined that calling Handmaid’s Tale timely was “nonsense” just because the events in the book/show don’t literally mirror what’s going on in reality detail for detail. The thing is, no one watching The Handmaid’s Tale is confusing the fictitious events depicted in it as being literal fact – what we’re impressed by is the way certain real-life themes are being powerfully echoed in it.

In any event, despite what some have said, this show (and the book) are timely. They’re damn timely – as much as anything can be said to be. Because of this, anyone who does Handmaids cosplay at a con or geeky event will stand out in a sea of cosplay.

2. It’s Easy Peasy

elaborate cosplay
Uh, yeah… not gonna be making anything like THAT anytime soon. (via fashionablygeek.com)

Cosplay is a whole lot of fun. That’s why many people who have never done cosplay before want to try it. But there are definitely barriers that discourage some people like cost and time, not the mention the skill required to put together a costume all by oneself the way popular celebrity cosplayers do. So people who aren’t super serious about it but want to try it just for fun will sometimes buy or rent costumes. But the problem with rented costumes is that they often look crappy. Compare a picture of someone in a cheap spandex Spider-Man outfit with someone who has made the effort, and spent the money, to make her costume look good and you get the picture.

But with Handmaid’s Tale cosplay this is less likely to be an issue in the first place. Handmaid costumes are relatively simple so you could probably put one together yourself with fairly common materials, even if you have zero sewing or crafting skills. And due to its simplicity and lack of intricate detail you could probably just rent one somewhere and it would still look okay. Also, because of the loose-fitting nature of the costume you wouldn’t have to worry about looking ridiculous in spandex.

3. It’s Extremely Eye Catching


The stark, blood red nature of the handmaid outfits is extremely striking visually, especially if people do it together in groups (see the next item on this list) and especially if people get into character by putting on a somber face and keeping silent, the way the fictional handmaids in the show do. That’s why those publicity appearances by costumed handmaids at official Handmaid’s Tale events have been a brilliant stroke of marketing.

4. It’s Great for Group Cosplay

bad avengers group cosplay
Group cosplay FAIL.

Have you ever tried to coordinate a group cosplay effort? If you thought cosplay was difficult before, just wait until you try and get a group of people to go about it in an organized manner.

“Hey, guys, let’s all go to Comic Con and cosplay together as the Avengers!”

Uh, yeah, it sounds great until you try it. It can be a real headache of figuring out the logistics and navigating everyone’s ideas, preferences, insecurities and hang-ups.

But with a group handmaids cosplay, all everyone would have to do is just throw on a red robe and don one of those white headpieces! Done! Comic Con, here you come!

5. It Combines Geeky Fun with Political Activism

handmaid's tale cosplay
The Canadian feminist-activist group the Radical Handmaids (via radicalhandmaids.com)

There have been other recent politically charged works of dystopian science fiction that have been well received lately like Amazon’s The Man in the High Castle, but nothing else has struck such a chord with so many people in such a powerful, disturbing way as The Handmaid’s Tale. And by wearing Handmaid’s Tale cosplay, fans of the show who also happen to be political conscious can kill two birds with one stone – that is, they can make a political statement and have fun geeking out at the same time (and indeed, politically charged cosplay seems to be something that is gradually becoming more of a trend).

This is actually something that the Canadian activist group who call themselves the Radical Handmaids have already been doing for years. Only now I think they’ll be finding that a lot more of their American sisters will be joining them from the other side of the border.

Need a DIY guide for how to put together Handmaid’s Tale cosplay? CLICK HERE

handmaid's tale cosplay

About June Red