What better way to congratulate someone on their pregnancy than a depiction of rape, eh?
Just a few weeks ago, a fancy dress company came under fire for stocking a “sexy” Handmaid’s Tale costume. Now, a stationery store has sparked an online debate with its dystopic take on the classic “congratulations on your pregnancy” greeting card.
No, we aren’ kidding: earlier this week, Gillian Branstetter shared a photograph of the card – which features a pregnant Handmaid and the words “Praise Be!” – on her personal Twitter account.
“Seems like a dubious choice for a ‘congrats on your new baby’ card,” she noted wryly.
She isn’t wrong. Check it out:
As anyone who has watched an episode of the darkest and most brutal show to ever grace our televisions will tell you, a pregnant Handmaid is no cause for joy.
Based on Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel of the same name, The Handmaid’s Tale (in which Elisabeth Moss plays titular ‘handmaid’, Offred) takes place in Gilead, a near-future version of North America in which the Constitution has been overthrown. As a result of this, women’s rights and identities have been stripped away, with fertile women being rounded up, red tagged, and forced into a life of sexual servitude and surrogacy. They are held down by their mistresses each month and raped by their ‘Commanders’. And, if a Handmaid should fall pregnant as a result of one of these encounters, they are kept on in the household for as long as their baby needs to be nursed. As soon as their milk dries up, they are shipped off to another house and another Commander, where they will be raped and impregnated again. And again. And again, until their ovaries are no longer viable and Gilead no longer has any use for them.
If a Handmaid refuses to take part in the Ceremony? They are tortured, killed or shipped off to work and die in the radioactive colonies. And if a Handmaid attempts to kill herself, as a final desperate means of escape? Well, as we saw in the first season with Janine (Madeleine Brewer), everything possible will be done to save their lives – only for them to be sentenced to death when they are fully recovered.
With all that in mind, is it any wonder that so many people were shocked by this Handmaid’s Tale-themed greeting card?
However, there were those who could see some use for the alternative greeting card.
While some people insisted that the card, and its gallows sense of humour, was fine so long as senders “knew their audience”:
One thing everyone on the internet can agree on, though:
Image: Channel 4/Hulu