The Guardian

How The Handmaid's Tale dressed protests across the world

The red-and-white costume from Margaret Atwood’s novel has been donned by women from Ireland to Argentina
Women dressed as handmaids protest against US vice-president Mike Pence in Philadelphia, 23 July. Photograph: Matt Rourke/AP

When US vice-president Mike Pence visited Philadelphia on 23 July, he was greeted by a now familiar sight: a wall of women dressed in scarlet cloaks, with oversize white bonnets obscuring their faces.

The outfit worn by Margaret Atwood’s handmaids in her 1985 dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale and its recent TV adaptation has been in evidence from Argentina to the US, the UK and Ireland, and has emerged as one of the most powerful current feminist symbols of protest, in a subversive inversion of its association with the oppression of women.

It has been donned by pro-choice protesters during Ireland’s successful referendum to revoke the eighth amendment of its constitution and by abortion rights campaigners in Buenos Aires.

In London, protesters put on the cloak

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