“Self-made” billionaire Kylie Jenner hosted a “Handmaid’s Tale”-themed birthday party Sunday, and feminists on social media hated it.
Jenner – a 21-year-old model-entrepreneur and member of the famously overexposed Kardashian-Jenner family – is reportedly a big fan of the Margaret Atwood novel turned Hulu series, the third season of which kicked off last Wednesday. She threw the bash for friend Anastasia Karanikolaou and was among a number of attendees who broadcast it on Instagram.
Servers at Jenner’s party were dressed as “Marthas,” a class of women that serve as domestic servants to elites in Gilead, the dystopian Christian theonomy in which “The Handmaid’s Tale” is centered. Themed drinks made reference to Gilead vernacular with names like “Under His Eyes tequila” and “Praise Be vodka.”
Why the Kylie Jenner “Handmaid’s Tale” bash offends feminists
Despite Jenner’s impressive display of fandom, many other Gilead groupies were appalled by what they saw as her trivialization of the show’s weighty feminist themes – such as patriarchy, rape culture and the indomitable strength of the female spirit.
But why is Kylie Jenner having a handmaids tale party… she does realize it’s about rape & oppression… right?
— christina (@tinatheweina) June 9, 2019
Some commenters compained that Jenner’s timing was particularly inappropriate given the recent rash of allegedly “Handmade’s Tale”-like abortion restrictions.
Kylie Jenner throwing her friend a Handmaid’s Tale themed birthday party complete with robes, Gilead flags, “Praised be” vodka and “Under his eye” tequila is so tone deaf, at any time, but especially when women’s rights and autonomy are particularly under attack. Disheartening.
— Ana María (@anamgom) June 9, 2019
Others assigned Jenner the dreaded epithet of “white feminist.”
Because who doesn’t want a birthday party themed in a universe where women are raped, beaten, and forced to have unwanted children. A world where queer women are murdered or forced to undergo female circumcision.
Sounds like a great party to be at.
This is white feminism. https://t.co/RHLxDpjTBn
— Raelee Puckett-Sharpless (@raeleejaq) June 10, 2019
The woke left has long insisted on holding the Kardashian-Jenner women up as icons, and then being repeatedly disappointed when they don’t live up to the hype. But few cultural symbols are more sacred to the #resistance than “The Handmaid’s Tale.”
Feminist Trump critics have embraced the show as a metaphor, or even a mirror, for President Donald Trump America, in which the rights and even lives of women and other supposedly marginalized groups are said to be under threat.
Women in the iconic red cloaks and white bonnets have opposed not just abortion restrictions, but also countless other developments during Trump’s presidency. A few examples include last year’s confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, a 2017 Republican healthcare bill and various appearances by Vice President Mike Pence.
Samatha Goldman, an activist who helped organize a protest of Pence’s visit to Philadelphia last July, subsequently wrote a Philadelphia Inquirer op-ed explaining why the costumes are more than symbolic to her.
“In 18 months, we have seen the step-by-step hammering into place exactly the nightmarish vision Trump and Pence campaigned on,” she wrote.
“This is why the costumes did not feel symbolic. One of the ‘handmaids,’ Michele, said to me, ‘I protest for any person that feels that this administration is gunning to strip them of their rights and who live in fear as to what’s going to happen next.. I will not just calm down. I will not avoid what’s going on just because it hasn’t impacted my privileges…. yet.'”