Nothing says “happy birthday” like a recreation of a dystopian society in which women’s rights have been systemically and violently ripped away. At least, that’s what Kylie Jenner seems to think. As reported by Vulture, the youngest of the Jenner-Kardashian clan recently hosted a birthday party for her friend Anastasia Karanikolaou and, for some reason, decided to make that party Handmaid’s Tale-themed. Photos and video surfaced on Snapchat over the weekend, showing that this gathering straight out of Margaret Atwood’s nightmares was about as tone-deaf as one would imagine.
“Praise be, ladies, Welcome, welcome! We’re gonna watch the first episode,” Jenner chirped, dressed head-to-toe in a slightly flirtier version of the ankle-length red dress and cloak the women of Gilead are forced to wear. That same outfit, it should be stated, has been adopted by many women protesting laws aiming to limit women’s rights. The first three episodes of season three of the popular Hulu series premiered last week, so there’s a chance that this elaborate birthday party is just a poorly-conceived social media promotion, but that’s a very generous reading. Regardless, given the dark, oppressively heavy tone of the show and the recent, real-world developments around women’s reproductive rights, people were less-than-thrilled by Jenner’s choice in party theme.
Still others, like New York Times writer Amanda Hess, argue that reserving the act of watching a TV show for when you’re engaging in sincere activism doesn’t really make sense. The creators of Handmaid’s Tale produced the show to be a form of entertainment, after all. Why should we treat it like some sort of harrowing ordeal that should only be invoked when we’re protesting outside the state capitol?
Clearly, there’s some truth to that. We would argue, however, that sipping a bunch of fun cocktails with your gals and then sitting down to watch an excruciatingly depressing hour of television still sounds like a pretty bad party. However, we’re on pins and needles waiting for Kylie’s inevitable Chernobyl-themed shindig.
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