Skip to content

Inequality, Culture and Difference Seminar Series

“Costumes and Fashion in Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale”


An hour long seminar delivered by Dr. Karen Ritzenhoff who will look at several examples from Season One and Two of Hulu’s adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale to discuss how dress codes, fashion and shedding dresses carry meanings of resistance. This is in contrast to the film adaptation of The Handmaids’ Tale(1990) by German director Volker Schlöndorff

  • From: Wednesday 24 October 2018, 12 pm
  • To: Wednesday 24 October 2018, 1 pm
  • Location: Room 206 - Mary Ann Evans Building., Nottingham Trent University, Clifton Lane, Nottingham NG11 8NS.,
  • Download this event to your calendar

Past event

Event details


Gender politics and access or lack of power are core themes in the The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood’s 1985 dystopic novel about a sexually corrupt society where Puritan ideals have led to the enslavement of young women in the country of “Gilead”, located in the borders of the United States. The Handmaid’s Tale provides ample narrative materials and a particularly prescient basis to discuss many pressing contemporary social issues in different academic contexts.

The war front in The Handmaid’s Talehas been relocated in the domestic sphere of the American white, upper middle-class home where women’s actual bodies are the battleground.

One of the ways to force the handmaids into submission is by robing them into red cloaks that are standard costumes. In addition, women are shielded from looking and being-looked at by having to wear large, white hoods when they walk outside the house. This fictional costume has been appropriated by women protestors worldwide in 2017 and 2018 to create awareness regarding women’s reproductive rights in the United States, Europe and South America. In one of the early episodes of the second Hulu season, Offred (Elisabeth Moss) manages to escape and burns her red dress. Once recaptured she will have to assume her role again, being forced into the same outfits.

Dr. Karen Ritzenhoff is professor in the Department of Communication at Central Connecticut State University. She is also affiliated with the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program, as well as cinema studies and the Honours Program.

Location details


Nottingham Trent University, Clifton Lane, Nottingham NG11 8NS.


Parking for external visitors is available on Clifton Campus. Please arrive via the main entrance where you will be directed by the gate staff.

Past event

Still need help?

Laura Coffey-Glover
0115 84 83266