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1981
Donald Trump: The Presidency and the Media
  • ISSN: 1466-0407
  • E-ISSN: 1758-9118

Abstract

Though in production before Trump’s election, streaming service Hulu’s serial adaption of premiered to acclaim in April 2017. Audiences denoted parallels between ultra-conservative, fictional Gilead and the United States’ own political climate. In response to women’s issues in particular, international groups utilized the central image as their costume – a crimson robe, a white ‘wing’ bonnet – then occupied public spaces to protest silently. dubbed the garb the ‘Viral Protest Uniform of 2019’, while online lifestyle/culture magazine named it the ‘ultimate symbol of women’s rights’. The activists’ presence is critical to their work. Mirroring their fictional handmaid counterparts, cosplay activists employ a bowed head, a slow steady gait and equidistant spacing to evoke the harrowing restrictions Gilead’s women face – what ideologically fervent aunts call Gilead’s ‘new normal’. Activists’ physicality generates a doubleness: as they perform submissiveness and literally fall into line, they also craft solidarity via resistance. Likewise, the fiction hints at revolution, which may be why, in the #MeToo and Time’s Up era, the emancipatory potential of cosplay choreographies steeped in popular culture offer their own ‘new normal’, disrupting patriarchal paradigms modelled by the Trump administration while offering feminist fan activism as strategies that promote creative, inclusive political action.

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2022-06-01
2024-06-13
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