Combat Zone

Devout male feminist shows up to Halloween party in revealing Handmaid costume

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By Queen McBean

In a symbolic gesture that nearly moved him to tears, devout male feminist Mark Atwoody-Guthrie wore a handmaid’s costume to his office’s Halloween party on Monday, October 31st. The handmaid’s costume in question — popularized by the book “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood and its subsequent TV adaptation — has become a feminist symbol of patriarchal oppression, leaving many of Atwoody-Guthrie’s colleagues with numerous questions about what it meant for a man to wear the costume. When asked for clarification, Atwoody-Guthrie delivered an impassioned speech about the significance of the costume as a symbol — a symbol to women that “Atwoody-Guthrie gets it.” It should be noted that this self-proclaimed “champion of equality” did refer to himself in the third person. Elaborating further, he spoke at length about how he hoped to use this handmaid’s costume to show his female colleagues that he “knows his place, as a white man, in the fight for equality: standing shoulder to shoulder with [his] oppressed counterparts in the face of the patriarchy.” It was at this point that Atwoody-Guthrie opened his costume’s cloak, revealing that he was shirtless and shimmering with what appeared to be baby oil.

  Making what his colleagues described as a “desperate, almost last-ditch attempt at flexing,” Atwoody-Guthrie explained that he hoped to elevate women with his physical strength and the strength of his conviction in social justice. After this gratuitous display, he turned away from both the reporter and his colleagues, who had gathered around him out of a combination of amusement and vague concern, and affected an expression of constipated contemplation. Speaking in the most pained voice a cishet white male could muster without physical injury, Atwoody-Guthrie then attempted to reflect on his own privilege, pondering aloud about how his physical “strength” was the product of being forced to conform to societal gender norms. “But,” he continued, “if I use my masculine physique to uplift women, then that means something beautiful can come out of all this ugliness.” It must be emphasized that this monologue was not prompted by any of his colleagues engaging him about his handmaid’s costume. On the contrary, all of Atwoody-Guthrie’s colleagues actively avoided any contact with him, eye contact included. Although this aversion was partly attributable to Atwoody-Guthrie declaring his disappointment in the fact that no one else “capitalized on this opportunity to take a stand against male domination in our society” at the beginning of the party, interviews with his colleagues revealed that this sort of behavior is not unprecedented. Although dressing in a handmaid’s costume for an office Halloween party — before effectively stripping and beginning to monologue — would seem extraordinary, it was reportedly somewhat tame by Atwoody-Guthrie’s standards.

  One notable example of his self-proclaimed “social activism” was his hijacking of an HR sensitivity training seminar to deliver a poem about respecting the boundaries of individuals who do not feel comfortable sharing their sexuality with others yet, in which he outed six of his colleagues and his boss. Another such example was his dressing up as Black Panther Chairman Fred Hampton — and insisting on greeting everyone in the office with the Black Power fist — every day of Black History Month. At this point, one may wonder why Atwoody-Guthrie has not been fired yet, to which point the HR department of his employer, Medium Business Inc., responded: “We would never consider firing our most socially engaged employee; he has championed the transition of our office culture into an inclusive, progressive environment.”