Imagine walking into a women's bathroom and instead of finding the usual graffiti, you find a fierce, feminist message scrawled across the door. The cool factor would be off the charts, right? Well, that is exactly what New York Comic-Con's female attendees found when they walked into the women's restrooms at the con, courtesy of Hulu and the upcoming The Handmaid's Tale . Hulu's marketing team pulled the powerful Latin phrase "nolite te bastardes carborundorum" directly from the pages of Margaret Atwood's groundbreaking novel, and scrawled it across stall doors, in a beautifully subtle act of guerrilla marketing.
The phrase loosely translates to "don't let the bastards grind you down," and in the book The Handmaid's Tale, Offred finds the phrase scratched in the floor of a closet in the Commander's house, presumably left by a previous handmaid. It is a small ray of hope in an otherwise bleak world where women have no human rights and are used exclusively for bearing children for the upper class. The message is powerful and subtle, and on the bathroom walls at Comic-Con, Hulu left no clues aside from the words themselves to identify the quote's source material. Just like in the book, it acts as a secret code, only this time, it is one excited fans can snap pictures of and tweet as they get even more psyched for the series.
The buzz surrounding The Handmaid's Tale series is growing by the day, and it is no wonder why. Not only is the book a feminist masterpiece, but the casting has been amazing. Mad Men's Elisabeth Moss and Orange Is the New Black's Samira Wiley are both key parts of the stellar ensemble. Hulu also recently released the first teaser for The Handmaid's Tale, and it is an eerie, silent look at the hopeless anonymity of living in the dystopian world Offred inhabits. The teaser shows the women from behind, all walking together in their matching red shawls. It is completely unnerving — as it should be.
The teaser and the Comic-Con marketing should be reassuring to fans who feared the miniseries might not do the book justice. It is clear Hulu understands the importance of The Handmaid's Tale in the feminist literary canon, and plans to honor its warning to society not to dehumanize people. The show is set to premiere in 2017, so in the meantime, keep your eyes open. You never know where its marketing team will find inspiration for more feminist awesomeness next.