English 1102: Television and Feminism

Dr. Casey Alane Wilson • Georgia Institute of Technology

Tag: oitnb

Piper Chapman: The Multifaceted Female Protagonist That TV Needs

If you have been following along with my blogs, you are probably very familiar with Piper Chapman, the protagonist of Orange is the New Black who is spending time in prison for carrying drug money nearly a decade prior. Unlike many female characters shown in television Piper is portrayed as caring, yet surprisingly cruel at times. Although she appears to be very innocent upon first entering Litchfield Penitentiary, she almost immediately shuts down romantic advances from Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” without much thought to how this would make her fellow prisoner feel.

While Piper ended up in prison due to an unfortunate twist of fate, similar to many other inmates, she comes from a vastly different background than her contemporaries. Piper’s wealthier upbringing and previous life sometimes make her stuck-up and disrespectful, it also gives her a different point of view to act as an advocate for the other prisoners. An early example demonstrating that prison life is a far cry from what she is used to is when Piper unintentionally insults Red’s food. However, Piper tries incessantly to make this up to Red, showing that she cares about what the other prisoners think of her and doesn’t just want to be served food again.

A mugshot of Piper

Many female characters are expected to have a monogamous relationship with a man, which Piper initially has at the beginning of the series. Before long, her past relationship with Alex reveals Piper is not more complicated than she appears on the surface. Despite Alex having turned her in to the authorities, Piper forgives her and cheats on Larry with her. While this choice may partially be due to the loneliness she experiences in prison life, it is still a low blow to her faithful fiance.

In conclusion Piper’s relentless self-advocacy, decision making role in her relationships, and morally questionable actions potentially stemming from her transition to a much more difficult life make her the realistic, intriguing character that benefits her show and television as a whole.

If you would like to read more about Piper’s development over the subsequent seasons of Orange is The New Black, check out this article from Vulture: https://www.vulture.com/2015/06/piper-chapman-actually-the-worst.html

Mainstream sells- Culture does not

Somehow all pop culture seems to get a wave of unintentional mainstream which destroys the integrity and their original “voice”. This especially happens with a lot of underground music artists when they get signed to various labels. Their idea is that mainstream music is equivalent to sells, so the sound has to change to fit societal norms. Television has a similar paradigm shift in the originality of the content, specifically the show I have been studying this semester- Orange is the New Black. 

The Beginning of the New Wave

Season four writers did an incredible job creatively showing social issues that were happening worldwide even with the limited cast that they had. This season was home to fighting for social justice, gender rights, the road of self discovery, and much more. Watch the season four recap below:

Season 4 Recap

However as the show progressed it seems that this season was in fact “too” raw. The show takes a dramatic turn and includes way less relevant social issues. Still being a prison show, there is your everyday drama of killing, stealing, and smuggling but in the later seasons it doesn’t feel like the girls are actually fighting for something. Everything turns into a mess.

The shift was mainly in the direction and the take home message that the show intended to give it’s audience. Here’s season five’s trailer:  Season 5 Official Trailer [HD] | Netflix. Based on the trailer you’d think that this would be a season of substance like the previous. However the rawness is toned done by 1000%. While in season four we had things like a underlying religion war between two inmates of same race, season five showcases how limited the minds of inmates can really be (making guards embarrass themselves in a talent show). Season five was a season of revenge, four was a season of purpose and fight.

The most recent season, season six strayed even farther away from the take home message, however ended on a more serious note which confused the entire season. In my opinion the worst season of them all, this was home to a rivalry based on colors of khakis because of a rivalry between two sisters which were having a rivalry about something that didn’t even happen to them! Stupid…I know. The creators seemed to be trying to work with what they had since almost half of the beloved cast wasn’t even included in any of the episodes however what they did do was devalue the impact of the show. The season barely included content and substance that was relevant to the world today until the last five minutes of the last episode. Take a look here OITNB SEASON 6 ENDING.

Pop culture takes a major hit to the fans that have been there since the beginning when they move towards mainstream production. Unfortunately it reaches a wider audience but distracts the overall goal of whatever media it was when it started.

Is Everyone Gay or Just Lonely?

Sexuality and love are two things that permeate every aspect of Orange is the New Black, and they are portrayed in often conflicting yet also related ways. For many characters, feeling alone in prison leads them to seek physical intimacy without a romantic attachment yet while continuing to hold on to outside feelings; this makes their sexuality, often convoluted on its own, both something they seek for the physical connection to others as well as a point of its own identity, even when it interferes with romantic feelings.

The best example of this is in Piper herself. Once Alex, her former girlfriend who got Piper sent to prison in the first place, arrives at Litchfield, the two begin a sexual relationship that hints at potential romantic feelings but never directly are mentioned. However, Piper’s attempts to also cling on to her feelings for her fiancé create a point of contention between all three, and Piper eventually loses both of them for her lack of commitment to either. As Piper’s family struggles to deal with this new turn – just as they struggled to deal with Piper having dated a woman in the first place – they try to put a label on her, asking questions like, “Are you a lesbian now? Were you straight when you got engaged to Larry?” Piper eventually tells her best friend that you cannot be “either straight or gay” and that there is a spectrum, leading viewers to infer that Piper knows her sexuality is something that defines her, although she is not sure how to define it.

Other examples of sexuality as an identity yet using it for comfort are clear in many other characters. Morello, a prisoner who is obsessed with a man that has filed a restraining order against her, has an ongoing same-sex physical relationship for much of the first season but eventually ends it because she “wants to be loyal to Christopher”, leaving viewers to assume that she is heteroromantic but questioning sexually.

Morello and Nicky

Daya begins a physical relationship with Bennett, a prison guard, initially to be able to ask for things from him, and eventually she experiences conflicting feelings of romantic interest and desire for her situation to go away. Although her sexuality is less obviously convoluted, her use of it and then subsequent questioning of why she chose to use it falls clearly into a similar category. Countless other prison hookups, especially amongst friends, are depicted as “experimental”, hinting that they are being done simply because they can and because the prisoners are missing their traditional intimacy. And, most glaringly, Sophia’s wife remains with her former husband after she transitions to female, despite the fact that she is heterosexual, out of a desire for comfort and support. In this way, viewers of OITNB can see clearly that the fluid, often unlabellable sexualities of the prisoners stem mainly from loneliness and a desire to be connected with someone, even at the expense of outside, “more real” connections.

Power of the Uterus

If this were review topic six, six would have been our lucky number. Season six, episode six, Orange is the New Black creators sure know how to make women powerful.

When you have a show about lesbian mastermind criminals under the supervision of officers that are female which are under directors that are also female, you have a sort of power struggle. Even though it is just one gender, the gender is broken into different dynamics. For example in the first two minutes of the episode we are shown four characters: Daddy, Daya, Barb, and the blonde girl (acts as the messenger and one of Barbs servants). Usually in shows, the male presence dominates the female presence however there are no males so we are conflicted with who is in power here. Ultimately Barb is the head of the entire C block because of the superiority she gained when she first entered max. Then we have daddy, the butch lesbian with more manly attributes than the rest and obviously the dominant sexually, which makes her struggle to earn power understanding. Then we have Daya and the blonde girl which are on slightly different levels because of the feelings Daddy has for Daya.

Daddy and Daya showing the simplest affection at the beginning of the episode

Regardless of the position of the prisoners, we still have the position of the prison guards who execute their dominance for more reasons than one and MCC corporate staff that but heads when dominance is taking place.

Let’s examine the interaction between Linda and Natalie. It is obvious that there is a mutual dislike between the two of them and for obvious reasons *cough cough Joe* however one does dominate the other and maybe it is that Natalie does not respect Linda’s position because she lacks the ability to do her job efficiently that they bud heads. However in this dynamic between the two women, the superior seems to be the submissive woman in this interaction.

This display of power within the gender is interestingly depicted by the writers of the episode. There are some many types of girls that it gets confusing who is dominating and who is submissive and why this is taking place. There is no perfect way to set up a sort of “food chain” of power however in scenes it is obvious who is powerful and who isn’t. Without regards to any men, I think that Orange is the New Black efficiently depicts some badass women that can stand alone without the presence of male dominance.

They’re in jail for a reason right??

Sometimes, when watching this show, I forget that these girls are actually criminal masterminds so them manipulating the law confuses me at times; but then I remember these girls are in jail for a reason right? Chocolate Chip Nokie is episode ten in season six and in the first couple of minutes of the episode the directors do a great job at showing how easy it is for our beloved criminal masterminds to get away with running a “multi-million dollar” business.


The episode starts with our “don” Daya using heroin which flows into the showcase of  how she got it in Litchfield Maximum Security (emphasis on maximum). She convinces her mom to work with her by getting into the prison heroin business after her lover-Daddy-messes up how they bring in the contraband. After disguising the heroin packs at the bottom of an extremely unsuspicious container of Chocolate Chip Nokie protein shake, a guard brings it in unknowingly and as the containers are tossed in the trash the contents are obtained. GENIUS right?

In this very short 2 minute clip, the directors seem to capture every time the heroin is seen on screen very closely. From the time Daya uses it first to when her mom is placing it in the canister, heroin is the main focus. These camera angles emphasize the reason some of these girls are in jail. There is such a strong sense of trouble in these few seconds and it just reminds the audience that this is the reason we are watching the show. However it is amazing how these girls maximum their skills and run a full out business better than some of the businesses in their real world (cough cough Red).

The lighting stays consistently bright throughout these two minutes however it gets noticeably darker when the drugs are being transported. I think the directors added this hint of darkness because again the audience needs to remember that although doing it extremely well, a crime is being committed.

In these few minutes of an episode, angles, lighting, and an emphasis on strategy can make the audience in awe of the characters which also establishes a “reader-character connection”.

Finding Everyday Women in Litchfield’s Guards

Gender plays an interesting role in Orange is the New Black, since almost everyone in the show is female. All prisoners at Litchfield are female, and most of the guards are male. Obviously, since the story is told from Piper’s point of view, all the guards are seen as antagonists (and all of the male guards are portrayed as perverted and sex-obsessed in some way), but the three female correctional workers also play a significant role in examining the stereotypes of working women.

Officer Fischer is very empathetic towards the prisoners, as seen in her buying Miss Rosa a Coke at her chemotherapy appointment. Her voice is often soft and kind, she is new to the prison and she is willing to let the prisoners bend some rules. However, she is choked by a prisoner after trying to enforce a rule, a product of both the strong emotions at the time and, likely, the image of the officer as someone that could be an easy target. In this way she is seen as the caring one, yet also someone that can be taken advantage of and manipulated, as are many women beginning their career. They are uncertain of their future or concerned about causing others to dislike them, so they “play nice” to avoid creating hostility, instead compromising their respectability.

Officer Fischer is known for being kind to the prisoners – arguably to a fault.

The other female guard is older, has a hardened face and a sharp tone. She is the foil to Fischer and snaps at prisoners over tiny infractions. However, even she is empathetic to the fact that the female prisoners have specific needs and expresses concern for kids’ futures when Scared Straight visits Litchfield. She represents the women who have worked long enough in a male-dominated career or job that they recognize they have to overcompensate to prove themselves, yet still care.

Another female guard is much less caring, yet still views the prisoners as human.

Finally, Fig, the warden, is a power-happy, cold female who is unsympathetic to anyone, even the other administrators. She repeatedly tells the prisoners that she doesn’t care about their complaints and takes actions only to improve the prison when journalists begin asking questions. She represents the stereotypical powerful female, someone a bit like Petra from Jane the Virgin, who has had to harden herself and get good at manipulating others in order to achieve success.

FIg is cold and cares only about the prison avoiding the spotlight.

Looking at these three women, all struggling to make themselves in a very male-heavy arena, it begs the question – is it possible for a kinder, caring female like Fischer to be rise to the success of someone like Fig? Does a woman have to be as uncaring as Fig in order to achieve success? And finally, is Fig a product of a system that forced her to be cold or was that how she was before, allowing her to be successful?

Getting Out of Prison: Heaven or Hell?

The last episode of the season…definitely the most unforgettable.

Centered around Piper when the show first began, well this season definitely ended with Piper. However, the characters fans grew to love didn’t have the same fortunate fate as did with Piper. Because of such a complex and compelling plot, this episodes goes through multiple intersecting themes.

Tastyee when hearing the final verdict in court.

We can start by examining one of our beloved characters Tastyee. During the season, we follow Tastyee’s case for a murder that she obviously didn’t commit, however she is put on trial because of the role she played as the riot leader and because fingers were pointed when detectives just wanted out of the investigation. The thing that makes her case so conflicting is that the CO murdered is someone that every fan would agree to have hated throughout seasons 4 and 5, dirty police officers covered up and framed the girls for his murder, and one of Tastyee’s best girls testified against her. It is humbling to know that all Tasha Jefferson (Tastyee) wanted was for her friends justice. Her morals and constant fight for the ‘right thing’ makes an overarching theme for the entire season. It is the idea of family first and in this case betrayed by someone she considered family truly stung but proven in Darwin’s theory of evolution, organisms do not behave for the good of society.

Carol and Barb after they slaughtered each other…

Next up we have Carol and Barb. The season broadcasts their rivalry the entire season leading to both of their deaths in the final episode. Following the shows overarching theme, family first, in episode 13 the girls put aside their differences and attempt to work together to murder the person that double crossed them many years back. They always had a rocky relationship but when it came down to murder they always seem to be on the same side especially since they murdered their own SISTER. Somehow together, they schemed up a plan and made the other inmates think that there was going to be an ultimate battle (leading up to all of their deaths at the kickball game) however they were working together to reveal the good ole revenge scheme everyone loves in dramas.

Blanca being sent to immigration services after being released from prison.

The most horrific ending for a character in TV history (besides Tastyee of course) is Blanca Flores. The role she plays as a character has progressed so much throughout the seasons, she went from being a weird woman who didn’t shower or talk, to being one of the most inspirational characters fight for…her family. However her fate revealed to us another theme the show was trying to convey and that is the idea of harsh reality. Despite how much you try to make something work, there is a possibility that it might not which is horrible but just like Blanca said, bad things come in three. We must be prepared. With every twist in turn in the show, the girls always overcome which is why I’m not worried for any of their progress in the next season of the show.

Making Prison Feel Like… Prison

A typical episode of Orange is the New Black goes like this: we open a relevant scene from Piper’s pre-prison life. Flash to Piper’s life now, in Litchfield. Plotline begins to develop, related to another character as well. Flash to that character’s past life. Flash back to Piper, in prison, with said plotline. More flashbacks to reveal the background of the other character. Repeat.

Although difficult to follow sometimes, the transitioning back and forth through different scenes does wonders for how the story is told and for the viewers’ understandings of each character. Episodes tend to follow one character and their involvement with Piper heavily, so the exposition of each character comes out by episode. For example, while Piper fights back and forth with Red, the kitchen boss, we see scenes of Red’s past life in Russia where she is alienated and rejected by upper class society. These flashback scenes allow us to understand Red’s deep pride, which Piper repeatedly accidentally insults, and to empathize a bit more with her. She is no longer a crazy, evil Russian lady but instead someone who has also loved and lost and is suffering her punishment.

We love a humanized character.

Flashing back to Larry, Piper’s fiancé, and the rest of her family and friends allows the audience to also remember that life is continuing without Piper, bringing up a very real conflict that many long-time prisoners experience – they are disconnected from their families, friends, jobs and all other aspects of their life, leaving them with very little left of what they had before when they are finally released. Although Larry attempts to continue to involve Piper, including trying to have her listen in to a call with a Barney’s executive regarding her soap line, there are small signs that he is beginning to re-adjust to life without her, including hiding her picture as he watches Mad Men without her (something that he had promised not to do).

Notable also is the lighting, and the stark variance of the lighting between real-life and flashback. While showing prison scenes, the lighting is fluorescent and sterile; it gives the impression that the inmates are just that, and there is no coziness. Even at night, the highlighting that allows the audience to observe what is occurring is white and cold instead of yellow and warm, as a night light would be. In contrast, almost all flashbacks have softer lighting. They feel homier, friendlier and happier, even when the events depicted may not be. Here, the filming clearly aims to invoke feelings of emptiness, general hopelessness and longing for freedom while the inmates are shown in prison and aims at showing their happiness and satisfaction with life outside of prison.

Through this method of storytelling, viewers find themselves respecting and empathizing with each character, not just the protagonists, and they can begin to see the events of the show unfolding from different perspectives. It is genius, really – and we get sucked into it every time.

A Writer’s Perspective: Viewing Television in a New Light

In this post, I detail the writing and story line of the first episode of season 1 of Orange is the New Black. To prepare myself to better analyze the episode, I read the following article by Rob Serling, one of the first prominent television screenwriters.


This article is actually the introduction to his script Patterns, which was a popular live broadcast in the 1950s about a corporate power struggle. The introduction expresses the mentality and struggles of a television writer. Serling stresses the need to take advantage of the visual nature of television and the advantages of incorporating certain actors and themes into scripts. Something significant that I noticed in this article was that Serling claimed “There are no courses, however specialized and applied, that will catapult him into the profession.” This statement, although in the nascent stage of television, helped build the assumption that women could not be screenwriters.

In contrast to Serling’s beliefs, Orange is the New Black (OITNB) written by the talented female screenwriter Jenji Kohan. Kohan, who is also known for Weeds and Tracy Takes On.., employs several strategies to develop an intriguing introduction which draws viewers in to watch the rest of the season.

In episode 1, the show is told in first person perspective, which I assume will continue throughout the show.  The plot of the episode revolves around a middle aged women (Piper Chapman) who is sent to serve a fifteen month sentence in prison for carrying drug money for her ex-lover ten years ago. The primarily one to one nature of the character’s interactions lead me to believe that the show will heavily emphasize relationships between characters. The episode prominently features flashbacks to give background information about the protagonist, especially about her relationship with her lesbian, drug smuggling ex. These flashbacks also show  that this part of her life continues to haunt her psychologically and shows some of the complex emotional issues that women have to deal with that are not often portrayed in media. To set the premise for future episodes, the writer introduces a conflict with the prison cook and unexpected challenges for Piper, such as not having any money for her first few weeks. There is also a focus on the unexpected aspects of prison, particularly for a person coming from a privileged background.

Kohan constructs Piper as an emotionally complex character who made a mistake in her younger years, allowing the audience to sympathize with her predicament. The appearance of another lesbian prisoner foreshadows that Piper will continue to explore her sexuality, unlike the stereotypical female character. The script also flips traditional gender roles by having the woman outside the household instead of the man. In conclusion, Jenji Kohan starts off Orange is the New Black with an engaging episode that will keep viewers coming back for more while also introducing a complex, realistic female protagonist.

#2: “Orange is the New Black” Implies There Was Black Before…

I doubt there is any show with as diverse a cast as Orange is the New Black. You get an award-winning trans actress. Groups of genuinely Dominican and Puerto Rican actresses (as opposed to the typical white stand-ins). And many women who are genuinely lesbian outside of the characters they may play on the show.

But yet, the diversity pretty much ends there.

After season four came out in 2016, many people were shocked at the lack of black writers for the show, especially given that the end of the season has a clear reference to the Black Lives Matter movement (or so I accidentally spoiled for myself in researching the writing team for this blog, ugh) that is supposedly handled insensitively. In fact, there are no black writers of any gender, nor any Latina writers, despite the large number of Latina actresses in the show.

The writing crew for “Orange is the New Black”

All is not entirely lost. The lead producer, Sara Hess, is a Korean-American, and the head showrunner, Jenji Kohan, is a Jewish American whose grandfather was a Romanian immigrant. Yet Kohan – who graduated from Columbia University – is not exactly the representative of the average American and especially not one that is residing in the custody of the judicial system, nor someone who regularly faces the injustices of American society.

Kohan got her start writing episodes for The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air to mild success and eventually went on to work as head showrunner for Weeds, a show about a mother who sells marijuana to help keep her family afloat. Both Weeds and Orange is the New Black feature strong suburban female leads struggling to deal with illegal issues and their consequences and stay strong through these ordeals. But Kohan recognizes that these are not real-life situations that she has been confronted with: “I can shoot off my big mouth and write my shows and run my shows, and I can recognize how lucky I am because my position is rare and my position is privileged.”

And while the show follows the backbone of the memoir written by Piper Kerman and aims at accuracy in portraying Piper’s – the main character’s – experiences in prison, not every issue that is tackled is handled correctly, and there are some heavy topics that come up. This stems mainly from a lack of diversity of background in the writers’ room. Regardless of the talent of a white writer, she has significantly less experience with institutionalized racism than a black writer, and she can therefore write less accurately or empathetically about it. The same can be said for many of the issues facing America today – without hearing the voices of those who live with the reality every day, we are not hearing the correct story.

And we all want to hear the correct story, to understand the characters as deeply as possible. Even the theme song reminds us, with a group of diverse faces flashing on the screen, to do so.

MLA Citations:

  • Aran, Isha. “Go Ahead, Guess How Many Black Writers Work on ‘Orange Is the New Black’.” Splinter, Splinternews.com, 24 July 2017, splinternews.com/go-ahead-guess-how-many-black-writers-work-on-orange-1793857745. Accessed 10 September 2018.
  • “Jenji Kohan | TV Guide.” TVGuide.com, TV Guide, www.tvguide.com/celebrities/jenji-kohan/bio/194196/. Accessed 10 September 2018.
  • Morelli, Lauren. “While Writing for ‘Orange Is the New Black,’ I Realized I Am Gay.” Mic, Mic Network Inc., 21 May 2014, mic.com/articles/89727/while-writing-for-orange-is-the-new-black-i-realized-i-am-gay#.ZOfJRCFm5. Accessed 10 September 2018.
  • Reign, April. “Orange Is the New Black, But Where Are the Black Writers? Essence.” Essence.com, Essence.com, 24 June 2016, www.essence.com/entertainment/orange-new-black-except-its-writers/. Accessed 10 September 2018.
  • Shipley, Diane. “When Good TV Turns Bad: How Weeds Made a Right Hash of Things.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 30 Apr. 2018, www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2018/apr/30/when-good-tv-turns-bad-weeds. Accessed 10 September 2018.

Jack O’Lantern

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Piper looking like a Jack O’Lantern

Working inside out, I think it is important to evaluate the episode in the middle of the season when thinking about writing because the first episode doesn’t give an accurate depiction of what the season will be like and the last episode usually ends on a tragic note to promote for continuance for another season.

Episode five of season six on the show Orange is the New Black starts pretty f*cked up…We visualize the guards practicing the same behavior that you think about during the 1800’s when auctioneers were selling and biding slaves. Luscheck creates a way to make tracking each inmate easier (similar to the cotton gin????).

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CO Ginger convinces Piper to fight Ruiz

Written by Anthony Natoli, a common writer and editor for the show, he uses comedy to lighten the darkness of the show. While the guards try and collect points for their fantasy inmate game, CO Ginger influences Piper to start a fight with another inmate in order to get her tooth back. She makes a joke saying that she resembled a Jack O’Lantern which pushes Piper off the edge.

Throughout the entire episode Natoli writes with the purpose to manipulate all of the main characters in the show. We experience manipulation with Piper and “Badison” when Badison demands a favor for her in exchange for a favor that Piper did not even ask for. Because of emotional distress, Linda tries to manipulate Fig into building a relationship to get back a Joe, and we experience manipulation between inmate and guard relationships. Further in the season Natoli is also responsible in writing episode 11 where Frieda manipulates Suzanne into thinking they are friends so she can watch her back. He also edited the script for episode 6 in which Pennsatucky manipulates Linda into getting her into Florida (the elderly section of max). Seems like Natoli’s common theme is manipulation.

Netflix Is The New Homework

Hello! My name is Lauren Garrett, I am planning on double-majoring in business administration and international affairs, and hopefully I can somehow manage to graduate in May of 2022 (we’ll see though).

This is me right now, stressing about how stressed I am going to be.

I love English, and every English class I’ve ever taken has been a personal favorite! I took AP Language and AP Literature in high school, so I didn’t take English 1101, and now I’m here. I also wrote for an online Buzzfeed-type website for about a year, submitting articles weekly that ranged from coffee shop reviews to rants about our modern society. Although I cringe now when I read them, I feel like I am fairly apt at writing, and this is definitely my favorite mode of communication. My least favorite would probably be nonverbal since I tend to be sort of twitchy.


Honestly, I was never raised watching television with my family beyond sports games or the news, so I didn’t ever really get into binging shows. When I watched Netflix, it tended to be mainly for the cultural relatability – aka, I watched only the mainstream shows so I could understand the references and pretend that I knew what people were talking about. I also went for the lower commitment shows, like The Office or Parks and Recreation, where the episodes were fairly short and didn’t require a ton of previous knowledge of other episodes. Even shows that I loved fell into the void of “never to be finished”, so getting into The Good Place was a weirdly exciting event for me. I’m excited to continue to spend evenings in my dorm with my roommate watching shows for this class!


However, I do know a bit about feminism. In high school, I formed a feminist club that was aimed at bridging divides between the missions of feminine empowerment and common misconceptions (such as trying to end the stereotype that “feminists hate men!!1!”), and we experienced enough success for the club to be continued on into this year. We did multiple service projects such as professional clothing drives for a local shelter that helped victims of domestic abuse get back on their feet, and we led discussions in high school English classes that were reading feminist literature on how these themes carried over into modern-day society. I am definitely no expert, though, and I certainly never really thought to consider feminism in the context of mainstream media – this class calls to me!

I have chosen to review Orange Is The New Black this semester, a show about a woman getting through her prison sentence in an all-female prison, mainly because I’ve been wanting to watch it since it first came out and never got around to it. Based on what I know about it, however, I am excited to see how each woman is portrayed through the lenses of not only gender but sexuality and background stories. I believe that this show will make for great analysis and discussion of many of our course themes.

Let’s get watching!!

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