Search Results for: orange is the new black
When I searched my mental rolodex for Black female characters in film or television who are unlikable my mind continued to circle. I was lost.
Morello’s abovementioned childlike room, her harping on about how her and Christopher’s romance is “meant to be,” like something out of ‘Notting Hill,’ ‘Pretty Woman’ or ‘Cinderella,’ and her psychotic break that sees her stealing the prison van to break into Christopher’s marital home, shows just how damaging society’s “wedding industrial complex and… [its] need to infantalise grown women,” as Nicky puts it, can be. It’s also an all-too-common one drummed into Western women everywhere they turn.
‘OITNB’ does not always blame the id. It also wonders whether larger societal forces are culpable too. Take, for instance, adorable Lorna (Yael Stone) a modern day zeitgeist for Bridezillas. As a compulsive shopper, she’s a victim of the consumer industrial complex that taught her happiness and fulfillment can be bought. When a cute man rejects her after one date, she realizes she can’t buy or scam her way into love so it triggers a fatal attraction in her. Pornstache’s adopted patriarchal mindset that women are merely pleasure objects leaves him jobless, in jail, and alone. Officer Healey’s misogyny leads him to procure a “traditional” wife via mail order, only to discover that true companionship can’t be bought or found through biased gender roles.
It’s not all doom and gloom, though. Sophia leads the inmates in an episode-long exploration of “which hole” pee comes out of and the importance of knowing your body. This season really attempts to get at life in America’s underfunded and overcrowded minimum security prison system. While there’s still a ways to go in achieving a realistic portrayal of the dire reality many incarcerated women face, it’s the only piece of pop culture striving to do so.
The second season of ‘Orange is the New Black’ is all about respect: how you get it, how you keep it, whether it’s something that someone can give you, or something you hold for yourself. Anchored by a standout performance by Lorraine Toussaint, this season is darker and richer than its predecessor, but still extremely fun to watch.
Yet although the show deals with a number of important social issues, and contains naturalistic elements, its subversive, socio-political power lies in its vivid, carnivalesque interpretation of prison life. It contains heart-breaking incidents but it also honors endurance and joyous resistance. Celebrating individuality, personal expression, and sensual pleasures, ‘Orange is the New Black’ ultimately humanizes women who have been dehumanized.
I found myself wondering about the designation of sexploitation. Female nudity in itself isn’t exploitative. Women fighting and women being abused are things that happen in prison. Are representations of women in these situations inherently exploitative, or are we conditioned to see women’s bodies and women’s actions and think: object? Certainly frame after frame of powerful, complex, awful and good, sympathetic and loathsome women has some kind of effect on the viewer. Since we are conditioned to only really consider the straight white male gaze as the norm, we see these movies as highly sexualized and exploitative.
Wentworth poster Written by Amanda Rodriguez Wentworth is an Australian women’s prison drama that is much grittier, darker, more brutal and realistic than Netflix’s Orange is the New Black could ever hope to be. This bleak realism also makes Wentworth‘s well-developed characters and situations much more compelling than its fluffier American counterpart. Don’t get me […]
The cast of Orange is the New Black. Written by Myrna Waldron. I am not much of a TV watcher. I prefer films for a few reasons – they don’t take as long to watch, plots are resolved, character arcs don’t get derailed, etc. But I’ve started bingeing on Netflix in a smaller window while […]
Written by Robin Hitchcock Orange is the New Black Orange is the New Black has more buzz than an apiary this summer, and with good reason: it’s funny, emotionally affecting, intensely watchable, and as a Netflix original series, suited to an immensely satisfying weekend binge-watch. But on top of all that, OitNB offers a lot […]
‘Orphan Black’ tackles two very different hot-button topics in a way that’s considered entertaining, insightful, and groundbreaking: the possible repercussions of cloning and the dynamics of the female personality. Show creators Graeme Manson and John Fawcett are earning praise for breaking decades of television stereotypes that resulted in most female characters either taking a backseat role or displaying a single, overriding personality trait (i.e., the ditzy blonde, the butch female, the submissive housewife). As the feminism in ‘Orphan Black’ earns praise, however, there’s been some criticism of the show’s underdeveloped male characters–a glaring contradiction that may be intentional.
We live on a planet, populated, in near-equal parts, by males and females. We move about the world, where (in our country at least), the work-force is again, split right down the middle. We all come from families, where, at least for nine months of our existence, we were held within the experience of a woman. Our first connection to another human, a literal connection which formed and fed us, was with a woman. But, you just don’t see that. Once in the world, our art and culture belie that experience. The populations in TV, in film (maybe all arts and culture), tilts strangely in one direction. It is disorienting. Disorienting because it is a lie. I don’t think art is a place for lies. I think, it’s the place for truth-tellers. For whistleblowers.