Nothing is More Exciting than Orange is the New Black

by | August 15, 2013
filed under Feminism, Pop Culture

Orange is the New Black publicity poster

Orange is the New Black publicity poster

by Winter Black

What’s more exciting than a TV show filled to the brim with women – and diverse women at that? Don’t even try to think of something. It doesn’t exist. Which is why Orange is the New Black is so great. It’s fantastic. It’s wonderful. It’s womenful. WOMENFUL. I really mean it, the world has never seen this many women on screen at once. It’s why we’re all so giddy about Netflix’s newest television show.

If you haven’t yet watched it, do. If I haven’t yet convinced you, I’m about to.

Based on the true story of Piper Kerman, (though I’ve heard the “real” story is very, very, different), Orange is the New Black is set around the character of Piper Chapman, though she’s known as simply Chapman in prison. She’s dragged away from her comfy New York apartment, where she lived with her fiancé Larry, and placed in a woman’s prison, because of a crime she committed ten years prior. The crime was smuggling drug money for her (now ex) lesbian lover, with whom, to her surprise, she now has to spend 15 months in prison.

Though Piper is the main character, the show has a huge ensemble cast and for me, it’s the other characters that stand out. It’s the diversity of the inmates in the prison that make the show golden. There’s tons and tons of women of colour with great storylines, including a trans* woman of colour, played by trans* actress Laverne Cox (who does an incredible job, I must add). The women in this show come in all body types, and in one scene, the idea that being called fat is an insult is mocked by an inmate.

The sexual orientations of the women in the show vary from straight to bisexual to gay to I-date-whoever-the-heck-I-want-to. Some characters in the show even discuss that sexuality isn’t always black and white, which makes for not only a great scene, but a great lesson for viewers. The best part is that a lot of the gay women’s storylines don’t purely revolve around the fact that they’re gay (a thing that shouldn’t be something to celebrate but unfortunately is).

Orange is the New Black is exactly what feminists – and most women, have wanted for years. It’s a huge step in the right direction for all women, especially LGBTQIA women and women of colour. I couldn’t be happier that it’s already been renewed for a second season (I am waiting very impatiently.) Not only is the show cast incredibly, with very talented actors, and written with just the right amount of morals, humour and drama, but it’s a show that I think almost all women could relate to – even if you’re not spending time in prison.

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