Event Title

Forming Identities through the Prison Industrial Complex: Is 'Orange is the New Black' Feminist?

Location

Diamond 123

Start Date

30-4-2015 9:00 AM

End Date

30-4-2015 11:55 AM

Project Type

Presentation

Description

What makes something feminist? TIME magazine applauded OITNB for not basking in its overt feminism. Since the show aired in 2013, magazines have covered countless stories about the cast hanging out off set and Laverne Cox has been invited to many colleges (including ours) to talk about issues of race, gender, and sexuality. The book, on which the series is based, has become a best seller. With my research question, I am to think about the impact of the characters' stories on the audience. To address this impact, it will be important to consider the different types of people who watch the show. As I explore OITNB, it will be exceedingly important to consider that some of the literature regarding Kerman's book critiques how and why the story is even being told. It will be important to contextualize the universalism of whiteness that provides a safe way for white viewers to experience the show, which is about predominately black women. These authenticity narratives add an interesting dynamic to the series. I want to think about why this story has appealed to different kinds of people. This will help uncover why the show is appealing to certain demographics. In these ways, I will be able to analyze if OITNB is a step in the right direction for feminism, or if it is just perpetuating similar narratives that transnational feminists are trying to move away from.

Faculty Sponsor

Sonja Thomas

Sponsoring Department

Colby College. Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program

CLAS Field of Study

Interdisciplinary Studies

Event Website

http://www.colby.edu/clas

ID

988

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Apr 30th, 9:00 AM Apr 30th, 11:55 AM

Forming Identities through the Prison Industrial Complex: Is 'Orange is the New Black' Feminist?

Diamond 123

What makes something feminist? TIME magazine applauded OITNB for not basking in its overt feminism. Since the show aired in 2013, magazines have covered countless stories about the cast hanging out off set and Laverne Cox has been invited to many colleges (including ours) to talk about issues of race, gender, and sexuality. The book, on which the series is based, has become a best seller. With my research question, I am to think about the impact of the characters' stories on the audience. To address this impact, it will be important to consider the different types of people who watch the show. As I explore OITNB, it will be exceedingly important to consider that some of the literature regarding Kerman's book critiques how and why the story is even being told. It will be important to contextualize the universalism of whiteness that provides a safe way for white viewers to experience the show, which is about predominately black women. These authenticity narratives add an interesting dynamic to the series. I want to think about why this story has appealed to different kinds of people. This will help uncover why the show is appealing to certain demographics. In these ways, I will be able to analyze if OITNB is a step in the right direction for feminism, or if it is just perpetuating similar narratives that transnational feminists are trying to move away from.

http://digitalcommons.colby.edu/clas/2015/program/392