'"I'm feeling some sapphic vibes comin' off of you." Een intersectionele analyse van de representatie van vrouwelijkheid en vrouwelijke seksualiteit in Orange is the new black'
Faculty of Social Sciences. Communication Sciences
Tijdschrift voor genderstudies. - Nijmegen, 1998, currens
, p. 7-27
University of Antwerp
Female roles and sexuality on television have come a long way since the traditional representation of women as homogeneously soft, passive and (sexually) submissive. However, these representations are often still trapped in a rigid, binary framework on gender and sexuality. Representations of LGBTQ1 subjects have also become far more common, although they are still often stereotypical, while transgender people continue to be marginalized on mainstream television. The Netflix series Orange is the New Black seems to challenge this view by presenting characters who present different ways of being a woman and by showing women in different sexual roles. This paper presents a qualitative content analysis of this women-in-prison drama, exploring in-depth how femininity and female sexuality are represented. Four main characters were selected as the focal point of the analysis. Our analysis indicates that Orange is the New Black combines more progressive with more conservative elements: on the one hand, femininity is represented as an arbitrary construction and sexuality as fluid, while common stereotypes such as the butch lesbian are used in a self-conscious and humorous way. On the other hand, Orange is the New Black does have a tendency to employ problematic tropes, as the shows portrayal of African-American and Hispanic women as more tough and streetwise shows us. On the whole, we argue that Orange is the New Black does partly depart from mainstream conventions of female representation and therefore has some subversive potential.