Orange Is the New Black and Social Change

Audiences have been captivated by Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black, but could there be any evidence that the show has inspired a rise in advocacy for prison reform as the show brings attention to issues which would otherwise go unnoticed? Does the fact that the show focuses on a female prison garner more sympathy for prisoners than shows that focus on male prisons? Does the fact that it is based on a true story add to a need to investigate truths about the prison system in the U.S.? A study on the social impact of the show might want to take these things into consideration.

  • I think OITNB as well as the author's personal experiences and advocacy have brought attention to the prison-industrial complex and made it a prominent social issue. While this isn't a new problem, the prison system has been lifted to a topic of importance, s hopefully the advocation and the pushes for change won't slow. – abigailp 7 years ago
  • As an avid fan of OITNB, I think there is a definite sympathetic tone to the show as compared to a male populated prison show such as, OZ. The difference that should be noted is that the creator wanted to set the tone of empathy for these women who found themselves in precarious situations--either by own fault or a victim of circumstance--whereas OZ wanted to be gritty, raw, and leave people in a state of shock. OZ aimed for sensationalism in focusing on the prison rapes, fights, and horrific treatment of prisoners. An interesting thing would be to have a medium between these two. Though I do enjoy OITNB, there are numerous moments where it almost feels as though it glorifies the women, and they have become such a topic of pop culture. I have a love/hate relationship with this ideology because, what if young girls view the show and think, "oh, that's not so bad." As for adults, we view the show through a different, more mature lens and look at social injustices that younger generations wouldn't view as horrific--such as lack of opportunity, low SES, inability to read, no available classes in prison, etc. – danielle577 7 years ago

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