Critique of Orange is the New Black Abstract

Critiqueof Orange is the New Black


Healthysexuality entails recognizing that all individuals are sexual beingsand celebrating the different ways that sexuality benefitsindividuals spiritually, physically, and emotionally. Healthysexuality is perceived as positive and enriches the lives ofindividuals. Besides, healthy sexuality allows individuals to enjoyand control their reproductive and sexual behavior without fear,guilt, or shame (Blonna,Lillian and Jean 28).“Orange is the new black” (OITNB) does not seem to promote ahealthy sexuality due to its explicit depiction of unhealthysexuality. Furthermore, OITNB does not work toward healthy perceptionof race, gender, and class. As a matter of fact, OITNB is top indepicting queer issues and poor in gender, race, and class issues.The chief aim of this paper is to discuss how OITNB does not promotea healthy sexuality and how it does not work towards the view of ahealthy gender, race, and class.

OITNBDoes Not Promote Healthy Sexuality

Itis not possible to promote healthy sexuality without encouraging goodmorals concerning sexuality. In OITNB, unhealthy sexuality isdepicted by women in prison. One of the reasons why OITNB does notpromote healthy sexuality is because two White women (Lorna Morelloand Nicky Nichols) are depicted to make love in a prison chapel theseries shows Morello’s upper body. The indication of lesbianism asa generally accepted practice in prisons holding women does notpresent generally accepted morals in society. Also, sexuality shouldattract respect rather than shame. However, in this series, one ofthe women (Morello) is indicated to have some guilt since she tendsto cover her breasts with a bra. Another reason why OITNB does notpromote healthy sexuality is because minors are indicated toparticipate in lesbianism. In order to encourage healthy sexuality,it is critical to show that it leads to positive gains and promotesspirituality, physical, and emotional aspects of an individual.However, when lesbianism is indicated to be practiced by minors suchas Morello and Nichols, it is questionable as to how such sexualpractices can promote or lead to positive gains to individuals. Incase, sexuality is to be beneficial and healthy, minors must beguided on how to protect their sexuality from abuse but this is notthe case in the series since minors are depicted to engage in sexualimmorality.

Insteadof older women teaching young women how to preserve their sexuality,they are depicted to lure them into practices that cannot preservetheir sexuality. For instance, Nora is one of the older women thatare ready to enthrall young women into lesbianism (Kerman 54). Sheseems not to care, which is an indication that OITNB does notencourage healthy sexuality. The case of not encouraging healthysexuality is not just evident in women, but it is also evident inmen. The case for men is depicted by the prison guard, who isindicated to require sexual favors from women and exchange the favorsfor privileges or drugs. Because of the depiction of moral decay inthe series, it is not possible to indicate that OITNB promoteshealthy sexuality.

OITNBDoes Not Work Towards Healthy Gender

Inmost of the series, women have been depicted to engage in undesirablenorms of society. Therefore, the female gender has been indicated asa rotten gender that needs redemption due to its acts. One of thereasons why OITNB does not work towards healthy female gender isbecause it depicts females as being regretting. Women are depicted bythe series to go through different odds that leave them regretting.Regrets make one to lose hope in attaining future expectations orusually make one to be perceived as worthless due to the things thatone could have done in the past. Most of the women in prison regrettheir past deeds, which may have an impact on their future (Kerman48). Thus, OITNB does not work towards healthy female gender. Anotherreason why the series does not work towards healthy female gender isbecause it tends to show female gender as a gender that can engage inrotten things and get away with them. For instance, Kerman believesthat her engagement in drug trafficking can be explained through heryouthful rebellion. This may imply that her engagement in drugtrafficking need not be questioned because it was due to her youthfulage. Other females may also tend to engage in such acts and blametheir youthful age for their actions. Therefore, OITNB does not seemto work toward healthy female gender.

Onthe other hand, male gender is not transformed appropriately by theOITNB series because, whenever males appear on the screen, they areperceived as the butt of a joke. For instance, since the prison guardis not in a position to control the manner in which female inmatesview him. Ineptitude amid males is a common perception of the malecharacters in the series. This may make male gender perceivethemselves as useless. Hence, the series does not also work towardhealthy male gender.

OITNBDoes Not Work Toward Healthy Class

OITNBpresents two kinds of classes. One kind of class entails the class ofwomen that are not capable of solving their economic problems due topoverty, and a class of women that are learned, but still engage incriminal activities such as trafficking of drugs. Most of the womenthat are in prison belong to the class of poor because they are notin a position to afford most of the things that they need in life. Asa result, they are depicted to engage in drug trafficking andprostitution, which may be seen as actions to make their economicproblems lighter. However, since these actions are not encouraged insociety, they end up in correctional centers so as to have theirbehaviors corrected. The other kind of class is depicted by Kermansince when she arrived in the correctional center she views herfellow prisoners with an anthropological difference due to her vastvisitors, book loads, and fancy education. She automatically seemedto belong to another class. Those that belong to the lower class aredepicted to go beyond redemption in order to succeed in life.Therefore, OITNB does not work towards healthy class because those insociety can have the alternative of following the two classes.

OITNBDoes Not Work Toward Healthy Race

Inthe series, race has been poorly depicted. Women of color aredepicted to be treated differently from the White women. Forinstance, when women of color come out of prison, there are numerousobstacles that stand on their way. Consider Jefferson, who is a womanof color. When she concludes her term in prison, she leaves theprison joyously. However, she comes back to prison and talks aboutthe difficulties she faced in the outside world. In fact, she prefers prison because she can at least have a bed and friends tomake coping easy. Nevertheless, when it comes to White women, theyare in a position of getting beyond their arrest records. This is anindication of racism amid the White women and women of color.Besides, women of color and White women get different kind of agency.In OITNB, Chapman and other few inmates are seen in the warden’soffice after they were elected to the advisory council. However, itis only Chapman, the only White woman that is deemed to raise themost pressing issues such the discontinuation of GED classes as wellas the closing of a track (Kerman 52). Contrasting this with others,the women of color are silenced by the fear of not getting coffee anddoughnuts during meetings. This is a clear indication that women ofcolor were treated differently from the White women. Since this trendcan continue to be held, OITNB can be seen not to work toward healthyrace.


Fromthe “Orange Is the New Black”, it is evident that healthysexuality, gender, class, and race are not promoted. OITNB does notpromote healthy sexuality because two White women (Lorna Morello andNicky Nichols) are depicted to make love in a prison chapel theseries shows Morello’s upper body. Two classes are depicted in theseries comprising of the poor and the educated. Besides, two racesare exhibited in the series, which comprise the white women and womenof color.


Blonna,Richard, Lillian C. Carter, and Jean Levitan. HealthySexuality.Dubuque, IA: Thomson/Wadsworth, 2010. Print.

Gittell,Noah. TheOne Thing Keeping ‘Orange Is the New Black’ from Being the MostFeminist Show on Television.Retrieved from

Kerman,Piper. OrangeIs the New Black: My Time in a Women`s Prison.New York: Brown Book Group, 2013. Print.