Orange is the New Black Character Analyzation

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The show Orange is The New Black has a very diverse set of characters; they all have different sexualities. The show is about a woman named Piper Chapman who in 1993 was dating a woman and helped her smuggle drug money. She helped her smuggle money in Europe across many borders. She gives up this rebellious lifestyle and moved to New York where, she fell in love with her husband Larry. Ten years went by until her criminal actions caught up to her. She was charged for smuggling drug money and decided to plea guilty to avoid the longest sentence. She gets sentenced to 18 months in Danbury federal prison and the show begins there. She surrounded by many non-strait characters but a few that stick out are Poussey Washington, and crazy eyes.

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Piper Chapmans character is a bisexual white woman. When she first arrived at jail as a wealthy, white woman she becomes an outcast because it is uncommon for women like her to be in jail. She never says she is bisexual in the show, but she does express that she is attracted to men and women since she has a fiancé and dates women in the jail. I think her never admitting to herself that she is bisexual doesn’t follow the stereotype for all people that comes along with being bisexual. Normally bisexual people do not hide that they are, they tell everyone what their sexual orientation is. Chapman doesn’t hide that she is, but she never states it. This could negatively affect the stigma of hiding your sexual orientation to the audiences. Chapmans character is also a control freak, selfish and manipulative. She behaves like this I think because since she is white and wealthy, she’s been used to white privilege. This character also being able to manipulate people keeps the stigma that white people get special treatment.

Washington is a black lesbian in the show. She constantly challenges gender boundaries in this show. Since she is a black lesbian, she can never be looked at as just black or just a lesbian. She must deal with both stereotypes of how she is supposed to behave. She makes it evident that she doesn’t let these stereotypes affect her character. Washington dates an Asian woman in the show and this shows how she doesn’t let the stereotypes get to her. It was a shock to the inmates that she would date someone not the same race as her but she does not care. I think it’s great that the show made this character behave the way she does. Washington shows the audience that it’s okay to be different from the norm. Also, Lesbians are usually judged for not being feminine enough and they usually act out or behave in an aggressive manor. Washington’s character has short hairs, wears masculine clothing and is an obedient inmate. She is referred to as the model inmate because of how she never gets into trouble and is caring and trustworthy. She breaks the stereotype for how a black lesbian should begave and it is refreshing to see.

Suzanne Warren, known as Crazy Eyes, is another black lesbian character in this show. She portrays the perfect stereotypical lesbian. She is depicted as very flirtatious and direct. There’s also a stereotype that black girls are crazy, which this character shows. Very early on in the show she expresses how she has a crush on the main character Piper Chapman. Chapman did not reciprocate these feelings Crazy eyes peed on the floor of Chapmans cell. This character is the exact opposite of Poussey Washington’s character. Crazy eyes follow the stereotypes that are assigned to a black lesbian. It doesn’t do any harm to the audience for them see this character portrayed the way she is but, it does help to keep these stereotypes alive.

This show is considered the best LGBTQ series ever made. I believe this is true because it’s the first show to have an almost all non-strait cast. Since it is such a known, liked show it definitely plays a factor is shaping how the LGBTQ comunity is perceived. This show is decreasing stigmas of how lesbian, bisexual and transgender people should behave with heir characters like Poussey Washington. It also is keeping some stereotypes alive with characters like Piper Chapman and Suzanne Warren.  

29 April 2022

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