Till The Cage is Full
Start writing a post
Politics and Activism

Till The Cage is Full

A look at power Dynamics on Orange is the New Black

Till The Cage is Full

I'm late to the game this season when it comes to my favorite binge-worthy Netflix series Orange is the New Black. The season four premiere began on June 17th and I finished the series at roughly 2:30 AM last night. For those of you who are even later than I am in watching season four, I will do my best to omit any spoilers, but no guarantees.

OITNB has always had a reputation for pushing the envelope but this season may just be the most provocative yet. While this show is no stranger to dark topics like sexual assault, racism, homophobia, transphobia and death, this season dives head first into even more shadowy topics in the typical twisted, hilarious, sensitive and emotionally wrought fashion of its creator Jenji Kohen.

This season's most pivotal theme revolves around that of power dynamics and structures that are prevalent whether you're behind bars or out in the real world. This is shown in the corruption of the for-profit prison industrial complex, mounting tensions between inmates at Litchfield grasping for a sense of control in a chaotic environment, or battling inner-demons as a result of mental illness.

In this season we are shown a number of ways that absolute power can corrupt absolutely. Viewers get a taste of this at the end of season three when Piper goes from being a mildly annoying, self-righteous person who is oblivious to her own privilege to a heartless, power-hungry "Panty King Pin" in her ridiculous business scheme. Alex (her ex-girlfriend) warns her ominously and somewhat prophetically that, "there is no such thing as a benevolent dictator" to no avail.

When Litchfield sold itself to become a privatized prison, it opened its doors to some truly awful people, and I'm not talking about the inmates. What were once benignly idiotic, perhaps petty and mildly incompetent CO's are replaced with ruthless tyrants who abuse, exploit and even sexually assault inmates on a regular basis, but it doesn't stop there. It is not enough that these guards are cruel they're as incompetent as they are mean-spirited which is how a beloved fan favorite meets her tragic ending (click at your own risk!) Where there were once issues like mediocre food and old plumbing, there are now women stacked on top of one another (literally) like animals in a zoo and struggling to come by even basic hygiene products like tampons and maxi pads. Through imbalanced power dynamics, a vulnerable population of women are utterly dehumanized, while the powers that be are either active participants or completely complacent in putting it to an end.

The powerful message behind this series comes from telling stories of women that have been silenced. This season is all about what happens when you strip human beings of everything when they have nothing left to lose. The reason this series is so compelling is that it tells stories that resonate with all of man-kind. Whether or not you have ever been to prison is beyond the point; in the broad array of stories told by a phenomenal and truly diverse cast it's hard not to be able to place yourself in any one of their shoes'.

So prepare yourselves to laugh, cry, and really think about the world around you. It's summer, go on Netflix; You've Got Time.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
the beatles
Wikipedia Commons

For as long as I can remember, I have been listening to The Beatles. Every year, my mom would appropriately blast “Birthday” on anyone’s birthday. I knew all of the words to “Back In The U.S.S.R” by the time I was 5 (Even though I had no idea what or where the U.S.S.R was). I grew up with John, Paul, George, and Ringo instead Justin, JC, Joey, Chris and Lance (I had to google N*SYNC to remember their names). The highlight of my short life was Paul McCartney in concert twice. I’m not someone to “fangirl” but those days I fangirled hard. The music of The Beatles has gotten me through everything. Their songs have brought me more joy, peace, and comfort. I can listen to them in any situation and find what I need. Here are the best lyrics from The Beatles for every and any occasion.

Keep Reading...Show less
Being Invisible The Best Super Power

The best superpower ever? Being invisible of course. Imagine just being able to go from seen to unseen on a dime. Who wouldn't want to have the opportunity to be invisible? Superman and Batman have nothing on being invisible with their superhero abilities. Here are some things that you could do while being invisible, because being invisible can benefit your social life too.

Keep Reading...Show less

19 Lessons I'll Never Forget from Growing Up In a Small Town

There have been many lessons learned.

houses under green sky
Photo by Alev Takil on Unsplash

Small towns certainly have their pros and cons. Many people who grow up in small towns find themselves counting the days until they get to escape their roots and plant new ones in bigger, "better" places. And that's fine. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought those same thoughts before too. We all have, but they say it's important to remember where you came from. When I think about where I come from, I can't help having an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for my roots. Being from a small town has taught me so many important lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

Keep Reading...Show less
​a woman sitting at a table having a coffee

I can't say "thank you" enough to express how grateful I am for you coming into my life. You have made such a huge impact on my life. I would not be the person I am today without you and I know that you will keep inspiring me to become an even better version of myself.

Keep Reading...Show less
Student Life

Waitlisted for a College Class? Here's What to Do!

Dealing with the inevitable realities of college life.

college students waiting in a long line in the hallway

Course registration at college can be a big hassle and is almost never talked about. Classes you want to take fill up before you get a chance to register. You might change your mind about a class you want to take and must struggle to find another class to fit in the same time period. You also have to make sure no classes clash by time. Like I said, it's a big hassle.

This semester, I was waitlisted for two classes. Most people in this situation, especially first years, freak out because they don't know what to do. Here is what you should do when this happens.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments