This, right here, is what the male gaze looks like; and this, right here, is also why it’s a fucking problem.
Orange is the New Black is a Netflix original show about women in prison. Though not without problematic elements, as pretty much everything spawned by our culture is, it nonetheless stands head and shoulders above so much else on offer in its portrayal of a wide variety of complex, interesting women – women of colour, trans women, poor women, criminal women, disabled women, mentally ill women, queer women, immigrant women, religious women, atheist women – with a depth, compassion and, above all, narrative primacy that exists almost nowhere else on television. It’s a clever, well-written, engaging show, and it’s doing something important.
So, naturally, its value is immediately reduced to being a source of hot topless chicks for straight dudes to gawk at.
I have, as I’ve previously
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