Girls on Film: Orange is the new black
Before Piper leaves to spend her first day and night in prison, she crawls on top of her boyfriend: “we have to make this the stuff of fantasies,” she whispers. And then they struggle through their tears to force one, last meaningful fuck.
This, says tv, is what women are. They can be smart and interesting, but above all, they must be nymphos. The entire scene is very beautiful and quite real, but it made me think about how instrumental women are in their own objectification. Television shows get this wrong a lot for me; men are wrongfully vilified as the source of objectifying remarks that reduce women to hot, horny things.
But the dialogue in Orange is the New Black, a show with an almost entirely female cast, seems to get closer to the truth. Sexual confinement cannot survive unless women adopt shovenistic ideas as their own and then push them into the world: “ I am a catch because I am beautiful, and smart, and I want to fuck ALL the time. What an exceptional woman I am !”
We have come a long way, baby, but there is no arguing that women internalize and perpetuate their own sexual oppression. Of course it is empowering for a woman to own her sexuality! For a woman to know what she likes and let it be known, but there is a problem when we believe that intellect is secondary to sex-drive. In a time where identity is intensely contrived, this sort of idea can force the element of performance into areas that should be reserved for intimacy or at least sincere pleasure.
Self-objectifying comments come from women. We make them about ourselves and we make them about other women, sometimes without even realizing it. In Orange is the New Black, an ultimately empowering show, we can still find traces of self-subversion and self-objectification.
I would like to pretend that there is some external force bashing me into submission, telling me that sex- how much I want it, how much I have it, and who I have it with– is the foundation of who I am.. but I think that maybe I am perpetuating this.