I have to admit that I love Orange is the New Black more than I would care to admit. It’s a close second behind Breaking Bad….but only because Breaking Bad is so close to home….literally. Well Orange is the New Black is also close to home, and I can identify with it deeply.
Ladies on Think Atheist have been scarce, but I know you’re there somewhere. And if you are reading this, maybe you can identify with it…a little…maybe?
First, I am always drawn to anything that takes place in a correctional institution. It’s in my blood and that will never change…but also, the truth is that Piper’s story is like my story. She starts out as a naïve bad girl, turned good girl, revealed bad girl once again. Although season 3 is not the end, her transformation tells a compelling story of what it truly means to become your true self, and embrace the good with the bad, and to not be ashamed of it.
She had a good heart, at the beginning. But as time goes on and she becomes more and more institutionalized, her true colors come to light. If you peel back the layers of her story, she begins as a willing participant to a crime in order to show her devotion, love and loyalty to the love of her life….or at least the person she thought she loved. Whether or not it was “true” love is debatable. Once she realizes that her blind devotion cost her greatly and that she was used by many other people, she no longer considers it wrong to stand up for herself…she becomes a vicious lone wolf, hungry to take back what was stolen from her – her power…
The more we learn about Piper, the more that you see that she is capable of heinous, cold-stone acts. I will try to avoid any spoilers for those who have not seen the show…but as she comes to terms with her manipulative nature, and the way that her own mother has influenced her to become the person that she, is, it’s as if the world suddenly opens with possibilities. Instead of fighting her deviant side, she embraces it. Instead of negating her capabilities she executes on them. Instead of pretending to be a good girl, she embraces her whole self, both the good and the bad together.
She becomes a more honest person. Honest in the sense that she no longer denies who she is. She doesn’t hide behind anything anymore. She is stronger because of that. Some might argue that she becomes a better criminal. This too is true. It will be interesting to see what happens to her as time goes on….
I also love the fact that she embraces her sexuality, fully and unapologetically. While I am not a lesbian, I too feel that I can identify with the feeling of satisfaction and fulfillment that comes with embracing my own sexuality. This before was never allowed because I chained my mind down to believe that a woman was only supposed to act certain ways and do certain things, all for the pleasing of a man. I no longer believe that. I believe that women can be the most ferociously sexual beings on the planet. No longer will I hide behind my shame and shyness. No longer will I believe the lie that women aren’t meant to feel pleasure for the sake of it.
Is Piper becoming a better person as time goes on? In season 3 there are lots of reasons to argue that she is not. However, I am seeing her actions from the inside out. I think she is becoming exactly the person she was meant to become. I believe that her hardships and struggles to embrace herself is really the only prison she’s ever been in…It is the prison of her mind that held her captive more than any lock and key. Now that she has found her power, she is running with it, without apologizing for it.
There must be some other ladies out there who are watching OITNB!!! Please tell me you’re out there!!! Yes I love this show….and my own experiences watching it has taught me something about myself. I too am a bad girl. Whether it was something I ended up being by grooming and manipulative tactics of my abusers, or whether it’s just who I am….I would argue the former…but I don’t care. It is who I am now.
As I’ve started discussions on this forum wrestling with morality and empowerment, the more I’ve come to consider the fact that I’m not nearly as “good” as I thought. To be “good” I would need to embrace cultural standards of what it means to be a woman (complete with religious undertones). I am truthfully not a woman that complies with what the culture expects of me. But I am counter-cultural. I have broken all of the cultural standards. Like Piper Chapman, I find myself doing things I never thought possible, and not feeling guilty for them…and not tolerating abuse from anyone. While my capacity to love runs deep, so does my desire to remain free from mental chains and emotional oppression. This is why I am just like Piper Chapman.
I need me Netflix back!