Orange is the New Black is a favorite of a lot of people, and is gaining even more attention with the release of Season 2( I loved it). Like many others, I was anxiously waiting for the new season to come out, and I binged watched it one weekend, and it was glorious. For a lot of folks it is a big relief to see women in more dynamic roles, but also seeing women from different ethnic backgrounds being portrayed at all, and having personalities is something long awaited. Which is why I was not sure how to feel about this article from Noah Berlatsky.
He made some good points in the article like,
Men are incarcerated at more than 10 times the rate of women. In 2012, there were 109,000 women in prison. That’s a high number—but it’s dwarfed by a male prison population that in 2012 reached just over 1,462,000. In 2011, men made up about 93 percent of prisoners.
which is astronomical. Our prison system is absurd, and the incarceration rates and why they are the way they are is something that needs to be discussed more. There also needs to be better solutions to rehabilitating prisoners.
He also talks about male victimization,
Male victims of domestic violence are almost entirely ignored, though domestic violence is perpetrated by men and women at about equal rates (though, Jones points out, violence by men is disproportionately more serious because of strength and weight difference.) In Bosnia, human-rights organizations focused on the (horrible, important) suffering of women rape victims and refugees, while largely ignoring the mass, gender-targeted killing of “battle-age” men. Similarly, violent attacks on women receive much more media attention than violent attacks on men, though men are substantially more likely to be attacked.
I agree with him on both accounts and I think that it is tragic that anyone is abused, and that victims deserve sympathy and resources no matter their gender, age, orientation, or any other categorization. He makes great points, and there needs to be more done to address the issues with male victimization being ignored or mocked.
However compelling and important his points might be, he is complaining about men not being represented in a show about a women’s prison. It is bothersome for numerous reasons, but the main reason is that it is a women’s prison, discussing the lives of female prisoners. There are shows out there that talk about male prisoners, or gang / drug lifestyle that land people in prison. These shows are comprised of men, and I expect that being that it takes place in an institution that is specifically for men. This reason, is why I am not really sure why he feels as though men need to be more represented on the show.
One of the most disappointing things about this article is that he is addressing important issues, but it is overshadowed by his ludicrous complaint. If he had taken the time to write an article about male incarceration and or male victimization he could have been far more productive.