Walker, Amy (2015) Interrogating the Relationship of Postfeminism and Neoliberalism in Orange is the New Black. Masters thesis, University of Huddersfield.

This thesis looks at how the Netflix Original Series, Orange is the New Black (OITNB), depicts contemporary representations of marginalised women, and how these characters negotiate class and gender relations. OITNB, a modern media text that is often seen to critique both capitalist and patriarchal structures, is a useful text to consider when analysing women’s subject positions in relation to the dominant hegemonic themes of gender, race, class, and sexuality. I will argue that in criticising capitalist and patriarchal systems of oppression, OITNB disrupts the prevailing influences of postfeminism and neoliberalism which suggest that superstructures of oppression are no longer enforced in western society - whilst simultaneously re-enforcing them. Whilst this essay is primarily concerned with representations of gender and class, this thesis will also make visible how race and sexuality are negotiated in the show in order to better understand the diversity of women’s experience under neoliberal capitalism and within a postfeminist era.
Furthermore, by using OITNB as a vantage point, this thesis argues that in order to better understand representations of gender and class relations in modern media texts, postfeminist cultural sensibility and neoliberal ideology must be considered as two separate forces that have an impact upon western popular culture. In the past, many feminist academics who have written on these subjects have viewed postfeminism as an offshoot of neoliberalism, or implied that the two work harmoniously in producing coherent subjects. I will argue in this thesis that such an assumption can lead to an oversimplified analysis when contextualised by intersectional discussions of gender and class. Whilst postfeminism and neoliberalism share many commonalities, it is in the interest of this thesis to consider the two as separate forces that impact modern western culture in specific ways. This will allow for a more robust theoretical framework, and lead to a greater understanding of the influence neoliberalism and postfeminism have on some forms of popular media.

Final thesis - WALKER.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

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