platform (Ahmed 2017). Of course, we must note that the
popularity of this show is not rooted in its representation of lesbian
sex, but its popularity demonstrates that this element of the series
did not “turn off” viewers from the show.
Orange is the New Black presents characters as people first
without defining them solely by their sexuality; as their backstories
are revealed one by one, viewers connect with them over time in
an emerging relationship. By using flashbacks to develop
characters incrementally, Orange is the New Black presents multiple
characters as humans rather than prisoners reminding viewers that
the characters are individual and that they have lives extending
beyond prison doors. Furthermore, friendships among the women
are typically presented before romantic relationships, and viewers
see much more camaraderie depicted in episodes than romantic
involvement. For example, Dayanara “Daya” Diaz (Dascha
Polanco) has an incredibly complicated story, but her toxic
relationship with her mother and interactions with her group of
supportive friends Gloria (Selenis Leyva), Maritza (Dianne
Guerrero), and Flaca (Marisol Gonzalez) are far more prevalent
in the series than her relationship with correctional officer John
Bennett (Matt McGorry) even though her pregnancy is a pivotal
plot point in the show. Similarly, Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren
(Uzo Aduba) is not represented as an obsessive lesbian but, rather,
is portrayed as a person suffering from mental illness that has
nothing to do with her sexuality. Suzanne’s experience, like Daya’s,
is focused more on the people within Litchfield Correctional who
keep her alive and help her work past troubling personal issues.
The same goes for Nicky Nichols (Natasha Lyonne) and Lorna
Morello (Yael Stone), who both have complex backgrounds but
end up in a romantic relationship. Lorna claims to have a boyfriend
outside Litchfield and later in the series becomes engaged and then
married to a different man, and these storylines supersede her
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