The Cast of ‘OITNB’ Badass Feminists Off-Screen

11 Jun

By Nina Bahadur

The third season of “Orange Is The New Black” comes out on June 12, and we could not be more excited to spend a full weekend binge-watching it.

The Netflix drama, which follows the inmates of the fictional Litchfield Penitentiary, features an incredibly diverse set of characters and brings complex women’s stories to our screens. What makes it even better is that the actresses and actors on “OITNB” are just as dedicated to raising awareness for important issues off-screen.

The “OITNB” cast have spoken out about the importance of seeing different body types on screen, called for more mainstream television characters who aren’t young and white supported the LGBT community and pushed for criminal justice reform. Laverne Cox, who plays trans inmate Sophia Burset, even landed on the cover of Time under the powerful headline “The Transgender Tipping Point.”

These women (and a few good men) have used their rising stardom to advocate for equality, independence, and inclusion.

Here are 9 times “OITNB” cast members were badass feminists:

1. When Samira Wiley told The Guardian about her dedication to representing all women on-screen:

” I feel a responsibility to young girls who want to follow in our footsteps. I feel a responsibility to the prison community. I feel like when you get to a place where you’re more visible or where people point at you and say ‘Samira Wiley, what is she doing?’ you have a social responsibility in the world. I’m actually thankful for the amount of responsibility that has bee handed to me. I feel very honored.”

2. When Matt McGorry’s feminist Facebook post made us swoon:

” I believe I gender equality. Being a feminist is for both women AND men. I AM A FEMINISH. In for equality? Pass it on.”

3. When Dascha Polanco told VH1 about learning to love her body in spite of restrictive beauty standards:

“It’s time for us to really evaluate ourselves in the mirror and say, ‘This is OK. I can too bring out any quality. I can too be on the cover of any magazine, just the way I am.'”

4. When Danielle Brooks wrote a kickass, body-positive essay for Glamour:

“Ideally, I want to see all beauties, all shapes, all sizes, all skin tones, all backgrounds represented in my profession. Now that I am blessed to be that reflection I was once looking for, I’m making a promise to speak out for that little girl that I used to be. I might not have the power to change what media puts out there, or to single-handedly convince young girls like me that they should love themselves. But what I can do is start with me.”

5. When Lea DeLaria talked about why “OITNB” is important to views on

“[OITNB] is surreptitiously feminist, you know what I mean? We have a lot of women on our show of every shape and size and age. I think it’s something that young women can relate to. You don’t see that that much on television.”

6. When Selenis Leyva wrote an incredible blog post calling more awareness about the barriers transgender people face:

“I am not only a supporter of the LGBT community, I am a sister to a beautiful and kind young transgender woman. Suddenly, it became clear to me where my sadness was coming from. The reality is that most transgender people continue to struggle with acceptance. Most will not be celebrated and put on magazine covers. I am NOT by any means taking away from the importance and impact of what is happening in the transgender movement with the courageous stories being shared by Caitlyn and my smart, talented and yes, beautiful costar, Laverne Cox. I am simply sharing my story based on my life with a Latina transgender sister, my family and our continued struggles.”

7. When Uzo Aduba told NPT about owning her “unusual name” and challenging whitewashing:

“I grew up in a very small town in Massachusetts, and it goes without saying that there weren’t many Nigerian families in that town, and a lot of people couldn’t say Uzoamaka. I came home from school one day, and I said to my mother… ‘Mommy, can you call me Zoe?’ Without skipping a beat, she said, ‘If they can learn to say Tchaikovsky, and Michelangelo and Dostoyevsky, then they can learn to say Uzoamaka.’ And we never discussed it again.”

8. When Laverne Cox spoke to DAME about what feminism means to her:

“I think transwomen, and transpeople in general, show everyone that you can define what it means to be  man or woman on your own terms. A lot of what feminism is about is moving outside of roles and moving outside of expectations of who and what you’re supposed to be to live a more authentic life.”

9. When Lorraine Toussaint told IndieWire about the importance of helping non-white, not-so-young actresses smash the glass ceiling: 

“I love to work and shows like ‘Orange are breaking that glass ceiling for women. The lie that women are not marketable and are not marketable overseas — ‘Orange’ has blown that out of the water. So I think more than any other time, this is a really terrific time to be a woman of color over 50 in this business. The tides are changing and I’m going to certainly do my part to assist in that.”

We can’t wait to hear what else this amazing cast has to say. Slay, queens.


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Posted by on June 11, 2015 in Uncategorized


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