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The Women of Orphan Black Faces of the Feminist Spectrum

by Valerie Estelle Frankel

The Women of Orphan Black Faces of the Feminist Spectrum Synopsis

BBC's Orphan Black shattered conventions with one actress-Tatiana Maslany-playing a host of main characters. At the same time, it burst through the expectations of a crowd that anticipated male heroes and female victims. As the mighty heroines save one another and destroy the patriarchy, they're aided by supportive, gentle, even bumbling male love interests and friends. Even as the characters subvert gender expectations, they provide models that celebrate the many types of feminism through history and emerging today: Sarah, the punk feminist and protagonist, clashes with her foster-mother Siobhan, herself a veteran of radical feminism and literal combat. Housewife Alison begins as the quintessential post-feminist, while Krystal sports pink tops and high heels as a girl power icon. Cosima hails from Berkeley in her Birkenstocks and dreadlocks, the herald of second-wave lesbian feminism as she earns herself a science PhD. Beth has it all in the spirit of third-wave feminism, though her drug habits and relationship problems show the weakness of the era. M.K., hidden in her trailer yet ruling the internet as its hacker-queen, offers a new image as a fourth-wave feminist, conquering her disability through the new medium of the internet. At the same time, the science and ethics of cloning emphasizes the women's war against corporate power. Together with metafiction, allusions, symbolism, and deeper imagery, the show breaks all the barriers of gender as well as science fiction television.

The Women of Orphan Black Faces of the Feminist Spectrum Press Reviews

Frankel takes a deep dive into the sci-fi cult hit Orphan Black...explor[es] how the show challenged female stereotypes and the often-limiting categories women are put into on screen by creating female characters who were radically different despite having the same DNA...examines each character in depth...Frankel also illuminates the science at the heart of the show, along with the many literary allusions referenced each season...smart analysis --Booklist

Book Information

ISBN: 9781476674124
Publication date: 30th May 2018
Author: Valerie Estelle Frankel
Publisher: McFarland & Co Inc
Format: Paperback / softback
Pagination: 232 pages
Categories: Television, Literary companions, book reviews & guides, Literary studies: general,

About Valerie Estelle Frankel

Valerie Estelle Frankel, storyteller and novelist, teaches English at Mission College. The author of 50 popular culture books and more than 100 stories and essays, she lives in Sunnyvale, California.

More About Valerie Estelle Frankel

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