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“Orange Is the New Mistreatment?”: An Analysis of Knowledge and Perceptions of Incarcerated Women and their Mistreatment Through (Non)Viewing of Orange Is the New Black

Nikki Marie Elizabeth Hoseus

Name: Nikki Marie Elizabeth Hoseus
Majors: Communication Studies, Sociology
Advisor: Dr. Denise Bostdorff and Dr. Setsuko Matsuzawa

How are incarcerated women mistreated in the United States? Does watching television, specifically Orange Is the New Black, affect viewers and their perception and knowledge (or lack thereof) of mistreatment of incarcerated women in the United States? This work aims to answer the questions provided sociologically and through the perspective of communication studies, while additionally examining how the popular television series Orange Is the New Black (2013) can contribute to one’s knowledge and perceptions of incarcerated women in the U.S. In order to articulate the gaps between reality and media construction, I identify and examine the aspects of mistreatment of incarcerated women in regard to juvenile offender discrepancies, violence perpetuated by prison guards, and lack of adequate healthcare and mental health/addiction treatment. In order to examine the concept of one’s perception of and knowledge about incarcerated women and their unique experiences I conducted focus group research. I conclude that both the viewing and non-viewing group had some knowledge of the mistreatment of incarcerated women in the United States. Additionally, I argue participants who watched OITNB have more empathy towards incarcerated women and are more likely to enact agency.

Keywords: Orange Is the New Black, prison, incarcerated women, mistreatment, focus groups

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Posted in Comments Enabled, Independent Study, Symposium 2022.


9 responses to ““Orange Is the New Mistreatment?”: An Analysis of Knowledge and Perceptions of Incarcerated Women and their Mistreatment Through (Non)Viewing of Orange Is the New Black”

  1. Katlyn Yeager says:

    So proud of all your hard work!!

  2. Abby Johnson says:

    Congrats!! You worked so hard!

  3. Dante King says:

    Awesome job, Nikki!! This makes a lot of sense, and now I have to watch Orange is the New Black! 😀

  4. Nina Reddy says:

    So proud of you Nikki!!

  5. Bri Lowry says:

    Proud of you Nikki and I’m definitely going to go watch OITNB now!

  6. Hope Carmody says:

    So proud of the work you did and I enjoyed learning more about your project!! Amazing work!

  7. jillian ness says:

    Congrats Nikki! What a cool topic to look further into.

  8. Harley Layman says:

    SO proud of you, Nikki. This study is amazing. Glad I got to see it.

  9. Kathleen Moore says:

    Nikki, congratulations on finishing I.S.! Your topic is so interesting and I’m glad you were able to see such impactful findings.

    Congrats again on all your hard work and I hope you enjoy the rest of your senior year! 🎉

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Closely affiliated with the Anthropology program, sociology majors at The College of Wooster take core courses in research methods and theory.

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