Can Prison Be a Feminist Space?: Interrogating Television Representations of Women’s Prisons

  • Jessica Ford


There is no doubt that women-in-prison narratives depict a pro-woman space telling and respecting the stories of many different kinds of women; however, the idea of prison as a “feminist utopia” is loaded with contradictions. Prison is, by its very nature, a space intended to dehumanize and depoliticize individuals; therefore, to assert the “feminism” of prison seems counter intuitive. In this chapter, I consider whether televisual depictions of prison can be feminist. This chapter will argue that the “feminism” of women-in-prison series is found in the characters and discourses, but not necessarily in the infrastructure of the prison. Yet the single-gender space of the prison enables stories to be told that have a particular feminist sensibility. I explore this through a close textual analysis of the transnational women-in-prison series Dead Boss (UK 2012), Orange Is the New Black (2013–2019) and Wentworth (Australia 2013–present).


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jessica Ford
    • 1
  1. 1.The University of NewcastleCallaghanAustralia

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