The connection between Orphan Black and the #YesAllWomen hashtag movement

I was reading the #YesAllWomen posts and they got me thinking about the show Orphan Black. For anyone who hasn’t seen the show it’s about women clones (played by the fabulous Tatiana Maslany) and their fight for a voice and ownership over their minds and bodies. I believe that is the crux of the show and the creators, writers and actors have alluded to this in numerous interviews. One of the creators Graeme Manson has said that a story about women clones is far more interesting than a show about male clones.

See these articles about the show for more on the issue of ownership of women’s bodies

http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/television/2014/04/season_2_of_orphan_black_starring_tatiana_maslany_reviewed.html

http://www.nerdist.com/2014/05/the-orphan-black-radical-why-every-clone-club-needs-its-helena/

http://www.bbcamerica.com/orphan-black/2014/05/12/hive-recap-governed-chance/3/

http://www.bustle.com/articles/4553-orphan-black-star-tatiana-maslany-relates-clone-body-ownership-to-the-modern-woman

Each clone on Orphan Black has been used by their creator and until recently didn’t have autonomy over their movements and decisions because of who raised them and the monitors that were employed to keep track of them. Now that they know each other and are finding out about their origins they are becoming empowered and fighting back. By banding together to share information and fight for each other they are showing the power that women have when they are in control even when outside forces are still trying to claim ownership over their bodies and minds. That’s why I love the show…because it empowers women to think and act for themselves and not be controlled by the men and sometimes women around them.

How does this connect to the #YesAllWomen hashtag movement?

The #YesAllWomen hashtag movement stemmed from the recent mass shooting at near the University of California Santa Barbara campus because of the vitriolic Youtube rantings that surfaced of the alleged shooter blaming women for all of his problems. This resulted in thousands and thousands of tweets including mine of instances where we’ve been maligned, harassed, censored, scared, and/or assaulted/raped. (One way where I fall into this category is the fact that I still don’t feel comfortable using my real name or image on twitter for fear of retribution due to the things I say and the people I follow)

For women’s entire lives we are taught that we have to take precautions in order to stay safe in and outside our homes/schools/workplaces/transportation as well as how to dress or react to comments made by men and in some cases other women.

Which gets me to the issue of how women are treated in all aspects of society as well as how women see themselves in society.

How many women raised in conservative religious movements have been told that they have to submit to the men in their lives a la Michelle Duggar and their ilk?

How many women have had to face an employer that asks whether they will be starting a family soon?

How many women have lost their lives just for the right to leave the house, go to school, vote, go out unchaperoned, hold political office?

How many women were taught that how they dressed would determine how they are treated by the world?

How many women have been told to wait their turn in school or the work world?

How many women in the media have been dismissed due to their opinions, education, world experience?

This all begs the ultimate question. When will women be treated as equals everywhere? I fear that it will not happen in my lifetime (I’m 43) and that is sad and tragic.

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