Wonder Women presented 20 glorious minute of a world lead and defended by women, but unfortunately Themyscira is a fictional island. What would the real world look like with women in charge? The new season of Orange is the New Black, in which the inmates stage a riot and start running the show, gives audiences a somewhat satiric taste of that dynamic. At a red carpet event celebrating Orange is the New Black Season 5, I asked the ladies of Litchfield what a society run by women would look like to them.
Two cast members answered the question with pop culture recommendations. Emma Myles, who plays Leanne, imagines that a women-lead society would look a lot like The Wing, a social club for professional women in New York. She describes it as "light pink, filled with feminist literature, and it smells very nice." Sounds great to me. Beth Dover, on the other hand, recommends Y: The Last Man, a comic by Saga writer Brian K. Vaughn that imagines a world with limited testosterone.
"I think that society would go quite well," says Dover, who plays Linda, "because women are the best. And we can work together very well and create a decent future for the world." One of the sexist mistakes that the cops make on Orange is the New Black is to underestimate the ladies of Litchfield and assume that they'll be bickering and unorganized, ending the riot in a matter of hours. Not so much!
"I think as long as it's the right women in place," says Rosal Colon, who plays Ouija. "As long as it's the women in government that are interested in protecting the rights of everybody that they are representing, then I'm all for it."
Uzo Aduba, who plays Suzanne Warren, had a similar caveat. "I don't want just any women running society," she says. "There are women I'm certainly terrified of running our society. I'm talking about capable, able-bodied, smart women. Free thinking, open-minded women. A free society. I would think that society would look all inclusive. I think it would have an instinctive nature of nurturing. I think it would be multitasking, focused, and a peaceful society."
Peace, kindness, and humanitarianism were major themes. "I feel like it would be a lot more compassionate, says Brook actor Kimiko Glenn. "I think it would think a lot more about humanity. Humanity as opposed to maybe money." According to Jessica Pimentel, who plays Maria, there would be "a highlight on a global society, as opposed to all these make belief lines in the sand that don't exist."
The Earth would probably be be better off, as well, according to Jackie Cruz, who plays Flaca. "We'd live in a beautiful world, because we care about the environment, and we care about our children, and we want our children to grow up in a beautiful place. We get it done."
Yael Stone, who says she is generally hesitant to make generalizations about gender, says, "I think that women naturally have a sense of community." The ways that some of the Litchfield inmates come together this season is an excellent example of that. "I think it's a good balance between being in charge but also having a soft side, says Vicky Jeudy, who plays Janae Watson.
Putting women in charge certainly wouldn't solve every social ailment, of course. The world is more complex than that. "First we would need to address a lot of race issues and class issues," says Maritza actor Diana Guerrero. "But I think it would be amazing." The fact that these issues are so urgent prove why we need shows like Orange is the New Black, too.
"I think it is definitely a time of female empowerment," says Kelly Karbacz, who plays Sankey, "and the show is so reflective of society and so relevant to our times and I think that it encourages women to resist, to stand up, to take action, to stay informed, to figure out how they can contribute in their own communities. It's just incredible and to be part of something like that, I feel so much pride and it's such a blessing. A true gift."
"I think the Women's March was really indicative of the fact that we're the only ones who are gonna help crack this crazy case," says Natasha Lyonne, who cites Angela Merkel and Golda Meir as present and past inspirations. "I just also think that there's something to a balance in the universe and yeah, what can I say? Men have been blowing it. Blowing it big time."
A few cast members talked about the importance of balance. "We need that testosterone too," says Danielle Brooks. "Not saying that we can't handle being without [men] — we can handle our business, but I think that's the beauty of life. Having balance and partnership."
"I think that a society with both men and women treating each other fairly and equally would be the way to go," adds Guerrero. "But I think we should give the women a turn, don't you think?"
However, it was Taylor Schilling who brought it home. "The thing that I find to be exciting about that question is that there are infinite possibilities," she says, because "we've never seen that before. The options are endless, and I think that's really important. We know what the other way looks like."
Indeed we do.