Hidden Perspectives

Bringing the Bible Out of the Closet

Orange is the New Bible Interview: Laura Saunders

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lsaunders-pola1. Hello! Tell us about yourself…who are you and what do you do?

Hi! My name is Laura and I am a physics PhD student in the Academic Unit of Radiology at the University of Sheffield, where I am looking at medical MRI. In my free time I have an interest in gender and sexuality studies.

2. How did you get involved with/interested in Orange is the New Bible?

Jo Merrygold mentioned Orange is the New Bible during an undergraduate LGBT studies lecture, which I was attending. I immediately thought that somebody needed to speak about bisexuality in OITNB – which for me is one of the areas that OITNB really fails its LGBT viewers. So even though my background is unrelated, I couldn’t help getting involved!

3. What interests you about Orange is the New Black and your discipline?

OITNB and the bible doesn’t relate to my discipline at all. Broadly speaking though, I am fascinated by how on gender and sexuality fits into scientific disciplines, both in terms of research and individuals in the field. I love to learn and think more about queering scientific disciplines and the ways in which our assumptions about sex, sexuality and gender can limit us in science.

4. How can Orange is the New Bible relate to your everyday work?

For lots of people, the media has a big influence on how they relate to other genders and sexualities, and also how people see themselves. If done well it can make different kinds of narratives accessible to everyone, and if done poorly it can reinforce the kind of stereotypes that make peoples everyday lives and work environments difficult.

5. If you’ve seen the TV show, tell us about one character and why they interest you?

I don’t know if I can pick one character! I think for me, what is really great about OITNB is that there are so many diverse female characters. Gender and sexual minorities are so overwhelmingly stereotyped, it’s hard to challenge all that with a single character. You need to tell many stories to really challenge stereotypes, and that’s what OITNB does well.

6. What other projects are you working on and/or what is next for you??

I am definitely always keeping an eye open for projects on sexuality and gender, but I need to focus on my PhD in my own discipline right now too! So that is what I am working on right now and in the near future.

7. Is there anything else you’d like to say about OITNBible at the moment?

Just thanks for creating it! I can’t wait to see what everybody else is interested in and talking about.

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Author: Hidden Perspectives

A research project within the Sheffield Institute for Interdisciplinary Biblical Studies (SIIBS) at The University of Sheffield.

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