Svenja Hohenstein, Katharina Thalmann
June 8, 2019
Starting out with a brief overview of recent TV series that feature complex and complicated female characters – or, as we call them, ‘difficult women’ – this introduction investigates the changing manner in which women have been represented on TV in previous decades. Demonstrating that especially TV shows of the 2010s undermine and work against traditional and stereotypical portrayals of women on TV and instead establish feminist discourses, we argue that this time period can be defined as a pivotal moment with regard to changing representations of women on TV. Using Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black as an example, we also show that TV series that feature difficult women make use of the very techniques and conventions of what Jason Mittell has described as ‘Complex TV’ in order to consciously engage with questions of female representation on TV and to create a feminist discourse that works against sexist tropes and stereotypes.