Very few academics have written about Bad Girls. Most of the articles are concerned with the representation of lesbians on the program, but others address the depiction of prisoners and prison life as an agent of broader social change. The articles are all terrific. We just wish there were more. If you know of anything we've missed, please tell us.

Herman, Didi. "'Bad Girls Changed My Life': Homonormativity in a Women's Prison Drama." Critical Studies in Media Communication. Vol. 20, No. 2, June 2003: pp. 141-159.

Content: If you're a lesbian and always wondered why you like Bad Girls so much, why watching the show makes you feel so validated, then this article will explain everything, including how Bad Girls has single-handedly eliminated homophobia in the UK.  OK, that's a bit of an exaggeration, but trust us, this is a great article. And it's available for purchase here.

Herman, Didi. "'I'm Gay': Declarations, Desire and Coming Out on Prime-Time Television." Sexualities. Vol. 8(1): pp. 7-29.

Content: A riveting comparison of two prime time television characters and the way they ultimately claimed a gay identity.  This article pits Ellen from the sitcom Ellen against Helen Stewart from Bad Girls and you'll never guess who comes out ahead! The official abstract and (for a fee) a pdf of the article itself are both available online.

Herman, Didi. "'Juliet and Juliet Would be More My Cup of Tea': Sexuality, Law and Popular Culture." Law and Popular Culture. Ed. Michael Freeman. Oxford University Press, England. 2005. pp. 470-488.

Content: This article is essentially a slightly expanded, revised version of Herman's "Bad Girls Changed My Life," with additional material pertaining to prison policy.  Not available online, but the collection can be found in most academic law libraries.

Millbank, Jenni. "It's About This: Lesbians, Prison, Desire." Social & Legal Studies. Vol. 13(2): pp. 155-190.

Content: More than any other academic piece, this article addresses why the representation of lesbians in prison matters: because it reflects the changes in society's opinions of sexuality, and because it can actually impact the treatment received by real life lesbians in real life prisons. The official abstract and (for a fee) a pdf of the article itself are both available online.

Wilson, David and O'Sullivan, Sean. "In Praise of Bad Girls: Parody and Purpose in a Contemporary Women's Prison Drama."

A pdf of the article is available online.
This article is an edited version of a chapter from the following book:
Wilson, David and O'Sullivan, Sean. Images of Incarceration: Representations of Prison in Film and Television Drama. Waterside Press, Winchester, UK. 2004.
You can buy the book on or



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