Before I sat down to watch Jane the Virgin, I thought it would be completely unrelatable. After all, I wasn’t a virgin, and I definitely wasn’t accidentally getting pregnant.
However, after watching it for the first time, I found that so many aspects of the show resonated with my life. Jane the Virgin is a refreshing drama and comedy that showcases the life of Jane Gloriana Villanueva, a religious 23- year old virgin who has planned out her whole life and is completely on track for her own personal success.
I thought I wouldn’t resonate with the show— but I was wrong.
She is studying to be a teacher and she dreams of being a published author. She is also dating Michael, the perfect man for her. Everything in her life is going the way she wants it to until she accidentally gets artificially inseminated and becomes pregnant with another man’s child.
This satirical telenovela allows viewers to feel a roller coaster of emotions. I loved it so much that I rewatched it again in Spanish with my mom.
The idea for this stemmed from a feeling that I wasn’t spending enough time with my mom. After all, I had just graduated from college and moved back home after 4 and a half years. It was a hard adjustment to start spending time with her in person rather than just having a few late-night calls a month. We had never watched a show together, so I thought it would be a great idea as a way to bond.
This show touches many important issues for the Latinx community
Shows are also great conversation starters, and Jane the Virgin was not an exception. This show touches on so many important issues for the Latinx community including matriarchy, religion, immigration, sexuality, and the idea of family bonds. We laughed, cried, and definitely grew closer during the months we spent watching this show.
With the female protagonists and lead actresses, Jane the Virgin does an amazing job at highlighting the different experiences that women face in life. While Jane is ‘little miss perfect’, her mother Xiomara is an outgoing and eccentric dance teacher with dreams of having a singing career. She had Jane when she was only 16-years old and Jane never got to meet her father until she was 23 because her parents split when her mother got pregnant. Jane’s grandmother, Alba Villanueva, is a deeply religious woman who helped raise Jane and made her vow to not lose her virginity until marriage.
I love the fact that this show is centered around the relationship between the women of the Villanueva family. The relationship between the women in my life is very similar. My grandmother, who I’ve always considered a matriarch, raised 6 daughters, my mother and my aunts, who I will always look up to as the strongest women in my life. My mother raised myself and my 3 younger sisters all on her own. Our relationships and the life experiences they taught me about are part of what defines me and who I am today. I was raised by strong women, and it was beautiful to see the same kind of powerful female energy captured in the show.
Alba’s story of becoming an American citizen after being terrified of getting deported for almost 30 years is one aspect of the show that resonated with me. My parents are immigrants, and the whole immigrant experience, in general, is one that many of our Latinx families can relate to, especially because many of them came here to start a new life just like Alba. My mom definitely teared up when Alba had her citizenship ceremony, because it brought up memories and feelings from when she went through the process. It also came at a time when immigration became an important issue in this country.
I’ve had many important conversations with my mum as a result of the show
Jane the Virgin also includes representation of the LGBTQ+ community. This is a subject that my mother and I never sat down to speak about, but the show definitely enabled us to have that conversation. There were various lesbian women on the show and even some gay men. At first, I could tell that my mom felt a bit uncomfortable watching lesbians making out on TV, but, after some time, she accepted it. And she wanted the characters to be happy. That was progress for someone who comes from a culture and family that is not very approving of the LGBTQ+ community. I’m glad that she was exposed to the topic through this show.
Not only does this show touch on important subjects of sexuality, but sex itself. Jane, who was a virgin when she had her son, finally loses her virginity in the third season. Other characters freely explore their sex lives and own them. Jane’s mother, Xiomara, dates various men throughout the show and openly talks about her sex life with her daughter. Eventually, Jane’s devout widowed grandmother confesses that she is scared of having sex because she hasn’t experienced pleasure in over 30 years. Jane even takes her to buy a vibrator!
This was a very touchy subject for my mom and me. When I confessed to her that I wasn’t a virgin she got a bit upset at me but, eventually, we came to terms with the fact that sex is a natural part of the human experience.
Watching Jane the Virgin in Spanish not only helped me appreciate the language even more, but it opened my eyes to so many important issues that we do not talk about enough in the Latinx community. Many of the important conversations that I have had with my mother recently have been a result of this show. I am grateful for this intricate but refreshing portrayal of my community. It is a gem of our generation.
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