November 24, 2015 7:08 AM   Subscribe

"Jane the Virgin is doing some of the most serious, most valuable work I’ve seen in a long time, and that work is rooted in a radically frank depiction of new motherhood." Links may contain spoilers, but also this show is very silly so knowing some things that happen will probably not ruin your enjoyment of the rest of it

- "Jane the Virgin doesn’t just make its Latino characters visible: It makes their point of view the dominant lens of the show and filters their stories through the socially aware telenovela format. True, this means it inhabits an outlandish world of hyperbolic gestures and emotions."

-"Five Latinas discuss Cristela, Jane the Virgin, and representation on TV."
In watching these shows I am at once mortified and mesmerized. Is this a mirror of who I am? Does it need to be? Can I relax and just enjoy the fact that our stories are making their way into the world? I am proud of those writers and actors who make these shows. I've chuckled and genuinely hope for the best. Yet at the same time I hesitate. I can't move past the stereotypes: the trap of religion, unrealistic familiar duties, the virgin/whore complex, and the storylines where we all still live with our meddlesome mothers.
posted by ChuraChura (17 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
Great show. Great articles.
posted by k8t at 7:45 AM on November 24, 2015

I don't watch the show (I keep meaning too, not getting around to it), but I very much appreciate that at least in the picture on that article, Jane's body has not instantly bounced back cosmetically either - she's not magically unpregnant and skinnier than ever. There's still a real belly.
posted by maryr at 7:52 AM on November 24, 2015

Please watch this show if you think you might have even a passing interest. You owe it to yourself and you owe it to this show.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:06 AM on November 24, 2015 [7 favorites]

I just started binge-watching Jane on Netflix yesterday, and I am now so love with it (already -- four episodes in) that I texted my two best friends to tell them about it, because I need someone to rave over it with.
posted by alynnk at 8:15 AM on November 24, 2015

I love this show
posted by grobstein at 8:17 AM on November 24, 2015

Here are things I've seen on JtV in re: pregnancy and motherhood that I have not seen on any other show:
> Jane jokes about being incontinent and needing adult diapers after pregnancy
> there is an iffy result on a prenatal test and Jane and Rafael need to decide what they want to do if it turns out the baby has a disability
> another character has hyperemesis gravidum which basically means she is nauseous/vomiting throughout her pregnancy
> there is discussion of sleep and nursing techniques
> Jane gets mommy-shamed by middle class women who are obsessed with baby-wearing and other modern parenting trends and comments that her mother might easily have killed her by letting her sleep on her front with stuffed animals
> breastfeeding actually takes a toll on Jane and her schedule is built around feedings/pumping
> she goes out and pumps and dumps so she can drink
> she drinks a glass of wine while visibly pregnant
> it's acknowledged that while Jane loves Mateo, his birth completely and totally derails her life

18 weeks and my Days Since Vomiting scoreboard is set at 3. Thanks for keeping it real, Jane.
posted by chaiminda at 8:29 AM on November 24, 2015 [29 favorites]

I'm so behind on season 2! I have 5 or 6 episodes on the DVR. Really need to catch up soon.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:46 AM on November 24, 2015

I've never been able to bring myself to watch the show, because I find the central premise so unbelievably creepy. Medical rape and impregnation.
posted by tavella at 10:27 AM on November 24, 2015

I really like the show and get angry at it, too. The depiction of motherhood and being a woman is often incredibly frank and real, which is great to see on TV. The more it is depicted realistically, the less let down we all are about the realities of what motherhood does to your schedule and your body.

However, I get so pissy about the depiction of her virginity. Dude, you are KNOCKED UP. Yes, in a soap opera kind of way but, still, the gig is up. Fuck and enjoy it, it's not poison! Also, she's an adult and she's planning a romantic evening with her boyfriend where she will be staying the night and greeting him at the door in nothing but a football jersey but she's also gonna stay a virgin. Errr, yeah. Babe, that's like baking a cake, smooshing your hand in it, sitting on it, and dragging it across the carpet but that cake is still ok because you haven't put any in your mouth. Yes, you can do everything but penis in vagina and still feel like a good girl, Jane, but being a good girl is overrated and I wouldn't want my kids to think their self-worth is all about a complete hymen.
posted by Foam Pants at 10:44 AM on November 24, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'm not going to rtmfa because I've only seen season 1, but I absolutely love this show. It is the perfect thing to watch in the middle of the night feeding babies -- it's silly, cheerful, engrossing, not at all mentally tiring but also not at all stupid. If I could find ten more shows like this I'd be in heaven.

Also, chaiminda, can I add one to your list? Braxton-Hicks! The typical tv birth involves calling an ambulance (??) after the second contraction.
posted by gerstle at 10:49 AM on November 24, 2015

I have a roommate who loves this show, so I occasionally catch snippets of it. The fact that it re-centers 'normal' around a Latina experience is immediately the first thing I noticed, and I think it's awesome that it does so even while sometimes providing some context around cultural stuff for a wider audience. We need more shows like this that don't just a) assume that people from minority cultures can't be main characters without ruining the mass appeal OR b) treat people's cultures as exotic set dressing rather than something that is actually interwoven into our lives.
posted by capricorn at 10:56 AM on November 24, 2015 [2 favorites]

#ballermateo #teamabuela

Fans of Rogelio, check out the telenovela he did prior to Jane: Que Pobres Tan Ricos.
posted by dayintoday at 1:21 PM on November 24, 2015 [2 favorites]

I was watching with my wife and we had to pause to talk about how ridiculously realistic Jane's post-birth concerns are. More beyond what chaiminda mentioned that are never mentioned in typical baby comedies:

- plagiocephaly
- nipple confusion from bottle-feading
- mastitis
posted by skewed at 5:43 PM on November 24, 2015

Regarding Jane's not getting down: I fear if you name a show "Jane the Virgin," that means she can't ever, ever lose her virginity until the end of the series.

But that said, I really enjoy the show and it's super well done, even if my current dreams of Team Threesome (I like both dudes) isn't going well right now :P
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:28 PM on November 24, 2015 [1 favorite]

I don't think the title really forces the show to keep her virginity for its entire run. There was a second person on earth by episode two of "The Last Man on Earth."

I think her virginity is more a device to show how meaningful it is for her to choose between Michael and Raphael, and to keep up the suspense. The show can go on when/if she makes that choice.
posted by dayintoday at 6:47 PM on November 24, 2015

The episode about her anatomy ultrasound showing soft markers for Downs Syndrome was amazing. Love this show!
posted by yarly at 6:36 AM on November 25, 2015

And...this why it is important to have different voices in the writers' room. You get different media / art / shows / films / books / everything that depict different experiences from different perspectives. We have whole chunks of human life that are entirely common and normal that just...get left out...or are suddenly NEW to us in these forums because they have primarily been the experiences of women / people of color / lower class folks / name your marginalized group that has been systematically excluded from being the storytellers of their own stories.

Stoked about the future. Hell, the present even. More stories! Stories for all!
posted by whimsicalnymph at 9:19 PM on November 25, 2015 [1 favorite]

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