Written by Kimberly Aguilar, Staff Writer
As Jane the Virgin takes on its third season, it continues taking on a “beautifully nuanced approach to women’s sexuality.” Magazines, such as Cosmopolitan, are naming it CW’s best show ever and it’s for all the right reasons.
The show captures one of the greatest facts that television fails to portray: not all Latina characters are maids or women like Sofia Vergara. Our Los Angeles population consists of nearly 48% women and girls of Latina descent and they are also the youngest female ethnic group in California.
Jane the Virgin tackles many issues Latinas face from their virginity to immigration, and the best part about it is that the show does not shy away from how vocal they want to be about it.
Some of the best scenes take place in the midst of the crisis, which is usually when things unravel. In an episode where Jane Villanueva (played by Gina Rodriguez) finds out she is pregnant, her mother, Xiomara Villanueva (played by Andrea Navedo) asks her if having an abortion was something she had considered.
Although Jane went through with having her child, the overall message received was that just because Jane kept the baby did not make her pro-abortion, but pro-choice. In other TV series, women are often shunned to have abortions such as in the 1960s when an abortion plot on “The Defenders” supported the right for women to choose which resulted in the show losing sponsors.
The show addresses issues women everywhere face, but the way it reveals itself with an inherently Latino perspective inspires how the characters deal with issues around education and motherhood.
Due to the white wall of lead female characters, Latinas go underrepresented in this category. Instead of showing them as educational individuals, we see them on television as maids, gold diggers, and sex symbols.
Jane’s character represents women who agree to be a mother and a student. She is one of the 1.7 million women who is enrolled in a university’s graduate program.
These kinds of women rarely appear on any TV network, but the CW captures the guilt mothers feel so eloquently. All of the shame connected with parenting choices, the anxiety that you’re being selfish if you go to school after just having a child, and not being able to juggle your needs or your baby’s needs are frequent topics of conversation that do not get translated on TV—or at least never well enough.
The show’s different successes on the portrayal of women and race can be discussed for hours, but the true talent behind all of this is Gina Rodriguez—the face behind Jane Villanueva.
Gina is a true advocate for diversity and certainly does not back down from schooling Hollywood on it. She practices what she preaches and waited for a role like Jane; one that represents how this kind of woman is underrepresented in television. “I became an actor to change the way I grew up. The way I grew up, I never saw myself on screen. I have two older sisters. One’s an investment banker and the other one is a doctor, and I never saw [Latinas] being played as investment bankers,” she said at the Television Critics Association back in 2014.
There is no better way to make a change than to be the change. The show, its writers, and Gina Rodriguez continue making women and minorities everywhere proud.