All the reasons why ‘Jane the Virgin’ is essential viewing

As many of you have probably already noticed, the first season of Jane The Virgin has landed on Netflix and the second season is officially underway. In fact, there’s a new episode tonight. So to ring in its return, I thought I’d talk about why it’s so refreshing to see Emmy-winner Gina Rodriguez act her butt off in portraying a relatable badass three-dimensional woman of color on network television.

She’s someone who you recognize as an IRL person

Jane is a driven, empowered, and determined 20-something gal who just so happens to be smack-dab in the middle of a telenovela. Sure, my life isn’t nearly as dramatic—what with the hotel murders, kidnappings, and constant mayhem—but we relate in that we’re constantly trying to juggle family, writing, and morals. Along with the craziness, Jane deals with practical stuff like deciding to go back to school to become a teacher in order to supplement her writing career. And you guys, she shops at Target (the purposefully in-your-face product placement on this show is comical). Basically, she’s just like us.

She was raised by strong, amazing women

Jane grew up surrounded by feminine energy. She was raised by both her mother and grandmother and continues to live with them as they help her raise her newborn son. It’s exciting to see this lifestyle depicted on television. A dynamic where the grandmother is the head of the household, but also one where a blended family is introduced. When Jane is accidentally artificially inseminated during what was supposed to be a routine pap smear—as we are often reminded of by the narrator—and she becomes the unwed mother of a baby by way of Rafael Solano’s sperm, she navigates reconciling with Rafael who wants to be a part of the baby’s life. While accidental artificial insemination isn’t common, families that break from the traditional idea of what a family is—mom, dad, 2.5 kids, white picket fence—are and Jane the Virgin does an excellent job of showing us that. I don’t come from a blended family but my relationship with my mother and grandmother mirrors that of Jane’s and I get all up in my feels when I see their interactions because they remind me of my own vibrant family.

She keeps her cool, even in the middle of a love trinagle

Sure, Jane may be trapped in one of the trickiest, most confusing love triangles but she handles this unfortunate situation with grace. Jane is very calculated in her decision-making and while she is highly emotional, she always weighs her options and possible outcomes before dealing with matters of the heart. Jane doesn’t let the men in her life sway her plans in any unwanted directions and her self-awareness is electrifying to witness. To see a young female character carry herself with such certainty is inspiring. It makes me want to reassess my own level of self-assuredness.

She proves that everyone has their own timeline, and that’s OK

Jane is a 23 year-old virgin and not only does she remind us that this is perfectly okay, but she also works to prove that this aspect of her life doesn’t define her—even if the local nuns are trying to make a profit off her by dubbing Jane as the next Virgin Mary. The show’s premise and title do revolve around Jane’s non-sex-having-self, but every episode isn’t a will she, won’t she scenario. In fact, Jane isn’t bothered by her virginity. She’s less concerned with losing her v-card and more focused on keeping her family out of danger and continuing her education. Often times, television shows offer virgin characters who are dying to enter the world of sex—and that’s okay, because some are—but Jane The Virgin presents a woman whose virginity is almost the last thing on her mind. Almost.

[Image via The CW]

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