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How Jane The Virgin helped me find security in my latina experience

(spoilers ahead- go finish the series before reading)

If you grew up in a latinx family, full of powerful and loud women, then you and I had similar upbringings. My parents raised me and my little sister, surrounded by my mother’s seven sisters, two aunts on my father’s side, eleven female cousins and two beautifully strong grandmothers. There is a synergy in a family full of that much estrogen, which consists of strong guidance, fearless protection and unlimited love. We might get in each other’s business, be unnecessary loud and steal each other’s clothes but there’s nothing like that feeling of unconditional familiar support. Nothing compares to that feeling of knowing you belong with these people who will stop at nothing to see you happy and safe. 

Now, what does that have to do with a tv series? Well, let me tell you that I had never been able to explain how that synergy feels to anyone that hadn’t already experienced it. I had never seen anything else like it, until I saw Jane, Xiomara and Alba Villanueva in Jane The Virgin. Let’s just say that I identified with Jane in so many aspects, but seeing the interaction she had with her mother and grandmother was key in this process.

Their interaction was extremely familiar and heartwarming.

Starting from the way Xiomara defends Jane against everything she had to go through in life and how Alba pushes Jane to be the best version of herself as a moral compass, Jane’s life portrayed something important to me. Those talks on the porch, where they all cried together and laughed at each other, how they could yell at each other one minute and hug each other the next, all reminded me of who my family is to me.

Also, it was on the details as well… The telenovelas, the food, the colorful way they dressed, but also in the big issues they tackled as the sex taboo and being a single mother to other important plot lines such as Micheal’s loss, Rogelio’s struggle in his career, Mateo’s upbringing, Petra’s sexual orientation, Luisa’s recovery for alcoholism, Rafael’s mental illness representation, Jane’s writing career, Isabel Allende’s appearance and the magical realism, Lina’s struggle with fertility, Xiomara’s experience with cancer, Alba’s journey into citizenship… the mainly latinx cast and the unfiltered SPANISH. 

As a puertorriqueña, I grew up watching American tv shows along with Mexican novelas, and well, nothing really compared to what I am as a person. I spent half my lifetime trying to fit into the stereotypes of main female roles that I saw on tv, which just made me feel uncomfortable with my natural true self and inadequate about my experience. Now that Jane the Virgin is ending (I’m actually writing this before watching the last two episodes that air tonight), I just wanted to acknowledge what a huge impact it made to have that kind of representation for me. I wanted to thank the writers for making Juana la Virgen into one of the best CW tv shows I’ve ever had the pleasure to watch and enjoy. There was nothing like seeing my connection to my family reflected in the Villanueva women and their stories. 



Doctoral psychology student who enjoys writing.
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