‘Jane the Virgin’ & Hispanic-American Culture

Recently I have been binge-watching ‘Jane the Virgin’ on Netflix. My whole family absolutely loves this show. For those unfamiliar with the series, it is essentially a running parody of “telenovelas”. I think that one of my favorite things about this series is its subtle humor poking fun at the Hispanic culture. It is easy to understand the humor as a non-Hispanic/Latino individual, but when you share the culture it takes the humor of the show to a whole new level.

As a young woman of Cuban and Spanish descent, I personally can relate to the common usage of “Spanglish” in the show, as it is commonly used in my household. In addition, my Abuela exhibits a lot of the same characteristics as Jane’s. The initial pressure on Jane to save herself for marriage is very representative of a typical Hispanic Christian family in our society today.

The representation of Hispanic culture in the show is not so much “in your face” as other Latin television shows, and it refuses to conform to casting Latino women in the degrading roles of servitude they are usually cast in. Instead, it portrays a young Latino woman earning her higher education and working towards a career in teaching.

I also thought the series has done a great job tackling sensitive issues like pro-choice vs. pro-life,  and  our country’s immigration system. In the series, Jane’s abuela is undocumented. When she is sent to the hospital after being pushed down a flight of stairs, the issue arises when the doctors do not have sufficient paperwork. Later in the series, Jane’s abuela applies for citizenship and receives it. However, not all undocumented immigrants are this lucky. The show called attention to how significant this problem is for so many immigrants.

The NY times article below discusses ‘Jane the Virgin’ and its success in the Hispanic-American community:

Kelsey Sierra- 9/20/16

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3 Responses to ‘Jane the Virgin’ & Hispanic-American Culture

  1. marymdalton says:

    It is a creative series! I watched a few episodes and find it a bit of a steep climb for people who aren’t intimately aware of the conventions of the telenovela but believe it is a valuable contribution to the TV landscape!

  2. mediaphiles says:

    I love this series! I assume it is because I too am hispanic so I can see my own family shining through the family dynamic the characters create. I think the show did a wonderful job at portraying our culture in a funny, light hearted way. Our religion and family are two things that are essential in our culture and are highlighted throughout the series. The manner in which the grandmother, or abuelita, is constantly calling to God for guidance as well as the manner in which Jane can not stay away from her overly protecting grandmother and young hearted mother make it so relatable. Of course, the circumstance she goes through may be something I’ll never experience in person but it doesn’t mean I’m not loving seeing how the story unravels!

    -Alexandra Peralta 9/21/16

  3. mediaphiles says:

    I really love how this series has added more diversity to our television landscape! I also appreciate how it doesn’t conform to the typical American television show model and instead uses the conventions of the telenovela as Mary said. In doing this, the show brings Hispanic culture to our television screens in a very authentic way. -Katie Nelson

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