Jane the Virgin: great show, but what’s up with the title?

The thing is, Jane the Virgin actually does a lot to deconstruct the view of women being defined by their sexuality. And I know they say don’t judge a TV show by its title (that’s the saying, right?) Is the whole point that the title is ironic? Because otherwise all I can see is a show that very clearly defines Jane by her virginity.

I originally held off watching it because the title put me off. It felt anti-feminist, and I couldn’t understand how a seemingly progressive show was contributing to the overall way in which women are sexualised by the media.

But then again, I’d heard such good things, so I decided to try it, and was immediately hooked. Jane is a complex character who is dealt a lot of shit cards. As the show develops, the novelty that Jane is a pregnant virgin begins to become less important and less focused on.

Nevertheless, the construct of virginity is still looked at, with Janes’ mother encouraging free choice, whereas her Abuela taking a more traditional ‘no sex before marriage’ stance. As a watcher, I am constantly questioning whether she wants to be a virgin, or whether she feels pressured into it by her Abuela from a young age. These conversations about sexuality are frequent within the show, which then brings into question: why does the title play into the very problem it’s trying to deconstruct?

There’s also so much more to Jane and the characters than their sexuality. The show mirrors a telenovela with its dramatic twists and turns, which really does just provide an excellent TV watching experience. The relationships between characters are complex and enjoyable to see develop throughout. I also love how they portray bilingual characters, as Abuela always speaks Spanish, with Jane and her mother switching between English and Spanish.

The in-depth relationships are what made me love the show. Jane and Xo’s mother-daughter relationships reminded me of a Rory and Lorelai Gilmore Girls situation, and I can’t get enough of it.

I really just wish they’d picked a better title.

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