Dear Emmy's, Donde estan las Latinas? | TV

| On
By Odalis 

Seeing a notification on my phone about the Emmy nominations excited me immediately. I scanned through the main list quickly, nodding whenever there was a nomination I strongly agreed with.

It wasn’t until I saw a BuzzFeed article which bore the subheading “No Jane the Virgin?!...” that I became slightly ticked off.

I went back through the Emmy nominations and sure enough there was no mention of the show or of its outstanding leading actress, Gina Rodriguez. I immediately took to Twitter (as one rants) to express my disappointment—as best as one can do in fewer than 140 characters.

Jane the Virgin seemed silly at best when I first heard about it. A frilly comedy, from the CW no less, about a Latina woman who gets pregnant even though she still remains a virgin all because she was accidentally artificially inseminated. To my ears it sounded like the worst possible idea. Every Latina/o person I know, myself included, were wary and very aware of all the possible bad turns the show could possibly take.

I think it’s more than fair to say that everyone was in for a shock once the show premiered.

Andrea Navedo and Gina Rodriguez in Jane the Virgin

I remember watching the first episode and falling in love with the seeming innocence this show carried. The bright colors, the ridiculous “cannot be real” scenarios, and the dramatic telenovela narrator all found a place in my heart.

So much more than all aesthetic aspects that attracted me to this wonderful show is the wonderful actress, Gina Rodriguez. Born and raised in Chicago with Puerto Rican parents, Rodriguez is a testament of the immense talent Latinas have brought and are still bringing to the screen. Gina Rodriguez is an absolute vision as Jane Villanueva.

The most important aspect I found in the show is the casting of Miss Rodriguez—and the fact that a character with such depth as Jane was written as a Latina woman. Jane is a young woman who lives with her mother and abuela (grandmother), engaged with a lovely fiancé, and has definite goals for her future, which drives her every decision.

Ivon Coll, Gina Rodriguez and Andrea Navedo in Jane the Virgin

Unlike every other Latina character I have encountered on television Jane is not oversexualized, instead she is the one that is in complete control of her body—and none of the male characters have a say whatsoever.

Moreover, the show exemplifies the strength that is to be found amongst women. That while there are love triangles, love squares and love hexagons (after all, this is a take on a soap opera) the most important love comes from that of Jane’s mother and abuela. They are her support system in every sense of the word.

Even the seemingly villainous Petra finds a source of comfort through her mother, and at times Jane.

Finding representation like that is hard to find in this community, where the Latina characters are the maids, the secretaries, the Other Women, but they are never their own.

Jane the Virgin also isn’t afraid to tackle issues that Latina/o(s) deal with on a day-to-day basis in this country. One of those being immigration and immigration reform, the moral and religious basis of Latino households—and how to deal with that in a modern world, and the rather specific issues that come from being raised in a Latina/o family that you love no matter what.

The show is unlike anything I have every encountered in my many years of over-the-top TV watching.

Jane is much unlike Sofia Vergara’s character, Gloria Pritchett, in Modern Family (which stands at 6 nominations this award season) who is basically a caricature of the Latina woman. And yet, that is what people find funny—that’s the only way they find us funny.

Latina women can be funny and strong at the same time. Latina women can and are complex, and deserve more than just one identity. Yet consistently we are placed in a box, and not allowed to explore and expand.

I know it’s late to change any Emmy nomination (and really, who am I to do that?), but hopefully the voters, the board, anyone out there that has any kind of sway will realize for next year that not only does Jane the Virgin deserve all the acclaim it gets and more, but being honored with an Emmy could inspire many others in the Latino community to pursue their dreams. 

Odalis lives in Miami, FL and studies Journalism at The New School in New York. 

Cause a Cine do not own any images used in this post. 
Be First to Post Comment !
Post a Comment