Jane's no virgin to gender equality: a feminist critique of Jane the virgin

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Dockter, Ciera
Ballard-Reisch, Deborah

Jane the Virgin, a television show airing on The CW, tells the story of a devout, Catholic virgin who finds out she is pregnant after being accidentally artificially inseminated during a routine gynecologist checkup. While the plot may be absurd, it has caught the attention of many female viewers while tackling issues of feminism and intersectionality. This study encompasses a Feminist Critique of the show by combining a textual analysis of five random episodes from Season #1 with focus group data that was collected from real Jane the Virgin viewers. From this data, it can be seen that Jane the Virgin addresses feminist issues within themes of female characters being in control of their bodies, female characters being independent of men, female characters having a strong sense of camaraderie, and female characters being shown with competence in the workplace. Support was also found for Jane the Virgin addressing intersectionality, through the two themes of struggle due to intersections and characters who succeed regardless of their intersecting identities. Feminist Criticism revolves around the belief that men and women should have equal opportunity for self-expression. Through the textual analysis and focus groups, it was determined that Jane the Virgin not only helps to show the views and opinions of the female characters in the show, but it also helps empower them - regardless of their ethnicity, class, or sexual orientation. Lastly, the focus group discussion supported the belief that television can have a powerful effect on viewers, as the Jane the Virgin viewers in the focus groups expressed that they are able to relate to the plot and characters and that they have been inspired by the show.

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Thesis (M.A.)--Wichita State University, Fairmount College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Elliott School of Communication