Not So Plain Jane

Being Mary Jane Movie Poster

When the BET hit show Being Mary Jane first hit the air, many women found her character relatable. However, with season 2 coming to a close, some people argue that the show perpetuates a stereotypical image of black women.

The show features Mary Jane Paul, a single, 30-something, successful news anchor, who is family-oriented. Viewers watch as Paul struggles to maintain a healthy balance between her career, family, and love life.

When we were first introduced to the Paul, many commented that she represented many powerful black women in the world. Now, the racy drama receives a lot of heat for inadequately representing black powerful women. In her article, “Negative Depictions of Black Power Women: Enough is Enough”, Janell Hazelwood rips the drama apart. She claims that she can look past many flawed aspects of the show such as, Paul deciding to be involved with an “emotionally unavailable ex and a married man.”

But she has had enough. She claims the BMJ “add to that age-old stereotype that black women in general are objects not of a man’s highest devotion and respect, but only worthy of lust and love’s table scraps.”

I recognize that many shows and movies alike portray black women having a wrecked love-life. However, BMJ does address real issues that face some women of color. At the beginning of the show the creator sends a message to all viewers. Before the show continue the screen read “Forty-two percent of black women never get married This is one black woman’s story….not meant to represent all black women.”

The disclaimer should be enough to dismiss all discussion about the television show representing women of color in a negative light. People fail to realize that with any character, it isn’t possible for them to represent an entire population of people. Characters are meant to be relatable, however, it is unrealistic to say that the show will be able to represent every type of person.

Instead of focusing on the Paul’s flaws, more people should acknowledge how she is a black woman who is shown as successful and taking care of her family. Paul has entered the hearts of many women with her style and wit. Let’s not forget the show’s purpose is to bring entertainment and not meant to be a representation of black women around the world.


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