Sample Book Review on ‘Being Mary Jane. Season 2’

Sample Book Review on ‘Being Mary Jane. Season 2’


            Being Mary Jane is a TV series is centered on Mary Jane Paul, a successful career woman in the media industry. Despite her success in terms of career, she has a chaotic personal life. To an observer, it seems as if her career and personal life are the stark contrasts that she has to struggle every day to reconcile. Mary Jane has everything that she needs materially, but lacks the satisfaction of having a man in her life. Her relationships are mostly with married men or the ones with their commitments elsewhere (Caramanica 3). She is in her late thirties and is childless. Behind her success, there is a persisting dissatisfaction. Her fears of never marrying or having children are communicated to the audience in every episode of this series. The identities of a woman in terms of career, a mother and a wife are clearly contrasted in this TV series. This program tends to suggest that being a wife and family woman  is mutually exclusive to being a career woman. s

Identity of a Career Woman

            Absence of equal opportunities in terms of career between male and females in the United States and the rest of the developed world is one of the reasons that led to the development of feminism in the 1960s (Miller 16). A lot has been achieved over the years, with the education levels of women improving and their participation in the workplace matching that of men. There is lessened need for manual and tiring jobs that used to exist in the past, and soft skills have become important in the recent years. Women happen to be better at soft skills such as knowing how to deal with people and negotiating fair deals compared to men (Snyder 182). This has made them have an upper hand, soliciting for jobs in the present economy that are skewed more towards the service industry. The manual careers that were held in the past by men have been replaced by machines and automation, and males are faced with the difficulty of having to attain social skills that come naturally to women (Miller 16). Therefore, it can be argued that women have an upper hand in the job market presently. This is the context in which Being Mary Jane is created, a time when women are involved in their careers so that the career becomes a part of their identity.

Mary Jane is a TV show presenter and her career is the envy of many women and girls. She is doing well financially as evidenced by the posh house that she lives in and the stunning designer outfits  she wears to her job and when attending occasions. Jane is very hard working, a quality that has earned her promotions in her workplace. She has a very good connection with her audience and keeps them well informed on matters of social and political importance. In her position as the anchor of a popular TV show in her city, Mary Jane plays a significant role in shaping the opinions of the people in that city. Furthermore, Mary Jane is a black woman. She is fully aware of the challenges that black people face in the United States because of  poverty and systemic racism. These are issues that she vehemently addresses in her shows (Caramanica par 4). This makes this series both informative and entertaining for the audience. The ascension of Mary Jane in her career is accompanied by realization of  less opportunities for men in the black community. Mary Jane is interested in having a relationship leading to marriage with a black man. This is what she fondly refers to as ‘black love.’ Her success in work ensures that the pool of men that would be eligible to date her with confidence is greatly shrunk. Her success in the job place is what has unfortunately been her undoing in terms of dating. This leads to the second form of identity, the lonely black woman.



Identity of a Lonely Black Woman

            Mary Jane’s success in her career is dulled by the fact that she cannot   find a man to commit to her fully. Most of the men that she is involved with are either committed to other women or not interest in having a long-term relationship with her. She is greatly troubled by this as evidenced by her drinking habits late at night, when she contemplates the likelihood of never getting married or having children of her own. The best she has had with men is flings that she has kept  secret from her public life. She projects the image of a strong, independent black woman onto the rest of the world while in the inside she is feeling inadequate and incomplete for not having a man in her life. In addition to having a man by her side, Mary Jane would also like to have children of her own. She is disappointed when shooting one of her shows  she is informed by a fertility doctor that she has a problem with her reproductive system. This is a very disturbing discovery, as having children could have consoled her if she never gets married. Now she faces the double tragedy of never getting married and also not having children to occupy herself with in her later years.

The lonely position of Mary Jane  is made worse by her mother, a conservative woman. The mother takes every opportunity to remind Jane how wrong she was in delaying marriage and children for the sake of her career. Incidentally, Mary Jane has a niece who has two children. This niece is not married, and the two kids are from different men. Mary Jane seems to disapprove of the behavior of the niece and envy her at the same time. The niece has very little going on in her life in terms of career and finances, but she is getting love and attention from men. Thisis a sharp contrast with the circumstances of having success and money but lacking love that Mary Jane faces. This series demonstrates how it seems impossible for a woman to have happiness, unlessshe has to sacrifice some things in order to have the satisfaction that she seeks in life (Snyder, 185; Crenshaw 1241). When a woman is married and tied down with the responsibility of raising children, she feels dissatisfied that she has to sacrifice a possible career and financial independence. On the other hand, if a woman chooses her career over marriage and children, she is predisposed to loneliness.


            To sum up, this TV series reveals the dilemma the modern woman faces. She has to decide whether to follow the traditional path of embracing family life or focus on her career. This series demonstrates that it is not possible to enjoy both worlds. This is caused by the fact that women’s fertility window is limited compared to that of the men.



Works cited

Caramanica, Jon. “A Woman Chasing Disasters, on and Off the News.”  New York Times; US Newsstream 07 January  2014

Crenshaw, Kimberle. “Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, And Violence Against Women of Color”. Stanford Law Review, vol. 43, no. 6, 1991, p. 1241. JSTOR,.

Miller, Alice M. “Sexuality, Violence Against Women, And Human Rights: Women Make Demands and Ladies Get Protection”. Health and Human Rights, vol. 7, no. 2, 2004, p. 16. JSTOR,.

Snyder, R. Claire. “What Is ThirdWave Feminism? A New Directions Essay”. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, University Of Chicago Press,. vol. 34, no. 1, 2008, pp. 175-196.