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| WHY I LOVE JENNY… MY CONFESSION
Written by Israneski
(This is my confession....but it is mine. I own it. This is also dedicated to everyone out there who is a survivor of abuse. )
I am a diehard Bette and Tina fan. Anyone who reads my fan fiction can attest to that. I love the way they could be - in my perfect little world. The world I have created for them. In the end, I always find myself saying, "Tina, how could you?" And "Bette, awww poor baby...wanna join me for some......?" Anyway, I speak to a good deal of women after each show and I always begin with, "And your impressions of the show?"
Invariably they say. "TOO MUCH JENNY!" I always seem to hang my head and avert my eyes as I say or type, "But I like Jenny...." I don't just like Jenny, I love Jenny! I admit it! Now realizing that probably makes me and ME who loves her character, I started to think about why more people do not like her and what I could possibly say in support of her..
I will never dispute that Jenny is confused, perhaps even odd. Weird comes to mind. "Off the wall" springs from my lips too. One thing I can say for her is that she always displays her BALLS! How can you not love that?
As I now begin my praise of Jenny, and probably watch my fan fiction ratings turn to the negatives, I will attempt to explain this character of Jenny as I see her, I truly believe she is the most well explained and well rounded character on the show. I love her because, put simply, she makes sense. .
First of all, as someone who worked for years in the field of mental health and addiction services. I learned to look at experience and behavior. In doing so, I have often found that the two are so incredibly tied together that it is impossible to separate them. Experience defines who we are and ultimately what we do. I am not saying that people can't change, but to some extent, our past dictates who we become. For those of you reading this who have suffered physical or emotional abuse of another human being, I want to make it clear that your past does not turn you into the person who harmed you, or even one remotely like that person. That is not to say that some people who are victims of predators do not repeat the cycle of abuse. Some become child advocates, rape counselors, social workers, etc.. Some certainly do repeat the cycle, and some certainly do not and will do anything in their power to stop the cycle from continuing.
Jenny made sense to me from the beginning - and I have no clue what that says about me - perhaps I am as weird and offbeat as she is. As the second season ended, everything made so much sense that I actually wanted to give poor little Jenny a hug and that is when my protective nature really kicked in.
Look at what this poor little cherub has endured. Oy Vey! Look at the fact that she survived a brutal rape as a little girl. Look at how she begged Tim not to leave her even though she had left him long before he left her. She has a wicked stepfather and a mother who couldn't, and didn't protect her and didn't even acknowledge what had happened to her until now.
So how does Jenny deal with her trauma? Well, she sleeps around a tad; she finds some of the most beautiful and most strange people to hook up with, and she becomes a stripper. I will never forget the look on her face during that scene on the stage. I am not sure if it was a look of relief or disgust. I am sure that it was a pivotal event in her recovery. I cannot forget the scene where she was cutting her legs. Weird? No...a behavior that makes so much sense that I believe many people just don't understand it. Is it too painful? Or do people just not understand why someone would inflict that level of abuse upon themselves? Maybe people do not want to understand because the entire issue of rape and abuse is just too much to deal with. It seems to me that it is much easier to sit around the television and look at beautiful women. Women who struggle with miscarriages, infidelity, breast cancer, pill popping, and all the other issues we see on the show.
Simply put, if it can be simple, Jenny cuts because the emotional pain is too terrible to handle. The cutting eases the emotional pain and I hear from some women who do cut, that they do not really feel any pain at all when they cut. They feel a release of the emotional pain and once again feel some connection with the real world.. They get out of their head and escape some of the memories that hold them captive.
I would encourage anyone who does not know the pain of abuse to do some research into the subject. If you are brave enough to do so I think, you might actually end up understanding Jenny and maybe even loving and embracing her character as I do
Finally, I want to applaud the writers for taking this character on and dealing with her in such a realistic manner. And to the person behind the character - thank you for sharing your story with us.
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2006-01-24, 10:48:30 AM
Comments: Your points are very well taken! This character adds depth, darkness and complexity to the show. I found her so lost and confused at the beginning, but glad to see her gradually working out her unbearable "heaviness" of being.
2006-01-24, 11:57:14 AM
Comments: Israneski, your editorial has inspired me to respond in kind. I, too, can appreciate the character of Jenny and I am indebted to Mia Kirshner for so bravely portraying this complex character. The character of Jenny is the most well developed character on the show. I wish I knew half as much about the character of Tina as I do about Jenny. Jenny's behavior makes perfect sense in relation to her experiences. While I cannot say I love watching all of Jenny's scenes, as some of her storyline is akin to watching a gruesome train wreck, I can certainly appreciate and understand her motivations and behavior. I, too, am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. I, too, have spent 10 years working in the trenches in the mental health field and I have witnessed firsthand the emotional devastation caused by the emotional, physical, and sexual abuse of children. So, Israneski, I applaud you for your confession and I thank you as well, while I "jump in that boat" with you and hang on for the ride.
2006-01-24, 12:20:01 PM
Comments: I thank you for your comments and really wish they had spelled my name correctly! :) But - I really just wanted to open up this topic for some discussion because I think it is so important for people to understand the devestation of abuse. mcee -I applaud you for being forthright about your experience and daring enough to turn it around to help others! Thank you....Lisa
2006-01-24, 20:16:18 PM
Comments: I know that Jenny can be difficult to understand at times but the problems she is dealing with affect many women. There is no easy way to deal with sexual abuse and the scars left behind. People who have never been abused in that way usually have no way to relate to the trauma and life long healing it takes to overcome the abuse. I am immensely proud of the L Word creators for opening the door to understanding.
2006-01-28, 21:37:04 PM
Comments: I loved it. I always felt annoyed by Jenny, but at the end of the day I couldn't just hate her:there's a vulnerability (is that even a word in english?!) in her that makes me think she's not as bad as I though. Thanks for putting it in words of wisdom.
2006-01-28, 22:08:01 PM
Comments: dragonita - yes vulnerability is a word in the english language - and one usedquite often in the mental health field. Jenny is truly vulnerable. She is also very strong. When I watch her character I am always struck be her sensitivity. It equals or surpasses that of shane. Hmmmm....maybe why I loveShane is a topic to explore! Thank you.
2006-01-31, 08:50:24 AM
Comments: excellent - i have been also and victim and your words and thoughts struck a deep chord. your words wont get negative comments from me on your story either. and this year i also love jenny.
2006-02-01, 08:41:20 AM
Comments: Welcome to the fold, Albeez! If you're still around, then you are not a victim, but a survivor.
2006-02-01, 18:50:09 PM
Comments: thank you so much for this lovely and honest editorial. i wrote something similar on the message boards defending her but did not go into as much elaboration as you did. everything you wrote was exactly what i was feeling/thinking. i also want to thank those who spoke up and admitted also being survivors of sexual abuse. i am one too and have only just begun to come to terms w/ it. i have done all the things jenny has. i have been a stripper, slept around, been a "cutter" since i was 11. and more. i agree that the L word is doing an excellent job of portraying the devestation that abuse brings into someone's life and how it takes a lifetime to overcome childhood sexual abuse. the character of jenny is the one i relate to most which i felt ashamed to say before reading what you wrote. but if i am going to identify w/ her darkness, then i also must identify w/ her strengths...her empathy, warmth, determination to heal even when she doesn't know how...her honesty and ability to be true to herself and her friends. i agree that she is the character we know the most about and i think there is a reason for that. i think she's the character who has grown the most and i look fwd to seeing where she will go from here. her journey is mine as well and the millions of other survivors out there.
2006-02-01, 22:01:36 PM
Comments: Gigi88--We are all kindred spirits here. The sheer number of women and men who have been affected by sexual abuse is staggering. I bet you posess some of those same strengths that you recognize in the character of Jenny. Take care and know that you are not alone.
2006-02-03, 04:12:59 AM
Comments: Thank you for your editorial Israneski. I couldn't agree with you more. I remember last season when the finale showed, and I was so surprised that there wasn't much mention to Jenny's child abuse storyline by fans. And when it was mentioned the lack of interest to understand Jenny really again surprised me. It spurred me on to write a few chapters of Jenny's Journey to help explain to people, what complex issues a person must deal with when dealing with past abuse. I was under the impression that if I explained Jenny's thoughts in a story that viewers could become more empathetic. Yet with this story my readership plummeted and people's opinion of my writing suddenly went down. Now, I know I am not the best writer by any means, but I really thought people would have given the story a chance. And then it hit me. Jenny's storyline is too hard to watch for some people, let alone want to read about it. I realized that the show and especially Mia Kirshner couldn't have done anything more to bring realism to the topic of child sexual abuse. The vital fact that was different was that there was finally a show that was courageous enough to talk about this silent epidemic and show the painful struggle of its aftermath. And it was up to audience to decide how they themselves would face the topic of child sexual abuse. For many it was just too uncomfortable to grasp so it was washed over. However, the show in my eyes succeeded the moment it aired Jenny's storyline. It got a dialogue going, and no matter how small or misunderstood this talk was, is, or will be, it now has a voice. And as more and more survivors speak out it won't be such an "uncomfortable" topic for people to hear about anymore. Sadly there are millions of survivors out there, but nobody addresses this epidemic. And it truly is an epidemic that needs to faced and fought. I believe that Jenny's story creates the first line of defense by actually talking about child abuse and maybe can bring all the millions of survivors together and we can start fighting back.
2006-02-03, 16:01:53 PM
Comments: I agree with Giasony. Sexual abuse is a very difficult, uncomfortable, and possibly misunderstood issue. I recognized very early on where Jenny's storyline was leading and I knew it would be a difficult journey, leaving some viewers uncomfortable, but nevertheless a journey that needed to be taken.
2006-02-03, 16:05:18 PM
Comments: Although it would be more comfortable to remain anonymous, considering the subject matter, the above post is from mcee. I'm not sue how I changed to anonymous mid-post.
2006-02-03, 17:12:03 PM
Comments: I am Anonymous - but I am also the writer of this editorial. I applaud all of you who have been brave enough to step forward and say that this has happened to you - you are a brave group of women...and I do hope that if nothing else...this Jenny storyline offers some understanding, empathy and strength to survivors of sexual abuse. I wish you all well and thank you for your comments.Lisa
2006-02-04, 08:43:52 AM
Comments: Thanks for the text. I've always liked Jenny maybe cause in some way i am like her but then again i can identify with each character of the show on some level or the other.I cannot and will not pretend that i know why people self harm. I don't know why i do it either but there's the song "hurt" that Johnny Cash sang and that makes sense to me on so many levels and the lyrics go like this:"I hurt myself todayTo see if I still feelI focus on the painThe only thing that's realThe needle tears a holeThe old familiar stingTry to kill it all awayBut I remember everything."So that was it and thanks again for ur post.
2006-02-06, 07:08:59 AM
Comments: I understand Jenny because I am Jenny in many, many ways..
2006-02-06, 12:51:22 PM
Comments: finally.. some1 who sees her from my POV..Jenny is going to evolve into THE main star of the show..and I'm loving that...problems and darkness aside , physically Mia is so gorgeous...hmmmmm..but yes... i love jenny..don't care what any1 else has to say.. her character brings a level of intrigue and mystery the other characters don't have
2006-02-11, 14:20:20 PM
From: KIT :evil: HALLY
Comments: THANK YOU ....AND GLAD TO SEE SOME ONE IS THINKING THE SAME AS ME ....YOU WROTE IT WELL ...HOPE MORE PEOPLE WILL (AT LEAST TRY) TO UNDERSTAND...YODA... A GAIN THANK YOU
2006-02-11, 16:29:27 PM
Comments: I found your editorial to be compelling and inspiring. When I first joined the website, I defended Mia's character to many negative comments. Everyone is such big Tina, Bette and Shane fans, however, Jenny is cute and even though her world seems dark, she's going to shine in the end. Mia is doing a wonderful job portraying Jenny and I feel her character is one that many may relate to. Yes, she can be very weird or "out there" at times, but she's a young woman who has persevered despite her tramatic past. She's still searching to find herself in a world that can be so judgemental and cruel. I don't understand much about cutting and up until now, I never cared to. However, I have a friend who recently revealed to me that she cuts and at first I was like, "Nooooo, why do you want to self destruct?" I had no idea the depths of pain she has dealt with and still dealing with. I don't think it really hit me either until I read your editorial. I only wish I had read it before now, as I lost this friend due to my lack of understanding. Thank you for posting such an inspiring message, kudos to Mia for portraying Jenny and kudos to the writers who realize there are people out there much like her character. Sure we would like to think the lesbian world is full of Bettes, Tinas, Shanes and others, but the truth is, we are all different, with different personalities, yet we all feel and experience pain. Eventually, Jenny will find herself. She's an inspiration to many out there and the rest of us will eventually begin to appreciate what her character brings to the show. That something is called, "Reality". Thanks again for the inpiring editorial.