The Evolution of Jane
Disclaimer: First and foremost, let me state that this is meant in no way to
insult any heartless bitches or other worthy women who are named Jane. The label
Jane refers to Jane Doe, the nameless, faceless woman.
The term Jane was coined conveniently by my friend Keriann back in high school,
when we were both budding heartless bitches, needing a way to refer to a
particular brand of girl. At the time, it meant the girls who carried around
Seventeen Magazine and pulled it out frequently for reference. The girls who
carried at least four pounds of cosmetics around in their purses and would
travel in packs around the school because they were too insecure with themselves
to exist without their cliques. We started calling them Jane Does, and
eventually just Janes.
But as we grew older, the term Jane evolved with our
understanding of them. A Jane begins as a high school preppy girl, concerned
with meeting the prefabricated image of 'girl' as portrayed by the media. Janes
are form without substance, followers of pop culture and fashion, believers in
the prefabricated culture that's maintained solely for their existence. Those
who try desperately to fit that impossible standard, neglecting all else, until
they're simply a shell of perfection, one who conforms to the mold by becoming
hollow. It's a whole cultural phenomenon of blocking out reality and living
without depth or substance.
A Jane is an image, and sometimes a persona. The saddest high school archetype
is that of the failed Jane, the girl who wants desperately to fit into the
plastic mold because she knows no other alternative, but fails for some reason.
Lack of money comes to mind, or inability to conform to the current standards of
beauty. Striving to be Jane leads many of these girls to crash diets and
outrageous clothing budgets, so that they can be part of the in-crowd. The fact
is, the in-crowd as it relates to Janes is a support group, a replacement for
any sort of personality. Janes stick together in packs because without others of
their kind to compare clothing and makeup with, to discuss how in or out the
latest trend is, they'd cease to be. A stranded Jane is a sad thing indeed, and
cannot exist for very long. Once opinions beyond the collective start to form
she might start questioning the hive mind, and then she's evolved beyond Jane.
When such a thing happens, it's time to rejoice. Sadly, it doesn’t happen often,
since Janes don't let Janes have thoughts.
Janes aren't just a phenomenon of high school. While that horrible social soup
of hormone-ridden teenagers, corn fed on the pop media and usually desperate for
validation by SOMEONE is key to their creation, it isn't necessary to maintain
them. Once a Jane is created all she needs to maintain Jane-ness is a collective
of fellow Janes to keep her from straying. A Jane remains a Jane outside of high
school if she marries young (Read: Before she has a chance to figure out who she
is as a person and what her beliefs and opinions are) has children (The more and
the younger the better, especially if this is a result of religious Dogma, lack
of sex education, or desire to please her new husband rather than a desire to
actually be a parent) , joins the PTA (Or similar mom/housewife/American woman
drone society), drives an SUV, makes Jell-O frequently, and doesn't think too
hard. Jane can graduate from Seventeen and Cosmopolitan to Redbook and Ladies
Home Journal, and continue on her 'I am woman, just like the media defines me'
A Jane is a member of a hive mind, controlled by the mass media and told what to
do, think, and be. Only those who conform to this willingly are truly Janes. It
should be noted that Janes CAN and often ARE healed with the mere injection of a
few alternate opinions. Janes are often Janes because nobody has ever offered
them another choice. These Janes aren't nearly as insipid as those who are the
way they are by their own volition, those who scorn and pity other people, who
live in denial that anything beyond their shiny plastic bubble could be a worthy
existence. To all the nice girls who know no other way, I say "Come and learn,
you too can be a heartless bitch if only you grow a spine and some opinions!" To
all the shiny Janes who are happy in their ignorance, I say "Shove the
cosmopolitan up your ass."