‘Vida’ 1×02 Review: The Female Gaze, Gentrification, and Jupiters Penis

Starz Vida continued proving that there is nothing else like it on screen with the way that it showed EVERYTHING from the female gaze, lit a fire under Emma to give gentrification the bird, and dived into the mind of a stereotypical millennial or Gen-X’er fighting for a cause who is surprisingly enough, more complicated than you’d ever thought.

Let’s dive into this week’s Vida!

The Female Gaze & Jupiters Penis

The female body is something I’ve very aware of when it comes to TV. And I’m not saying this because I’m a woman. I’m saying this because TV/movie or any sort of media out there has no problem commercializing women’s bodies and using them to further whatever message they’re trying to push. They’re plot devices that are not owned by women and dictated by men.

Vida was like, “Fuck that noise.”

These women OWNED their bodies. They did whatever the hell they wanted with them. And they were not shamed for doing what they want, when they want, with those bodies. And it was beautiful. And yes, I’m even talking about Lyn going down on Jupiter. She chose that, she did it, and she wasn’t ashamed of it.

Also, let’s talk about Jupiter’s penis. It was just sitting there. SITTING. THERE. Do you even understand how much of a rare thing that is? You always see the bare breasted femme fatale or latest sexual excapade just laying about while the man is getting dressed. Vida flipped it around and had a guy just casually sitting there after having his ex go down on him with her mouth and fingers.


I’m thinking back to all the damn TV/movies I’ve watched in my life and remembering how surprised I was when I saw a penis on screen, because they were rarer than unicorns, and then being amazed by the size of it. Because…you know…penis length equals how much “of a man they are.” Jupiter had a small penis and he didn’t care. And that simple fact made me care.

Neither Lyn or Jupiter were used as sexual objects or subjected to each other’s gaze in a way that made them feel dirty or scandalous. They were just two people going through a very awkward breakup and oh yeah, his penis was just sitting there, and it was all being told from the female gaze. Cool, cool, cool. And that’s hella refreshing to see. So thank you Vida writers for the flaccid penis and for empowering viewers to do whatever the hell they want, whenever they want, with whoever they want without feeling ashamed of it.

Also, thank you for enabling me to write this previous sentence. It’s beautiful and might be the highlight of my career.

Emma Giving Gentrification the Bird

Emma telling Lyn that they were going to be staying a little longer was a declaration. A declaration to do something different. A declaration to dig into what was happening in her home. And a declaration to not let her roots disappear just because it was simpler to sell off the bar and make her merry way back to Chicago.

And I loved it.

So thank you random woman in the waiting room. Your ignorance was inspiring and made Emma feel something that women like her use to destroy the odds: anger. You told her that there was something that she couldn’t do because of the way that her mother was and that in turn she is. Because you know, and I know, that Emma is into women just as much or as more than her mother. So thank you.

Emma’s eyes have been opened to the gentrification that is going on in her home and she is fueled by the ignorance of those that think that someone like her mother couldn’t keep things running. So she’ll stay. She’ll explore. Hell, she might even enlist Mari to understand what this invasion in our neighborhoods means for the survival of our Latinx brothers, sisters, and family. And she’ll come out a better woman woman, sister, and neighbor who is connected to her roots. It’ll also be a journey for us. I look around my neighborhood and feel like my eyes have been opened just like Emma’s.

There’s a change coming to our communities and the sooner we understand it, the sooner we can fight against it or guide the change in ways that benefit us and don’t erase us and our beautiful culture and community.

A Side of Mari I Didn’t Expect

On any other show Mari would’ve easily blended into the background, a poster child for the millennial fight against change. But with writing like this, a queer and Latinx writers room, Mari has transformed into someone I might not agree with half the time, but someone I want to know more about.

When her video series was interrupted by the friend on the street I saw a different side of Mari. It was a more vulnerable side that felt real and filled with hope, admiration, and the understanding that love/attraction/happiness is possible and something she’d want one day. This vulnerable side of her brought her to life in an unexpected way and made me invested in her journey.

It also made her stronger. It’s a delicate balance to let yourself feel this hope, fight for your home, and contain your anger when your dad hasn’t been taken to dialysis because you’re brother is getting it on with that whitina puta that just came back into the neighborhood. But somehow, Mari does it.

Mari is on the cusp of doing something brilliant, life changing, for herself and for her neighborhood. I can feel it in the writing and I can feel it in the acting from Chelsea Rendon. And I can feel it in her love for her neighborhood, tradition, and the life she’s proud of as a Latina in LA.

Vida airs Sundays at 8:30 p.m. on Starz.

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