Over several weeks I have read the backlash surrounding the new show on Lifetime, Devious Maids. The Latino community is in constant search of representation in the mainstream. We all want to see a familiar looking person on our small screen, big screen, hear them through our headphones on our iPods. So what is the issue with a show starring five Latinas? There is none.
I have read the blogs and the tweets, and I have seen the first episode for myself, and in full disclosure this is my (one Latina’s) opinion. It is selfish to use the voice of the whole Latino community to crucify a show’s existence, which is why I am expressing this blog as solely my opinion.
The biggest issue seems to be the occupation that was given to the Latina stars of the new series, maids. First, let me state that by being so ‘outraged’ by the fact that a career in service is what has been chosen as their occupation, is demonstrating in fact that there is something wrong with being a maid. But enter an affluent neighborhood, and tell me that there are no service people keeping the homes in pristine conditions. Being a maid es un trabajo de servicio, and many of us hold service jobs, I have held plenty of them myself. It is disrespectful to those who have chosen a field of service, to think that basing a series around that occupation is beneath us. Secondly, I would like to be clear, that as a Latina, I am aware that many Latinas and Latinos are hard-working people, many times in the service fields. I do not choose to be arrogant to the realities of our community. Sure there are other races, ethnicities that hold the same occupation, but for this series, Latinas were chosen, and I for one am delighted to see a series centered around Latinas, their relationships, their truths and their lies, their joys and their pains, and the passion that drives their motives.
The frustration that has caused controversy with Devious Maids is rooted in the lack of Latino presence on the small screen. This is the first show where we see a cast with a Latina filling every main role, and this is why it is being held on this pedestal. We ask for more Latinas/Latinos on TV, but then we judge the content that is offered to us. I agree with Eva Longoria, the producer of the new series, when she states the claim that this is television, and if we lack viewership for a series based on Latinas, then we are not helping grow Latino-based programming.
So I propose that we remove ourselves from excessive judgment of a television show, and just enjoy it for what it is, a source of entertainment. And let’s not discourage the Latina actresses and producer who have worked hard to grant us this series, let’s encourage their orgullo for their work. This could be the start of a string of shows con tremendas Latinas!