Feeding into Stereotypes: ABC’s New Show on Latina Maids

From WiseLatinasLinked

Just when you thought you’ve seen everything on television that stereotypes Latinas; here comes another TV show that is going to top the list. ABC is coming out withDevious Maids.  Now take a wild guess on who gets to play the maids? Well of course—Latinas.  Oh and they’re not going to be working in some kind of Midwest, middle class town. It has to be Beverly Hills.

According to a report in Deadline.com:

“Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry has set up a new hour long soap at ABC. Titled Devious Maids, it is an adaptation of the Mexican telenovela The Disorderly Maids Of The Neighborhood. ”  Cherry is the same guy who wrote the interesting role of “Gabby” for Eva Longoria on Desperate Housewives.  Maybe that makes him think he’s got the inside take on Latinas. I don’t know. But he’ll be writing the scripts for Devious Maids and ABC will produce the show.  The actresses who land the roles for the show will be playing housekeepers: Silvia, Maribel, Adela, Guillermina and Carmela.  I’m just bothered that they have to be housekeepers. Why not Latina attorneys? How about Latina surgeons, reporters or school teachers? They can be funny too.

Latinas Don’t Get the Main Parts

Other than The George Lopez Show; when have Latinos been the major players in a television show? Sure they’re included in a cast of major players like in Desperate HousewivesModern Family, Law and Orderand a few others shows. But this time Latinas will be the main characters, and I think it’s important to put them in a good light.

How much do you bet that Cherry will have some or all of them with accents, speaking Spanglish or having at least one do the rapid “Spanish chatter” that is so cliche on television.

I hope if he has a writing team that at least a few are Latinas. Maybe they can try to keep it real. It’s scary to think  just one white guy is writing the script.

The Shows Name Sets the Tone
I also have a problem with the name of the show “Devious Maids.” OK it’s bad enough that ABC and Cherry are making the characters Latina housekeepers on national television; but now they’re labeled “devious.”  Webster Dictionary defines devious as deceptive and cunning. So these maids are already being characterized “shady” just by the name of the show.

Big Hit or Big Flop
Every network is looking for the next big hit show. Cherry is too after stepping down from his leadership role at Desperate Housewives. He’s got a good track record at ABC, so the network probably gave him the green light to do what he wants.

The show isn’t out yet, but the name and storyline have set the tone. Cheap shot! Sure it’s comedy or maybe dramedy (drama + comedy) and we’re supposed to laugh about it. Isn’t ABC or Cherry reading the news? There is an attack on Latino immigrants in the U.S. Many are in the housekeeping industry. Latina maids themselves are underpaid, over worked and at times abused. That’s not funny.

What Latinas Are Saying
Many Latinas on Facebook are already disgusted and disappointed with ABC. Here are just a few comments on our Wise Latinas Linked page:

Karen HP– “Of course they have to be maids. I don’t like this stereotype.”

Felicia A.– “ABC should be slapped!”

Annette M.– “Are you kidding!”

Karen S.– “Don’t like it”.

Sandra G.– “Maids???!!! Seriously? Can’t we ever get past this?”

Orietta R.– “Why not have an ensemble including a doctor, a lawyer/judge, teacher,mom, etc…”

Liz C.–“This only enforces the stereotypes Latinas have had in film & TV…..Marc Cherry cannot make money based on the negative portrayal of Latinas.”

Not Off Our Brown Backs
Cherry and ABC could have asked members of Wise Latinas Linked what they thought of show’s concept and title. I’m sure many of us would have given them our honest opinions and even suggestions.  Marc Cherry and ABC, shame on you for taking the easy way out to make money off our brown backs! Now go back and make us Latinas proud!

Comments and questions can be directed tohttp://abc.go.com/site/contact-us


Categories: NGLC Conference

3 replies

  1. Drug lords, maids, sneaky kids robbing people….US television is wearing blinders. Any script for a tv show or movie that portrays Latina/os in a positive light is either ignored, or put on as a token for a few episodes and then cancelled. I keep asking, “Whatever happened to CRISTIADA (the movie)? Whatever happened to RAIN OF GOLD?” and I’ve given up asking “Why won’t anyone read my scripts which have 98% Mexicans in the roles?” because the answer is right there in the question.

  2. Solution? Latina actors have to turn down the parts, plain and simple. But they won’t because they believe someone will get the part anyways and it may as well be them. We have seen the enemy and they are us! (Pogo).

  3. Much ado about nothing… And as for stereotypes, the “outrage” here is stereotypical. Without seeing the actual characters, script, themes and stories, the assumption is that it’s a negative or dishonest portrayal of Latinos because it’s about maids. Are there many Latinas who are maids? Sure. Is being a maid ignoble or something to be shamed of like say…cheating on one’s spouse, stealing from one’s employer or lying about one’s immigration status? Absolutely not. As for Devious, without actually seeing the show, how can anyone make a judgement about whether the characters are morally bankrupt? If it’s lousy it’ll fail. The free market is marvelous that way.

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