FORGET “DEVIOUS MAIDS” THE GLASS CEILING IS MUCH MORE COMPLICATED FOR LATINAS.
“Devious Maids” seems to have captured the attention, or rather ire, of most of the people I know. There’s all kinds of pieces that have been written about it, the show’s presentation of Latina stereotypes as positive representations, about Eva “Mexican bike cop” Longoria’s responsibility to know better as a recent Chicano Studies graduate, about how far Latinos have come in the entertainment industry if the only thing that calls for their casting is immigration and stereotypical service jobs.
But me, I’m too busy fighting real-life Latina stereotypes to care much what a gay white man’s fantasies about what Latinas should be doing as maids, or housewives, or whatever he fancies we do.
While Marc Cherry controls the narrative of what Latinas get to be on TV, me and my Latina friends who are hitting our professional prime are having to combat assumptions about what we can and cannot do, our we can and cannot control our tempers, how sexual we are, whether or not we should be fetching coffee and wondering whether we’ll be able to break through the glass ceiling that nobody told me about when I was at Stanford University.
It’s nice that Cherry, and the people defending his use of stereotypes to make money, get to skate on top of ideas that don’t really affect them. They get to speak in pure hypotheticals about what Latino and Latina consumers do, and do not, want to see on TV and don’t have to deal with the repercussions.
They also don’t have to deal with these things in real life, where there are no punchlines , applause or repartee that will settle the sexism or racism that prevents me and my friends from being as successful as we could be if we were treated to the same privilege as someone, say, like Marc Cherry.
So, as far as the show “Devious Maids,” from what I understand it’s just not a good show, so probably won’t last. I feel for the Latina actresses most, who will be out of work when it’s cancelled and have a hard time finding a steady gig outside of playing maids, immigrants or sex kittens. But it will go away, and inevitably, be replaced by something just as bad.
Me and my friends, however, will have to deal with stereotypes affecting our income, professional progress, and general opportunities whether or not the show is on TV. You can’t cancel mistaken cultural assumptions as easily as you can bad programming. If you ask me, that’s more devious than anything else.
Copyright 2013 by Sara Inés Calderón