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Michelle Herrera Mulligan Headshot

Devious Maids Misrepresents Latinas

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Dear Eva,

As the editor-in-chief of Cosmo For Latinas, I chose you as our cover girl because I, like our readers, think you're a badass role model. You were a teenage mechanic and a beauty queen. You were tough when the tabloids could have trashed you, and you were classy when you could have been glib: You said you wanted to support the community and you put your money where your mouth was. In other words, you're a sexy, strong Latina, and we were proud to feature you. But now, as I read your column defending the show you produce, Marc Cherry's Devious Maids, set to premiere on Lifetime on June 23, I need to tell you I'm disappointed. In your response to Tanisha L. Ramirez' blog calling the show a "wasted opportunity," you characterize it as "a deeper, more complex side to the women who live beyond the box that some choose to put them in." Well, Eva, I've watched the show, and I'm genuinely sad to say that I disagree. It's not a complex portrait; it's an insulting disgrace. I believe it does a tremendous disservice to the 20 million-plus Latina female population living in the United States.

A recent survey found that more than 60 percent of respondents thought the term "maid" described Latinos well.

Eva, you would probably say that that's OK, because a lot of Latinas do work in the service industry. Well, that may be true, but this show does them no favors.

Many of my family members have worked as maids, waitresses, factory seamstresses and janitors. I watched my mother come home from jobs where she took orders, cleaned floors, and answered to wealthy women. But here's the difference between them and the women shown: In our house, the priority was finding a better life, whatever it cost. My mother didn't waste her time trying to seduce "el patrón," "gossip about her bosses," or beg for their mentorship. When she left her job, she was a comedian, an art aficionado, and a lover of literature. She took classes and studied books, ours and her own, so that we could all build a better life together. She built mentorship groups and did community service. And she showed me the hustle and self-sufficiency that made me the woman I am today, proving that there were no boundaries to what we could we do. For her, our place in "that house" was to run things, not to wear a uniform.

You told us you lived in a West Hollywood "sorority house" with other powerful women. I can only imagine the conversations that go on at your kitchen table; I'm sure your fans would love to hear about them. What if there were a show about that? Powerful Latina women who run everything from politics to Hollywood? I'm going to have to side with Tanisha Ramirez on this one. This is a wasted opportunity.

Sincerely,
MHM

*The views here expressed are my own, and don't represent Cosmopolitan or the Hearst corporation.

P.S.:

The Five Worst Quotes From Devious Maids
"If you don't stop screwing my husband, I'll have you deported."

"You need to wear this [maid's costume] because those people, in that house, need to be reminded of what we do."

"I love waiting on you. I'm eager to learn how to cook you French toast."

"I was seduced, repeatedly. She's the most exhilarating woman I'll ever know!"

"I am not designed to be alone."