I never thought that my HuffPost blog, "Eva Longoria's Devious Maids is a Wasted Opportunity," would ever create the buzz that it did. But I'm extremely glad that it did. Whether you agree with me or not, the post helped to facilitate the conversation regarding the representation of Latinas/os in mainstream media. Some participants in the fast-growing conversation believe that the show is just a show and that the roles are just roles. Others, however, believe that the show -- and the actresses involved -- have a responsibility to represent the diversity present within our culture.
I belong to the latter group -- obviously.
However, rather than continue to beat an issue into the ground, I propose that we recognize each other's views, respect them and show just as much interest in other Latino-produced, directed and starring projects.
While we've been arguing semantics regarding my use of the term "wasted opportunity" and Devious Maids' use of the word "devious" in its title, popular Chica Lit author Alisa Valdes has been working on producing a big-screen adaptation of her wildly popular The Dirty Girls Social Club book series.
With more than 700,000 copies of The Dirty Girls Social Club books sold in the United States, the book series has been optioned as a television show and movie several times over. But alas, the Dirty Girls -- or Las Sucias, as the characters call themselves -- never made it onto the big (or small) screen because Alisa continued to fight against producers who insisted on giving the project the Devious Maids treatment -- that is to say that television and film studios have attempted to turn Valdes' six diverse characters into six stereotypical caricatures.
As part of her new Kickstarter campaign, launched on May 31, 2013, Alisa features a video that addresses her struggle to have her book successfully adapted into a movie. Part tongue-in-cheek parody, part social commentary, and part call for action, the video simultaneously points out Hollywood's mishandling of an excellent opportunity to diversify pop culture's image of Latinas and gives viewers the opportunity to contribute to the remedy, as investors in the project.
In her response to my original post about Devious Maids, Eva Longoria argues that the show is an excellent opportunity for Latinas, as it provides five Latina actresses starring roles on a mainstream, English-language television show. Fair enough. However, if that's enough for someone to get behind a project, regardless of how those roles represent Latinas to the world, then they should also get behind Alisa Valdes' project. Alisa's project is written and produced by a Latina, and will provide six Latina actresses with the opportunity to portray diverse characters who range from media moguls to journalists to, yes, even singers.
So no matter what side of the Devious Maids debate you fall on, I encourage you to support Alisa Valdes in her quest to bring six amazing mujeres to life on the big screen!