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Response to Eva Longoria's 'Devious Maids' From Cosmo Editor Who's Seen It

by Vanessa Martinez
May 10, 2013 2:21 PM
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Devious Maids
Since we last posted the promo trailer on the site for the upcoming Lifetime series, there has been more backlash against the Eva Longoria-produced TV show Devious Maids, directed by Desperate Housewives' Marc Cherry, and starring Dania Ramirez, Ana Ortiz, Roselyn Sanchez, Edy Ganem, Judy Reyes and

Susan Lucci.

If you haven't been following any of it, apparently The Huffington Post's Tanisha Ramirez posted an op-ed piece criticizing the show stating it was a "wasted opportunity" and that "the minute-long trailer manages to efficiently portray Latinas as hypersexual, nosy, scheming and, at times, totally invisible domestic servants, one set of pushed-up breasts, devilishly squinted eyes and sassy hair flip at a time. What the trailer doesn’t do, however, is allude to the supposed actual premise of the show."

Exactly! Well, Longoria fired back, you know since Latinas are "fiery" and all; I kid, but the producer penned THIS response in the defense of the show, in which Longoria said the following:

Stereotypes are constructed and perpetuated by those who believe in them. I choose not to. As an executive producer, I choose to break the cycle of ignorance by bringing to light something we have not seen before, a deeper, more complex side to the women who live beyond the box that some choose to put them in. The only way to break a stereotype is to not ignore it. The stereotype we are grappling with here is that as Latinas, all we are is maids. And yet, this is a show that deconstructs the stereotype by showing us that maids are so much more.

To be fair, this is only an excerpt of Longoria's full piece, which you ought to read.

There was yet another response to the show and/or reply to Longoria's latest rebuttal, this time from Cosmo Latina's editor-in-chief Michelle Herrera, who, after seeing the show, poignantly articulated many of the qualms some of us have with it:

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.

By the way, read Herrera's full piece HERE, in which she also adds,

"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?"

Yikes! I can't say I don't agree with Herrera, but I'll refrain on more commentary until I've seen the show, at least the first couple of episodes, which begin on the Lifetime network June 23.

Will you be watching? Thoughts?

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  • ALM | May 24, 2013 9:01 PMReply

    "Stereotypes are constructed and perpetuated by those who believe in them. I choose not to".

    That's great and all, but it doesn't matter whether Longoria subscribes to or believes in stereotypes. As long as those who make decisions and write the large checks subscribe to stereotypes, the battle for more balanced representation for people of color wages on.

    "The stereotype we are grappling with here is that as Latinas, all we are is maids. And yet, this is a show that deconstructs the stereotype by showing us that maids are so much more".

    If your point is that Latinas are more than just domestic help, wouldn't it have been a better idea to make the Latinas on the show everything EXCEPT FOR maids?

    How about engineers? lawyers? professors? There are Latinas in all three of those fields. I know, because I met these women while I attended college.

  • pat | May 23, 2013 7:22 PMReply

    Well to start off eva longoria and most likely those on the show are going to defend it, because it would look stupid to not, when you are apart of the cast. Secondly, ignoring a stereotype or facing it head first when it's pertaining to your racial group doesn't always go as planned. Spike Lee addressed the light, dark stereotype in school daze, which was good, but then Don Imus used the negativity portrayed in the movie, as a reference for females basketball players. Maybe living inside of the Hollywood bubble, has everyone thinking differently,but everyone is not going to see the positive side of this. Somewhere down the line when she is randomly having a conversation with someone who is not latino, and they blurt out oh eva you are such a devious maid, will she ignore it, or address it .

  • Mia | May 12, 2013 3:07 PMReply

    I'll pass
    I haven't watched lifetime since they canceled Blood Ties...

  • Skater Boy | May 12, 2013 12:33 PMReply

    Well, I think Devious Maids really has nothing to do with ethnicity. Stupidly Marc Cherry didn't think just to use all sorts of races for the maids - just replace 3 or 3 of them with some caucasion, Black African American, Jewish and Asian ladies It is about people working as maids and well really entertainment oriented - for fun and even some comedy it was never meant to be cerebral or to change the world other than make fun of human nature regardless of class, race, religion or even gender. Not everything is a political statement - it is entertainment!

  • Miles Ellison | May 11, 2013 6:12 PMReply

    Lifetime is all about perpetuating and creating stereotypes. If this show is as progressive as Longoria says it is, it won't be on long. Since Lifetime greenlighted it, it's probably more of the same crap.

  • ALM | May 24, 2013 9:04 PM

    Miles boiled Lifetime down to 8 bullet points. This is exactly why I watch very little Lifetime.

    If it weren't for "Project Runway" and "Will and Grace" reruns, Lifetime would almost never have my attention.

  • Miles Ellison | May 12, 2013 1:44 PM

    1) Misogynist sociopaths with a hankering for domestic violence and statutory rape.
    2) Lonely women who fall for #1.
    3) Teenage female temptresses.
    4) Childless baby-stealing female psychopaths.
    5) Female teachers who seduce minors.
    6) Girls who hate their mothers and become teen prostitutes.
    7) Thieving bigamist con men.
    8) Frat boys who love date rape and AIDS jokes.

  • lilkunta | May 11, 2013 7:04 PM

    miles: you confuse lifetime with BET Black Exploitation TV and MTV and VH1.
    What stereotype has lifetime perpetuated ?

  • Charles Judson | May 11, 2013 12:19 PMReply

    I can't take seriously commentary based on a one-minute teaser trailer or a post that ends with five lines of dialogue for which I'm offered no context. Herrera expends more energy filtering the show through her personal experience than she does analyzing the show itself.

    These are opinion pieces. Valid pieces that no one need permission to write.

    It's understood that these are in part motivated less by the show and more by the comments of the creators and talent involved. It's also understood that these shows exist in a society in which race, ethnicity, class and profession are coupled in troubling, often dangerous, ways.

    However, these pieces are by no means credible critiques. That would require someone having watched the show and watched enough of it to systematically dismantle it with rigor. As it stands now, these posts are recycled, superficial blather. It's critical thought set to auto-pilot, not reasoned analysis of a tangible property that's seen the light of day.

    Let's dig into this show when it's three or four episodes in. Not when it exists in the public space as a few digital one sheets and a teaser trailer.

  • BluTopaz | May 11, 2013 1:59 PM

    As Ramirez stated above: "What the trailer doesn’t do, however, is allude to the supposed actual premise of the show."

    A well edited trailer is like a good synopsis of a book: Would you read a book you're not familiar with based on a few blurbs like : "She turned on her 5" Manolo Blahniks and sashayed down the hall to pick up the broom and dustpan that were waiting for her", "when Mr. so and so walked past they exchanged knowing glances while pushing up their bras even higher", etc. when there is nothing else indicating what's going on? Like a plot?

    Ramirez and Herrara are not pretending to be critics so they are not required to provide in depth analysis of a trailer. But since they are Latinas who are well established and respected in corporate media they are fortunate to have a platform to express their concerns about yet another show/movie/etc. that depicts them all in a certain manner. But I get what you are saying about Ms. Herrara filtering the trailer solely through her own experiences. Her mother's experiences would make a very interesting character, but maybe for a different type of show than this pop junk food stuff.

    Many people said the same about critics of The Help--that we needed to see the movie to fully appreciate it. And surprise--just like the book, a story about the relationships between White and Black southern women during the civil rights era centered on the plucky White girl who loooooved her maids so much and fried chicken jokes and happy fat Black maids loving up on white children. Shocker.

    There is too much content out here to spend time watching 3 or 4 episodes of a show to see if it's crappy as the trailer. I don't know who the target audience is, I'm not even Latina so there may be a market for this type of show, like a guilty pleasure to watch beautiful actresses. Nothing wrong with that. The producers have every right to make this any way they want. But people like Longoria could just own up to the cheap pandering she's doing to make a quick buck, and not insult her critics with the 'we are deconstructing stereotypical images" bs. If that was the case they could have shown that in the trailer, instead of a commercial for little black dresses and designer shoes. Don't piss on smart folks and tell them it's raining.

  • Nadia | May 11, 2013 9:29 AMReply

    And I just read Tambay's piece on Deggans and stereotypes and how they are incomplete. Eva needs to read that and watch Chimamanda Adichie's Danger of a Single Story. So this continues to perpertuate the most popular stereotypes of Latinas in American TV. You're either the sexy bombshell like Sofia Vergara or the maid like the women in this show, or you're both. The sexy bombshell maid. The only good thing that can happen here is if the ratings are low and it's canceled. Someone needs to look into Lifetime's programming decisions because it seems like they are trying to draw a wider audience by appealing to black women with all those movies recently and now Latinos. Although would Latinos watch this or is it more for white women?

  • lilkunta | May 11, 2013 7:01 PM

    nadia: HOW is Lifetime trying to appeal to AfrAm ladies? They have had THREE movies: Taken From Me: The Tiffany Rubin Story; the afrAm version of "Steel Magnolias " and "Abducted:The Carlina White Story". honestly, tiffany rubin and carlina white just happened to be afrAm. I think lifetime was drawn to the stories of the strong ladies, not tiffany or carlina's ethnicity.

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