Monday, October 24, 2011

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

Photo of Telenovela Cast
 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 with Devious 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

"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. "

Photo Courtesy: Wikipedia
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 Housewives, Modern Family, Law and Order and 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 to

Rebecca Aguilar is the founder of Wise Latinas Linked; a social networking group on Facebook and Linkedin.


  1. Garbage that perpetuates the stereotype which I will NOT be tuning in to watch.

  2. Im convinced that the only reason they continue to write this stories is because they fear our power. We are growing fast and furiously. This is a joke but Im getting even :)

  3. This is what I wrote to ABC:
    I recently learned about your upcoming show "Devious Maids" and am bothered and disappointed with ABC for helping to enforce this stereotype towards Latinas. For years, Latinos have played the roles of house maids or gardeners, but we are more than that. Please take responsibility and do something before this show hits the air waves. These types of roles should be written by someone who has the sensitivity and understanding to do so and not for laughs and giggles!


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