Michelle Herrera Mulligan is the editor-in-chief of Cosmo for Latinas and in a letter that was published yesterday in the HuffPost where she expresses her own personal opinions (and not Cosmo’s or the Hearst Corporation’s) about “Devious Maids,” the new Marc Cherry/Eva Longoria show that will premiere in June on Lifetime, Herrera Mulligan was highly critical of the show, at one point calling it “an insulting disgrace” that “does a tremendous disservice to the 20 million-plus Latina female population living in the United States.”
Herrera Mulligan’s letter starts by saying that Longoria is greatly admired among U.S. Latinas, and her “badass” attitude and upbringing were some of the reasons why Longoria has already graced the cover of Cosmo for Latinas. However, in response to a defense of the show that Longoria wrote in the HuffPost, which was in a response to another HuffPost piece by Tanisha L. Ramirez about why she thought the show was a “wasted opportunity,” Herrara Mulligan, who writes that she has seen the show already, in the end sides with Ramirez.
As her letter concludes:
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.
Issues like these matter. We applaud Herrera Mulligan in using her voice to share her opinions about this show. We can only imagine how difficult it is to share such an opinion publicly, but we are glad that she did. In light of this letter, we asked this question before, and we will ask it again: Do Latin@s have to support Latin@-produced shows because they made the mainstream, or can we as consumers of media express our concerns and demand we do better? Do we have to settle for a show with five Latina leads who play maids, or can we demand better? We side on the “demand better” position and apparently so do many others.