I got hooked on Devious Maidswhen it premiered last year a for good reason: I was excited to see so many Latina actresses in their 30s and 40s engaging issues of race, class, and gender within the soap opera formula. As part of the Lifetime Network brand, I didn’t expect deep and subtle storytelling, I expected fun, sexy, romantic, sentimental and overly dramatic camp. And I got it. While there was much to like about the women in the initial episodes, I became quickly disillusioned with the show.
If the glossy pages of my elementary school history books had told me stories like that of Grace Lee Boggs, I would have paid more attention. Like me, Boggs is Asian-American who was born to immigrant parents—if I’d learned her story growing up, I might have felt invested in our country’s history instead of feeling disenchanted by it.
When a screenwriter-turned-director snags numerous Oscar nods in one year alone, it’s not surprising that they'll try to sweep the Academy Awards with ambitious films again and again. But when that director is Paul Haggis—the white guy famous for his deeply problematic and dubiously dubbed“progressive” film on racism Crash (2004)—each continued effort is heartily dreaded. Haggis has had plenty more commercial success with films like Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace, but his latest attempt, Third Person, likely won’t even be able say that much.
Anyone who grew up with an Arab father knows how tyrannical Middle Eastern men can be: they talk louder than anyone else in the room, make inappropriate jokes at the dinner table, and their flatulence will clear a room with after eating too much lamb (but only after all the guests have left). That’s my dad, at least.
This article was co-written by Adriana Maestas and Maegan E. Ortiz.
A basic principle of American democracy is representation. Our country is built on the premise that an elected government represents the way its citizens look, think, and act. It’s an important principle. “When people have the personal experience, when they look like you and talk like you, they are more likely to represent you. They have same cultural experiences or have faced the same situation,” says Jessica González-Rojas, Executive Director National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health.
But we all know it doesn’t actually work this way.
“May all beings be happy,” is a Buddhist incantation that has always moved me. Unfortunately, with his recent comments, recording artist Pharrell Williams seems to be saying,“I, as a wealthy male celebrity, am happy. The rest of you are on your own.”
As a child, Sheila Bapat watched her mom do all the housework. Abroad, visiting family in India, she saw her female relatives do the same. Over at her friends' houses, she observed their moms take care of all things domestic as well—politicizing Sheila from an early age to see the relationship between gender, justice, and domestic work. In her new book, Part of the Family? Nannies, Housekeepers, Caregivers and the Battle for Domestic Workers' Rights (Ig Publishing), Sheila has studied these relationships and the workers on the forefront of demanding justice.