People Are Asking On Twitter: Why Isn’t the Protagonist of the Netflix Miniseries ‘Maid’ a Woman Of Color?
As of this writing, “Maid,” the new miniseries that follows the life of a white single mother as she struggles to support her daughter while working as a housekeeper, is charting as the third-highest watched show on Netflix. The miniseries is earning rave reviews, garnering an impressive 96% on Rotten Tomatoes. Critics are praising the acting and the writing, calling the show “undeniably powerful.”
While “Maid” is indeed shining a light on a profession that is so often mocked and belittled, something about its choice of protagonist rings hollow.
In a country where 65% of house cleaners are Latinas, it can’t go without remarking upon that “Maid” centers on a housekeeper who is a white woman.
As entertainment website “The Wrap” summed up in the first paragraph of their review of “Maid”: “It should be mentioned up top that a series about a young and poor white mother who turns to housekeeping to provide a life for her and her small child is an awkward choice when there are myriad young female domestic workers of color, some without legal citizenship documents, whose urgent stories often go untold.”
We should be talking about the fact that the story of Alex was the one that captured the nation’s attention enough to become a New York Times best-selling memoir. We can’t help but ask ourselves: Would “Maid” have gone on to the success that it did if the protagonist was Latina?
As we’ve covered before at mitú, domestic workers are often looked down upon because of the stigma that surrounds cleaning other people’s messes.
Despite doing honest work, some people view domestic work as undignified. In the U.S., there is undoubtedly a racial component to this stigma. When maids are so often Black and Brown folks (and have been for a while), the belittling of the profession is undoubtedly wrapped up in the racial politics of America.
The fact that the main protagonist of “Maid” is a white woman hasn’t gone over the heads of the show’s viewers. Since its premiere, viewers have taken to social media to discuss the blind spot of “Maid”.
Here is a roundup of the most interesting Tweets about “Maid”:
The point is, there are thousands of people who work as maids, housekeepers, janitors, etc., most of whom are Black or brown. It’s interesting, then, that the voices from that field are elevated–in publishing, with a Netflix deal, etc.–it’s from a white woman.— Cate Eland (@RomancingNope) October 7, 2021
I really thought about that when I say ‘Maid’ pop up on netflix. Like people want to see the experience of a maid, but through the eyes of a white person with ‘higher aspirations’ who ‘deserves more.’ Not that I don’t feel for this girl, but it’s not a new story.— sphinx told me 🇵🇸 (@IndiciaObscure) October 7, 2021
Of course, not all Twitter’s opinions were strictly negative…
So, what do you think? Would “Maid” have been greenlit if the protagonist was a woman of color?
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