Big disclaimer here: I’m speaking as a Latina woman who absolutely hates not just the fake representation that Floriana Lima gives me, but the fact that she has spoken about this fact in a less than sensitive way. I understand Maggie Sawyer is an important character for the LGBT community, and I’m not trying to minimize that in any way. But we can only speak from our point of view, and this is mine.
I don’t want Floriana Lima back on Supergirl. I stopped watching Supergirl because Floriana Lima was on the show. I don’t want to watch a show that cares so little about me, about showing a person of my culture and background with even a tiny bit of respect and authenticity that they’d cast non-latinx actors to play both Maggie and her father.
That’s my truth. And, in the fight for better representation, we should all be listening to each other’s truths.
Supergirl did a good thing with Sanvers, from the beginning, and I waited for the other shoe to drop for an entire year. I remembered the rumblings about Maggie being Latina, and I hoped, prayed, that Supergirl would course-correct once they decided to hire an actress who wasn’t latinx. For a while there, I thought they had. I let myself enjoy the story they were giving me. And then, it happened.
By the time Season 3 came around, despite the fact that I had my fair share of issues with how they wrote Maggie off the show, I was glad she was leaving. I was glad because I couldn’t stand one more second of her butchering Spanish and Carlos Bernard’s horrible Mexican accent. I was glad she was gone because they tried to tell a story about how an entire culture and missed the mark by so much that it made me not just sad, it made me angry.
Floriana Lima is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a Latina. She herself said it, and I will add the tweet here in case you want to come tell me that she’s from Brazil or something. She’s not a Latina, she does not identify as one, and she clearly shouldn’t have been portraying a Mexican.
Italian, Irish, English, Spanish, Portuguese. I’m a mutt 😘
— Floriana Lima (@florianalima) March 1, 2017
Now, did she know from the beginning? Did she go audition for a latinx-coded role, specifically? I don’t know, and I don’t think it matters at this point. She HAS played latinx characters before, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility. But that’s not even integral to my point.
This is not just on her – it’s mostly on the Supergirl writers, casting department and producers. But it does translate to me not wanting her back, ever.
But she’s great representation for the LGBT community, you say.
Yes, she is. And she can be great representation for the LGBT community while still being awful representation for the latinx community, and just because she’s one thing doesn’t mean I can’t call out the other thing.
Even within the good representation that she gave the LGBT community, there’s a caveat, however, how she was positioned within the latinx community and how the show attempted to portray how the latinx community, in general, deals with LGBT issues. Floriana herself talked about this subject, and about how it was a “cultural” thing.
Non latinx writers and non-latinx actors talking about latinx issues that they don’t understand. How …refreshing.
But she “looks” Latina, so what does it matter, you say.
Google is your friend. Use it. Latinx is not a race, it’s an ethnicity. We’re not all the same and there’s not one latinx “look” and to suggest that just because she’s brown (or has a good tan) she’s good representation is not just ignorant, it’s disrespectful.
But she’s just an actress playing a role, this is above her pay grade, you say.
She’s an actress who’s accepted latinx-coded roles before, one who felt the need to comment on issues that were not of her culture, one that repeatedly dismissed fans who expressed their concerns on Twitter, and one who could have – if not rejected latinx coded roles outright, at least taken into account the concerns of the community when confronted with them.
Instead she’s an actress who chose to deflect and ignore, and that makes her, if not the only guilty party in this, anything but an ally.
What brought this on now? Why am I revisiting this story? Well, there have been rumors that Lima is in talks to reprise the role of Maggie, and I’m hard pressed to think of anything that would turn me off more. Supergirl has always been a white feminist show, and for a while, I thought it was enough that it was feminist, and that I could sort of put up with its brand of feminist, because it was better than nothing, but it’s 2018 and I’m sick and tired of it’s better than nothing.
We can do better – by everyone. And, even if we can’t, we can at least listen to other people’s concerns and try. So this is my truth. This is my reality. As a latina, the character of Maggie Sawyer, portrayed by Floriana Lima, is proof that my voice, and my story don’t matter. I’d love for the world to prove that idea wrong – but on the short term – I’ll settle for Supergirl doing it by not bringing her back.
She does not represent me, and no matter what storyline you give her, she never, ever will.