Maid is one of the latest hits from Netflix. For anyone who’s suffered abuse, the beginning of this show may well be familiar. We see a young woman, getting up in the middle of the night trying not to wake her partner. She then picks up her daughter in her arms, places her in the back seat of the car, and drives off.
It’s hard not to feel deep empathy for the protagonist of this series. Poverty, love for children, the complexity of relationships based on abuse, and the problems of those who are in need of state aid all come together to make this powerful and realistic series.
Interestingly, the series is based on Stephanie Land’s autobiographical book. Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive. Hers is an inspiring story in which mental illness, addictions, class differences, love in all its forms, and self-improvement are combined.
Unlike the vast majority of these kinds of stories, this one has a happy ending. Indeed, her dreams come true.
“Nobody can take writing away from you. Nobody can tell you that you’re wrong or that your words are wrong.”
Maid a social portrait of mistreatment and job insecurity
Despite the fact that The Squid Game has had a greater social impact, it should be noted that the series, Maid has also been seen by millions of viewers. The story is completely different from the former, and its sensibilities and even the social portrait that it shows us, although diametrically opposite, is an excellent exercise in reflection.
Stephanie Land is the writer behind this true story. A woman who decided one day to blog about her experiences. She was a young woman with a small daughter who was trying to get on in life. She worked as a cleaner and had to deal with disputes with her ex-partner on a daily basis. Her testimony captured thousands of followers every week.
One day, The New York Times suggested that she write about her life in a book. Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive became a bestseller. As with many successful books, it wasn’t long before it moved to the small screen. Netflix bought the rights and actress, Margot Robbie, was the producer.
Invisible realities: poverty, loneliness, and bureaucracy
The protagonist of the series is Alex, wonderfully portrayed by Margaret Qualley. This 25-year-old actress represents the infinite number of women who, faced with hopeless situations, discover that those in their support network don’t do as they should. In fact, she discovers that her friends aren’t really friends and her mother (Andie MacDowell) is unstable, narcissistic, and with obvious mental problems.
The only recourse she has left is to ask for government help. However, she finds herself faced with a cold-hearted and convoluted bureaucracy. For example, to get a subsidized house, you must have a job, but first, you need a nursery for your daughter. However, you can’t get a nursery school place if you’re not already in a job.
The story starts when she gets her job as a cleaner. Then, we start to see the portrait of precariousness and class difference. Because women who clean houses are invisible figures in the eyes of others. However, they’re also witnesses to the hidden dramas in those luxurious residences, where loneliness, heartbreak, and illness occur, just like anywhere else.
Maid is the story of the perseverance of an abused and lonely mother in search of her dreams.
The abuse that we don’t see destroys lives
In Maid, we see an unpleasant reality. It’s the fact that the most common and corrosive abuse is the one that doesn’t leave a mark on the skin. Furthermore, many of these kinds of relationships are based on cyclical patterns in which the victims can’t always escape from their partners. They escape, return, flee, and return to the abuser.
Moreover, many times, as is the case with the protagonist in this series, they’re not even aware that they’re being mistreated. Sean, Alex’s partner, is a young alcoholic who carries with him the weight of a traumatic childhood and has precarious jobs.
He doesn’t ever physically assault Alex or her daughter. However, violence is exercised through shouting, threats, contempt, and the desire to isolate and emotionally control her. Although Alex is initially inclined to downplay his behavior, in the end, she becomes aware of the need to flee from him. Also, to fight for the custody of her daughter.
Maid and the support between women
In the series, we not only meet a young woman who fights against poverty, bureaucracy, the legal system, and generational trauma, in the guise of a mother with mental problems and a father with an alcoholic and violent past. In fact, we see a woman who finally finds support alongside other women who’ve been through the same thing. Different names but the same stories, and a healing bond unites them.
In this series, we also discover that, sometimes, success is only one step away from poverty, and that step is perseverance. Indeed, as in all the best fairy tales, the girl who cleaned houses and aspired to become a writer achieves her dream.
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