Cuties revolves around the story of an 11-year-old Senegalese girl who lives in Paris, named Amy, who secretly joins a dance group with which she becomes fascinated. The film found itself accused of ‘sexualizing little girls’, with some Netflix users threatening to cancel their subscription to the streaming site and others petitioning for the coming-of-age movie to be scrapped.
The film won the directing jury award at the Sundance Film Festival this year and had received favorable reviews from critics, however as news of its release on Netflix surfaced, it was heavily criticized and bashed, taken as promoting pedophilia.
While the creators stance is different than what the general public is assuming just by reading social media posts and unexaminined twitter posts. People are calling it sexualizing young girls, but in fact, the film is against sexualizing young girls.
However, it cannot be denied that viewers were left stunned as they saw the dance moves such as twerking that the girls are seen doing in the film, but Netflix supported the movie – directed by Maïmouna Doucouré and named Mignonnes in France – maintaining it is a ‘social critique against sexualizationn of young children.
Netflix has urged viewers to watch the film first before judging it, it said:
“Cuties is a social commentary against the sexualisation of young children.It’s an award-winning film and a powerful story about the pressure young girls face on social media and from society more generally growing up – and we’d encourage anyone who cares about these important issues to watch the movie.”
According to The Hollywood Reporter Search Engine, which runs details on films debuting on digital platforms in the midst of coronavirus, conducted a poll on Cuties, , to see if audiences agreed with the criticism it got. While 72% of viewers said they thought that after seeing Cuties, the debate was ‘overblown,’ 48% ‘strongly agreed’ that the movie should not be on Netflix.
Writer and director Doucouré further clarified about the film saying,
Our girls see that the more a woman is sexualised on social media, the more she’s successful. ‘And the children just imitate what they see, trying to achieve the same result without understanding the meaning. And yeah, it’s dangerous,’ she said in a six-minute long video. [Amy] believes she can find her freedom through that group of dancers and their hyper-sexualisation. But is that really true freedom? Especially when you are a kid?’
Doucouré questioned. ‘Of course not. Amy will, at the end, realise she can control her own path.’