Skip to main content

If Only Eliminating the Social Problems depicted in Cuties were as easy as Canceling Netflix

 I wish people were more upset about the social problem #Cuties depicts, instead of so upset that a movie depicts social problems. It is the sad, disgusting truth that this film reflects REAL LIFE. So instead of writing to Netflix to get it removed from the streaming service, you should be writing to Tik Tok to not accept users under 18, writing to Cardi B and Miley Cyrus to stop teaching young girls these overtly sexual moves, and writing to the clothing companies who design and sell such scantly clothing for children!

If you haven't seen the film Cuties on Netflix yet, go watch it, and then draw your own conclusions. Please, please, do not cancel your Netflix, petition Congress, or rant on Facebook until you have actually seen it. Don't join in the uneducated American public bandwagon that is vilifying first-time film maker Maïmouna Doucouré, making their judgements based upon only having watched the explicit trailer Netflix chose to curate to promote the English translation of this film.

Cuties is a French movie that critiques society’s sexualization of girls. The movie follows an 11-year-old Senegalese girl living in Paris who dreams of joining a local dance clique. She decides to protest her parents’ strict household and join the other girls in dancing their way through competitions, trying to make a name for themselves. 

Yes, the film has some VERY uncomfortable images and scenes in which prepubescent and adolescent girls are dancing provocatively and inappropriately. But the filmmaker is not condoning this behavior! The purpose of such shocking scenes is to provoke serious conversations about a very real problem, the sexualization of girls. Unfortunately, the American public is far more shocked and indignant that Netflix is streaming the film, than upset over the a real social problem that this film innumerates. 

Because of the unfiltered internet, social media, cellphones, and the music industry, our young population is exposed to far more inappropriate content than ever before. Sexual content is being marketed to younger and younger demographics through the music they listen to, videos they watch, and video games they play. Of course it is our jobs as parents and guardians to protect your daughters from mature content they are not ready for, but after being a middle school teacher for 10 years, raising a teenager, and now raising a preteen, I can attest that no matter how hard parents try and police where their children go and what their children do, we cannot protect them from everything and anything, and they will find inappropriate content or be exposed to it whether we like it or not. 

This film is about what happens to kids when their parents aren't physically or emotionally present in their lives. Doesn't anyone remember the film Kids??? (That 1995 low-budget independent film is described on IMBD as "A day in the life of a group of teens as they travel around New York City skating, drinking, smoking, and deflowering virgins." and has a rating of 7.1/10 stars, a stark contrast to Cuties's 2.1/10 stars.) 

The purpose of Cuties is not to provide fodder for pedophiles. Instead, it shines a bright light upon the vain allure of social media platforms and what sexualized mainstream culture teaches children about what behavior is desirable. The characters post provocative dance videos and wear revealing costumes, but “Cuties” doesn’t present their actions as acceptable or laudable. Repeatedly, the movie shows other characters reacting with sadness or disgust when these girls behave inappropriately.

This film has won multiple awards at film festivals this year, and it was widely praised for its depiction of the pressures of girlhood. The controversy around it didn't begin until Netflix got the streaming rights to the film and began promoting it. And attacks on the movie began before people had even seen the film! A crusade against Netflix and the director commenced after commentators had only seen Netlfix's teaser poster and trailer for the film, which is practically false advertising, as the promotion leading up to the American debut of the film paint it as lawful pedophilia with multiple trigger warnings, extremely distressing to many viewers. 

I am in no way trying to make excuses for how explicit the film is at times, but I would like to counter that real life is explicit. The problem is that Netflix chose to market it based on its burlesque secondary plot line, instead of being true to the actual meaning of the story. They marketed it as something raunchy and grotesque, when the truly grotesque aspect is that 11-year-old girls do act like this, and do dance like this, because they have learned from today's society that self-worth is based on how many likes you receive on social media, and the fastest way to earn those likes is by pouting your lips, twerking your hips, and showing some skin. 

If you are passionately against what this film entails, I encourage you to really do something about it. Canceling Netflix is not going to stop the social problem of over-sexualizing young girls. We need to go to the source of where they are being exposed to sexuality so young, and as a society make the conscious effort and conscious choices to eliminate those bad influences and help our little girls enjoy life as just little girls for as long as possible. 


Popular posts from this blog

Why We Don't Celebrate El Dia de los Muertos, either

El Dia de los Muertos, (The Day of the Dead) is often considered the Latin-American equivalent to Halloween, as it is a celebration that takes place every year on November 1st and 2nd throughout Latin America. But it actually has nothing to do with Halloween, and even pre-dates the Celtic Samhain, which is where our modern-day Halloween traditions come from.  The ancient indigenous Aztec people of Mexico celebrated the lives of past ancestors 3,000 years ago, and that month-long ritual was condensed into just a few days around the 20th century and is now known as the Day of the Dead. Today,  El Dia doe los Muertos is a time for Latinos to remember their dead loved ones and celebrate them, for it is believed that the souls of all people that have passed away return to Earth to check up on their families during this day.  But up until last night, I didn't believe El Dia de los Muertos was celebrated in Guatemala. Growing up in California with many Mexican-American friends, I was fami

Is 5 Little Monkeys Racist?

I’ve seen a lot of Tik Toks debunking children’s nursery rhymes lately. I have two toddlers, so now whenever I hear one of those rhymes, I think about their unsavory origins. But my son loves, loves Five Little Monkeys. He’s just learning to talk, and can almost say it by himself. I’ve thought about telling him to stop singing it since I learned in the original lyrics it’s not monkeys jumping on the bed, but he just gets so much joy from singing it as he jumps up and falls down, I thought... no harm, no foul, right? As long as he thinks the song is about monkeys, it’s ok.  Until my niece came over one day, and the three toddlers were playing on an old mattress we have on the living room floor for them to jump around on. My son asked me to sing 5 Little Monkeys. At first it was cute, because they literally were jumping on the bed, but then I took a good look at the three of them.  My kids are half-Guatemalan but very fair, like I am. Whereas my niece is half-black, and her skin happens

Why my Children Won't Believe in Santa Claus

Tonight all across the world, children are waiting for Santa with bated breath. They've made lists of wants and perhaps written letters addressed to the North Pole, baked cookies, set out milk, and dream of sugar plums dancing in their heads. But not my children. Well, maybe the dreaming of sugar plums part, but definitely not the white beard, chubby and plump right jolly old elf part. Even before my two biological children were born, my husband and I made the decision to not deceive them with the narrative of Santa, and in fact, not give them any gifts at all on Christmas. Intrigued? Infuriated? Here's why... My husband is from Guatemala and was raised Jehovah Witness , and one of the tenants of that faith is a strict adherence to not celebrating anything here on earth. This includes not celebrating Christmas or birthdays , and not giving gifts to commemorate these days. While he isn't a practicing Witness right now (instead we attend Celebration International Church