Netflix Defends Cuties Amid Controversy Over 'Sexualisation' Of Young Girls
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Netflix has defended its decision to stream Cuties after some viewers called for a boycott of the service. You can watch the trailer here:
The French film was released on the platform on Wednesday, after director Maïmouna Doucouré took home the Directing Award in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition section of the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. However, the film sparked a backlash among viewers who felt it sexualises girls.
The coming-of-age movie tells the story of French-Senegalese 11-year-old girl Amy, who comes from a traditional Muslim upbringing, and her battle to ally this background with modern internet culture after she joins a dance troupe, called the 'Cuties'.
The film is intended as a criticism of 'hyper-sexualised' culture, but many interpreted it as more of a glamorisation, prompting #CancelNetflix to trend on Twitter:
HEY @netflix YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED. DISGUSTING. MY MEMBERSHIP IS CANCELED. #CancelNetflix pic.twitter.com/OCt1j3SrRD
- no_sharam (@buddha143143) September 10, 2020
Are you really sorry @netflix? Then do the right thing and remove this disgusting filth from your library immediately !!!! I'm sorry too.... #CancelNetflix pic.twitter.com/CVEmQRRFDU
- Emil Sayad (@egeek84) September 10, 2020
Making a movie that actually exposes and criticizes the sexual exploitation of children is a great idea. But there is obviously no reason why that movie must include crotch shots of barely clothes 11-year-olds. This should not need to be explained. #CancelNetflix
- Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) September 10, 2020
In a video explaining why she made the movie, Doucouré said it is 'a deeply feminist film with an activist message'.
She said: "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.
"[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? Of course not. Amy will, at the end, realise she can control her own path."
Netflix has also defended the film and encouraged people to watch it.
A spokesperson 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."
The movie has a rating of 88 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and 1.9/10 on IMDb, so you'll probably only be able to reach your own verdict by watching it yourself.
Last month, Netflix apologised for the 'inappropriate artwork' it used to promote the film.