Cuties is causing quite a ruckus on social media with many people stating that the French film featuring an all-girls dance troupe of 12-year-olds is inappropriate and problematic. While the subject matter touches on real experiences from director Maïmouna Doucouré's own life, there are throngs of individuals who believe that the film is fodder for pedophiles, and there are tons of folks who are now calling to boycott Netflix for putting the 2020 film on its platform.
The 2020 boycott of Netflix has a lot to do with the U.S. marketing materials in 'Cuties.'
The French PR behind the film depicted more innocuous imagery, featuring the girls fully clothed walking the streets of Paris. From the French movie poster, it seems like the film has a lot more to do with friendship than it does a bunch of girls wearing skimpy outfits and performing provocative moves as part of a dance troupe.
It is so revealing that the first major @netflix original to centre young Black girls hinges on explicitly sexualising 11 year old children. Whether it’s acting or music, a sexualised image is too often the price of mainstream success for Black women & girls. Disgraceful. pic.twitter.com/18ItsgIZLb— Sister Outrider (@ClaireShrugged) August 20, 2020
People are also pointing out how the Netflix marketing material for Cuties is problematic in other ways, too. The fact that 14-year-old actress Fathia Youssouf is front and center in a sexualized pose, some have said, is yet another instance of the sexualization of young Black women in order to help sell a product.
There are countless stories @netflix could have chosen to tell about young girls going on adventures, supporting one another, and being children. But with Cuties @netflix teaches girls to view themselves as sex objects. And that’s not remotely acceptable.— Sister Outrider (@ClaireShrugged) August 20, 2020
The way @netflix handled Stranger Things made me hopeful that they’d produce more films and shows where children could simply be children. But their sexualised promotion of Cuties makes it clear that the innocence of childhood is reserved for majority white productions.— Sister Outrider (@ClaireShrugged) August 20, 2020
The fervor surrounding the collective disgust people have had for the film has resulted in throngs of people calling to boycott the streaming giant and suspend their accounts until the movie is removed.
A now viral tweet that's being shared on Twitter also lists scenes that were reportedly deleted from the film in order to make it more palatable for audiences.
The removed scenes show the young girls twerking for two male security guards to allow them to go to their dance competition, scenes of them smacking each other's butts and pulling on clothing for their routine, one of the young girls snaps a photo of her genitals and uploads it online, a 5-year-old girl attempts to create an online porn account, another young girl tries to take a photo of a boy's genitals, and a girl blows up a used condom like a balloon. The list is pretty damning.
There’s more:— Leyla (@leyladorothy123) September 10, 2020
⚠️ one of the girls lifts up her crop top to fully display her bare breast
⚠️a girls leather pants are forcefully pulled down to display her panty exposed bum
⚠️a girl watches a rap music video containing naked women performing sex acts
Some are saying that the movie shouldn't be judged too harshly, as the film literally depicts the actual things its director experienced as a Senegalese immigrant in Paris. Others are saying that censoring artistic expression is a fine line, while others are contesting that all of the hatred the director is receiving is a result of racism.
The film is about real-life experiences of the director, Maïmouna Doucouré, growing up as a Senegalese Muslim girl who is caught between traditional values and internet culture.— We Fact-Check Tweets. Facts Are Cool© Be Cool™ (@factsimilie) September 10, 2020
All of the scenes are meant to show how shocking things can be for young girls today.
I agree that these things are disgusting, but do we really want to start censoring artistic expression like this? As long as these things aren't actually shown on film but rather happening off screen, we should think twice before censoring them.— Robert Palmer (@RobertP29345993) September 10, 2020
Others are saying that there are even more examples of real-world sexualization of teens going on and not just in cinema, and pointed to popular social media platform TikTok encouraging young girls to dance provocatively in revealing clothing. In fact, TikTok has been slammed as a "pedophile den" in the past.
Why are you not more mad about the real life oversexualizing of preteens? The whole point of the film is that there are dance competitions, pageants, Tiktok, etc that encourage young girls to perform this way. Why are you mad at something that's trying to bring attention to it?— Hannah (@OfficialWowbao) September 10, 2020
Others couldn't believe that the young actresses' families signed off on allowing them to actually be in the movie.
But there are also several people saying that the problem of sexualizing the young girls is actually addressed in the film.
Netflix just showing everyone. What's been going on in Hollyweird for decades. This is just disgusting. The parents of these children need to be locked up to. For letting their children play these roles.— M.B 🦁 LEO (@marioblove) September 10, 2020
Y’all should be mad at the parents who would allow their kids to be in this— Brian O’Conner (@Rowil86) September 10, 2020
Netflix responds to "cancel" threats by changing its marketing materials for the movie.
The streaming giant stated that they were "deeply sorry for the inappropriate artwork that [was] used for Mignonnes/Cuties. It was not OK, nor was it representative of this French film which won an award at Sundance. We've now updated the pictures and description."
We're deeply sorry for the inappropriate artwork that we used for Mignonnes/Cuties. It was not OK, nor was it representative of this French film which won an award at Sundance. We’ve now updated the pictures and description.— Netflix (@netflix) August 20, 2020
There are still several people who want to see the movie canceled and are rallying to boycott Netflix, however, there are plenty more folks on Twitter who are calling for real-life dance competitions and beauty pageants to be canceled as well.