Netflix Movie 'Cuties' Accused Of Sexualizing Children
Steaming giant faces backlash from parents across globe
Video streaming platform Netflix faced a backlash from parents for promoting an award-winning film, "Cuties," which is accused of sexualizing children.
Many claim the film is sexualizing young girls because of its adult tone, which involves young 11-year old children twerking.
A petition has now been launched to remove the film from Netflix.
Netflix on Tuesday announced that "Cuties" would be coming soon to its platform, and shared the film's trailer on Twitter.
According to Netflix's promotional plug:
"Amy, 11, becomes fascinated with a twerking dance crew. Hoping to join them, she starts to explore her femininity, defying her family's traditions."
The Hollywood News wrote a full synopsis of the film:
Eleven-year-old Amy lives with her mom, Mariam, and younger brother, awaiting her father to rejoin the family from Senegal. Amy is fascinated by disobedient neighbor Angelica's free-spirited dance clique, a group that stands in sharp contrast to stoic Mariam's deeply held traditional values. Undeterred by the girls' initial brutal dismissal and eager to escape her family's simmering dysfunction, Amy, through an ignited awareness of her burgeoning femininity, propels the group to enthusiastically embrace an increasingly sensual dance routine, sparking the girls' hope to twerk their way to stardom at a local dance contest.
But the film has sparked international outrage due to the nature and tone of the production.
One person reacted to the film, writing on Twitter:
"SMH... Typical. European & Western films in general forever demonising and portaying African culture/Islamic faith in a negative light."
"In addition to promoting immorality and promiscuity to young girls! Stop sexualizing young girls and let them be kids."
SMH... Typical. European & Western films in general forever demonising and portaying African culture/Islamic faith in a negative light. In addition to promoting immorality and promiscuity to young girls! Stop sexualising young girls and let them be kids.🤦🏿♂️🤦🏿♂️🤦🏿♂️😖— محمد🇸🇴 (@LibaaxOfSomalia) August 19, 2020
Further outrage came when the movie's poster was released.
The poster shows the 11-year-old lead character kneeling down with her legs spread, and a co-star twerking in the background.
All of the girls are wearing dance outfits with crop-tops exposing their midriff, similar to a volleyball player's uniform.
The petition which is currently demanding 'Cuties' is removed from Netflix, reads:
This movie/show is disgusting as it sexualizes an ELEVEN year old for the viewing pleasure of pedophiles and also negatively influences our children! There is no need for this kind of content in that age group, especially when sex trafficking and pedophilia are so rampant!
As of this writing, more than 6,700 people had signed the petition.
"Cuties" filmmaker Mainmouna Doucouré told Cineuropa:
"The day I saw, at a neighbourhood party, a group of young girls aged around 11 years old, going up on stage and dancing in a very sensual way while wearing very revealing clothes," she said.
"I was rather shocked, and I wondered if they were aware of the image of sexual availability that they were projecting."
"During my research, I saw that all these young girls I'd met were very exposed on social media," she said.
"And with new social codes, the ways of presenting yourself change. I saw that some very young girls were followed by 400,000 people on social media, and I tried to understand why."
"Today, the sexier and the more objectified a woman is, the more value she has in the eyes of social media," the director continued.
"And when you're 11, you don't really understand all these mechanisms, but you tend to mimic, to do the same thing as others in order to get a similar result. I think it is urgent that we talk about it, that a debate be had on the subject."
This is not the first time Netflix faced controversy over the subject of sexualizing children.
In 2018, the streaming site's shares plummeted amid accusations it was streaming child porn.
Netflix came under fire for streaming the erotic thriller film “Desire,” which many claimed contained child pornography.
The revelations had an adverse effect on the company as it lost almost half a million new subscribers as a result.