Netflix’s Cuties becomes target of politicised backlash

By: AP |

Updated: September 15, 2020 9:00:26 am

Netflix mentioned in an announcement that Cuties is a, “social commentary against the sexualization of young children.” (Photo: Netflix by way of AP, File)

The backlash to the French unbiased movie Mignonnes, or Cuties, began earlier than it had even been launched as a result of of a poster that went viral for its provocative depiction of its younger feminine actors. But the highlight has solely intensified for the reason that movie grew to become out there on Netflix final week and it has turn out to be the target of heightened politicized outrage from members of Congress, together with U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, and others on-line calling for subscribers to #CancelNetflix.

At the guts of the backlash is the concept that Cuties is dangerously and irresponsibly sexualizing pre-teen ladies, which, paradoxically, is what the film itself is criticizing too. The marketing campaign in opposition to the movie, which incorporates requires the Department of Justice to research it and a whole lot of hundreds calling for subscribers to cancel their Netflix accounts, is riddled with inaccuracies due partially to the truth that some critics haven’t seen the movie (one claims that there’s youngster nudity when there’s not).

Netflix mentioned in an announcement that it’s a, “social commentary against the sexualization of young children.”

Written and directed by Maïmouna Doucouré, Cuties is about an 11-year-old Senegalese immigrant named Amy (Fathia Youssouf) who resides in an impoverished Paris suburb along with her observant Muslim household. She becomes fascinated with a clique of rebellious ladies at her center college who choreograph dance routines and put on crop tops and heels. They speak about Kim Kardashian and diets, apply “twerking” and giggle about boys and sex-related issues that they don’t but perceive.

Netflix acquired Cuties out of the Sundance Film Festival earlier this yr the place it was favourably reviewed and gained an award for its route. It is the sort of movie (foreign-language and with no stars from a first-time director) that might in any other case have gone underneath the radar. But as a result of Netflix’s promotional supplies caught the eye of the web and even led to an apology from the streaming big and the elimination of the posters, Cuties was thrust onto the nationwide stage.

Late final week, Republicans Cruz and U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas known as on the Department of Justice to research the movie’s manufacturing and distribution. Cruz in his letter to Attorney General William Barr requested that they, “determine whether Netflix, its executives, or the individuals involved in the filming and production of ‘Cuties’ violated any federal laws against the production and distribution of child pornography.”

On Sunday in an interview on the Fox News Channel, Cruz elaborated that Netflix is “making money by selling the sexual exploitation of young kids.” Cruz and others have made it a sticking level that Netflix has a manufacturing take care of former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, though neither have any affiliation with “Cuties.”

Congressman Ken Buck of Colorado tweeted that he and Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona additionally need DOJ to research.

Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley, a Republican, additionally despatched a letter to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings asking for the movie to be faraway from the platform whereas he awaits solutions about how the movie was made and marketed.

The criticism isn’t just from Republicans. Democratic Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, in a Twitter put up known as Cuties “child porn” and included a photograph of the recalled poster and wrote that it’s going to “certainly whet the appetite of pedophiles & help fuel the child sex trafficking trade.”

“Netflix, you are now complicit,” Gabbard continued.

Melissa Henson, program director for the Parents Television Council, mentioned that it “normalizes the sexualization of little girls,” and over 640,000 accounts have signed a petition calling on customers to cancel their Netflix accounts over the movie.

But this time Netflix isn’t apologizing.

“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,” a Netflix spokesperson mentioned in an announcement.

Some movie critics have additionally weighed in on the controversy and highlighted the deserves of the movie.

“It would have been easy for Doucouré to use a broad brush to paint the different extremes of Amy’s experience (‘stifling tradition bad, dancing good’), but she’s not exactly making ‘Footloose’ here,” New York Magazine movie critic Bilge Ebiri wrote. “Cuties is not a blunt screed or a finger-wagging cautionary tale in either direction — which is one reason why anyone watching the film looking for clear messages about right and wrong is bound to be disappointed, maybe even outraged.”

Doucouré was impressed to make the movie partly as a result of she noticed some 11-year-old ladies dancing “like we’re used to seeing in video clips” at a gathering in Paris and wished to research why such younger ladies have been mimicking such grownup behavoir.

“Our girls see that the more a woman is overly sexualized on social media, the more she is successful. Children just imitate what they see, trying to achieve the same result without understanding the meaning,” Doucouré mentioned. “It is dangerous.”

Her protagonist, Amy, is on the crossroads of conflicting messaging from her household, French Western tradition and the “hyper-real fiction of social media,” she mentioned.

Doucouré inspired audiences to look at the movie “without judging this child.”

According to Lauren Aronson, a consultant for Cruz who mentioned he has not seen the movie, the intent of the filmmaker isn’t the purpose.

“There should be absolutely no place for the filming and distribution of these scenes,” Aronson wrote.

But Doucouré believes that her movie is a worthy name to motion. And her messaging appears to have the identical objective as these bemoaning its existence.

“We must all come together to figure out what is best for our children. As a director, as an artist, I am doing my part with this film,” she mentioned. “Politicians, the education system, parents and children must come together to fix what’s gone wrong.”

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