Backlash against Netflix’s “Cuties” misses the point

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To understate what happens in the new Netflix film “Cuties” a person could describe it as a “tween dance film.” The movie is much more than that. So much more in fact, that both Netflix and the film’s director are facing various types of backlash.

“Cuties” is a French film directed by Maimouna Doucoure. According to Doucoure’s interview with NPR, she witnessed the kind of choreographed dance routines depicted in the film and was outraged. Doucoure attempted to capture what it is like to grow up in an age in which TikTok and Instagram are the norm.

“Cuties” backlash

But instead of seeing the film as an expose about the brevity of innocence for some girls, people are viewing it as a vehicle for pedophilia. The outrage against the film is everywhere: YouTube, Facebook, and the Internet in general is abuzz with people who hate the film and think that it is only meant to entertain pedophiles. When Netflix stock plunged on September 11, 2020, anti-“Cuties” contingents cheered.

No logical person advocates for the harming of children. Canceling Netflix does not stop the real-life instances in which girls who are still in elementary school lose their innocence through what they are exposed to in their communities and in their homes. Girls as young as the ones in the film are dancing this way all the time in Western countries. The more important question is “why?” Why have pre-adolescent girls attached themselves to an oversexualized ideology as a means of survival?

Further, no one is asking people to watch anything that they are uncomfortable with. However, the canceling of Netflix and referring to the filmmaker as a “pedo” aren’t quite fair. Doucoure comes across as a woman who is just as outraged as anyone else at the arguably debauched state of culture. This film seemed like something she could do about what she saw as a problem. Turns out, too many people would simply rather not know.

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Dodie Miller-Gould is a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana who lives in New York City where she studies creative nonfiction at Columbia University. She has BA and MA degrees in English from Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, and an MFA in Fiction from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her research interests include popular music and culture, 1920s jazz, and blues, confessional poetry, and the rhetoric of fiction. She has presented at numerous conferences in rhetoric and composition, and creative writing. Her creative works have appeared in Tenth Muse, Apostrophe, The Flying Island, Scavenger's Newsletter and elsewhere. She has won university-based awards for creative work and literary criticism.

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