Cuties is enabling pedophilia and religious discrimination

Have you cancelled Netflix yet?

I admit, I hesitated at first, rolling my eyes and assuming this was another political issue to take a side on. In reality though, this is not about politics. It’s not about your beliefs. 

What it is about is keeping children safe.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, let me tell you the story of Cuties.

On Sept. 9, Netflix added a movie called Cuties to their catalog. Even at first glance, this movie looks problematic. The photo accompanying the description shows four 11-year-old girls in suggestive dance poses wearing some needlessly skimpy costumes. 

Netflix released this photo after controversy started surrounding the suggestive poses and clothing in the original poster. Netflix promotional photo

Some further research into the movie shows that this movie contains sexual content of the girls, who are, by the way, played by actual 11-year-olds. 

Now, some people have decided that the movie isn’t being judged fairly. They say this movie poster is not representative of the actual storyline. But how can you look for positives in a movie about young girls twerking out of their “conservative cultures”?

Yes. This movie is about twerking. 11-year-olds twerking.

I know this is not the true theme of the movie, but it is a large part of it. Many people are viewing this movie as a way a girl rebels against her conservative family traditions. Even if we’re not talking about the pedophilia aspect (which, trust me, we will get to) this movie is still extremely insensitive to the Muslim culture which they portray as oppressive. 

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is the United States’ largest Muslim civil rights group. Only days ago, on Sept. 15 they called for Netflix to remove Cuties due to the stereotypical way it depicts the Islamic religion.

Netflix itself doesn’t seem to have commented on this aspect but as for the sexualization of children, they said “Cuties is a social commentary against the sexualization of young children.”

The national director of CAIR expressed my opinion on this best when he said, “a film cannot criticize the abuse of children while abusing children.”

Los Angeles Times columnist, Mary McNamara, says “Cuties is not about a girl coming to terms with her sexuality; sexuality doesn’t factor into any of her actions.” But how can this be true when a look at the parent guide on IMDB shows 15 occurrences of sex and nudity in the movie?

One particularly horrifying example that stood out to me is the statement “frequent close up/slow shots of underage girls’ midsections, crotch, buttocks, while dancing provocatively.” 

These children are put in clothes which leave basically nothing to the imagination in an internationally famous (or infamous) movie. How can anyone be supporting that? I don’t care if it’s meant to be a statement on oversexualization. This is oversexualization.

Though there is no actual child nudity within this film (a point which there has been much confusion over), there are many implications of child nudity. In one scene, a girl even takes a picture of her vagina and publishes it online. 

Is that okay?

Even if they are not showing any nudity, I think the scene gets too close to the sexuality of an 11-year-old. The camera shows her taking her jeans and underwear off and spreading her legs. 

I will say I understand the intention behind the film, but in creating this movie young children were sexualized. To create a statement against something, you can’t be a participant in the problem.

Either way, this film has got people thinking. One thing we should all agree on is that we need to protect children. There is a problem today with oversexualization which has a hand in child sex trafficking. We all need to fight against this, and I feel that this film really missed the mark. 

We need to come to a consensus as a culture about how to take a stand against pedophilia and child pornography without exploiting more children in the process. 

For now, I’m cancelling Netflix and I’m urging you all to do the same.