Netflix defends Cuties film amid accusations of ‘child sexualisation’

14 September 2020, 18:03 | Updated: 14 September 2020, 18:09

Netflix defends Cuties film amid accusations of ‘child sexualisation’
Netflix defends Cuties film amid accusations of ‘child sexualisation’. Picture: Netflix

Streaming service Netflix has spoken out after receiving backlash for the film "Cuties".

By Tiana Williams

Netflix has responded to the backlash they have received over the sexualized portrayal of young children in their new drama “Cuties”.

Netflix viewers cancel subscriptions over 'sexualised' film Cuties

Despite the outrage, which led to viewers cancelling their subscriptions with the streaming service, Netflix is still encouraging critics to watch the movie.

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Netflix claims the film makes a statement about pressures young girls face when they're growing up, while trying to conform to societal role models of female sexuality.

The movie, which is rated “TV-MA” for language, centers on Amy, an 11-year-old Senegalese girl living in Paris who joins a “free-spirited dance clique", which led to her challenging her upbringing.

Since the film was released on Netflix, “Cuties” gained backlash for showing the girls performing highly sexualised dance routines and the sexual nature of their conversations.

A Netflix spokesperson told Variety, "Cuties is a social commentary against the sexualization of young children".

"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." the spokesperson added.

'Cuties' has been highly criticised for 'over sexualising' children
'Cuties' has been highly criticised for 'over sexualising' children. Picture: Netflix

“Cuties” (“Mignonnes”) writer-director Maïmouna Doucouré won the world cinema dramatic directing award.The film originally premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.

In a segment during the film on Netflix, Doucouré says that while participating in research for the film, she came to realise many pre-teens have the same conflicting experience of how they view femininity in today’s society.

“Our girls see that the more a woman is sexualized on social media, the more she’s successful,” she says in “Why I Made Cuties.” “And yeah, it’s dangerous.”

Doucouré, who was born and raised in Paris in a Senegalese family, added she “put [her] heart into this film because this is [her] story.”

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