The worldwide streaming platform Netflix has come under heavy fire in recent days for its premiere of a controversial documentary called “Cuties,” which many have said is guilty of sexualizing young girls and bordering on child pornography, as reported by Variety.
The film, directed by a French woman named Maimouna Doucoure, is about an 11-year-old Muslim girl in Paris who becomes a member of a “free-spirited dance clique,” which features pre-adolescent girls dancing provocatively in revealing clothing. As a result of the film’s premiere, the hashtag “#CancelNetflix” reached #1 on global trends, as users from across the political spectrum encouraged their followers to cancel their Netflix subscriptions and hold them accountable for endorsing the film.
In response to the backlash, Netflix issued a statement in support of the film, pointing to the fact that it won an award for the “drama” category at the annual Sundance Film Festival. The statement claimed that “Cuties is a social commentary against the sexualization of young children,” and “encourages anyone who cares about these important issues to watch this movie.”
But the Sundance Festival’s description of the film admits to the highly sexualized nature of the film, saying that the girls have an “eagerness to be identified as sexualized,” and describes the cast as “vivacious” and “young.”
As such, many online commentators have not bought into the idea that the film is actually against sexualization of children, claiming that it goes too far and could have conveyed an anti-sexualization manner in a better way. The film has been condemned by the Daily Caller and the Parents Television Council, and a Change.org petition calling on people to cancel their subscriptions has currently garnered over 600,000 signatures.