September 11, 2020

NY Daily News: Netflix called out by National Center on Sexual Exploitation for coming-of-age drama ‘Cuties’

Originally Published at NY Daily News

By Storm Gifford

A French coming-of-age film about a preteen girl seeking acceptance as a member of a dance troupe has drawn the attention of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation.

“Cuties” chronicles 11-year-old Senegalese girl Amy’s journey through adolescence as she attempts to fit in with her peers while attempting not provoke her strict Muslim mother.

While the film has been praised around the world, including winning the coveted directing award for dramatic feature at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, some critics argue that the film sexualizes the young girls wearing supposedly provocative clothing.

“Netflix wants to have its cake and eat it too: it’s underwriting a coming-of-age story by a woman of color, which is laudable, but it has given a home to a film that depicts the oversexualization of children in a way that adds to the problem of child sexual exploitation,” griped National Center on Sexual Exploitation director of corporate and strategic initiatives Linda Nealon.

Some critics have criticized Netflix for marketing the film in a prurient manner. One poster shows the girls wearing dance tights and other promo shots show their bare midriffs.

The hashtag #CancelNetfix began trending on Friday.

“While we commend director Maimouna Doucouré for exposing the very real threats to young girls having unfettered access to social media and the Internet, we cannot condone the hypersexualization and exploitation of the young actresses themselves in order to make her point,” added Nealon.

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