The movie ‘Cuties’ (French: Mignonnes) is a 2020 French comedy-drama that showcases young girls, aged 11, engaging in acts and dance forms that hypersexualises them.
While the context of the movie tries to take a coming of age stance that shows a young girl grappling with personal challenges versus a changing digital culture and reclaiming her childhood at the end of the movie, it fails in its treatment of this context.
From the first few minutes of the movie it builds a world where young girls are shown to be engaging in sexual conversations and actions. These are not showcased as curious explorations that children at different ages may have but as actions that are serving the needs of the world around them.
Fifty eight minutes into the movie the lead child actress is shown twerking for two men who manage a facility the girls had entered without making the requisite payments, one of the men is shown to be checking the girl out and enjoying her actions.
The movie also makes us think about the number of child artists who have had to audition for these roles and the acts they have had to perform towards this selection.
While the intent behind the making of the movie may have been positive, the treatment of the movie making process, the final scenes that the audience views, as well as the basic content of the movie itself places children in an unsafe sexualised environment and subjects the artists of the movie to possible consumption of the movie in an unsafe manner.
The filmmakers and Netflix have stated that the intent of the movie was to throw light on and criticize the hypersexualisation of young children, especially young girls. However, the lens through which the movie is made is often predatory and does not adequately relay this critique to the audience.
There are multiple petitions on Change.org that are urging Netflix to take the movie off its platform. We are urging Change.org to combine the power of these petitions to get Netflix to take action and remove the movie from its platform. You can add your voice to this movement by signing one of the petitions.
Title Image Credits: UAE 24×7
Written by: Vandita Morarka (Consultant, Digital Marketing and Communications)