´Cuties´ Controversy: A Big Mistake by Netflix

By Preslee Adams, Staff Writer

The coming-of-age drama Cuties is now available to stream on Netflix, but before you get into the film, you might want to be informed of background information about the Netflix film. There has been quite a lot of controversy surrounding the movie that might change your decision on whether or not to watch it.


“Cuties” tells the story of an 11-year-old girl living in Paris struggling to find her identity and torn between her family’s Muslim traditions and her peer’s attempts to follow the sexualized portrayal of women as seen in Western culture and social media. The film includes scenes of the protagonist, Amy, performing highly inappropriate dance routines with the Cuties dance crew and depicts the underage characters in other adult-like circumstances. Unsurprisingly, this did not sit well with most of the American audience.


The controversy first struck late August 2020 when Netflix revealed its poster for the film, featuring four young girls in booty shorts and crop tops in suggestive poses — an extremely different image from the French movie’s poster, showing the girls posing with shopping bags and innocent smiles.


The backlash received over the controversial film led to a huge increase in U.S. customer cancellations of the service following its debut this summer. Many people accused Netflix of promoting pedophilia. Several petitions were started on social media to have the film removed from Netflix, and the hashtag “#CancelNetflix” has been trending worldwide on Twitter following the September 9th release.


Netflix was quick to apologize for the poster, saying that it was not a good representation of the film. The CEO of Netflix, Ted Sarandos, even called to directly apologize to French movie director, Maïmouna Doucouré. Netflix has updated the image on the app to match that of the original poster. They also fixed the description of the movie that reads, “Eleven-year-old Amy starts to rebel against her conservative family’s traditions when she becomes fascinated with a free-spirited dance crew.”


After this statement by Netflix came out, Doucouré began to receive hate for the film and told sources that the film had been somewhat inspired by social media, when she saw that “very young girls” who posted “revealing pictures” were quickly gaining fame online.


“Today, the sexier and the more objectified a woman is, the more value she has in the eyes of social media. And when you’re 11, you don’t really understand all these mechanisms, but you tend to mimic, to do the same thing as others in order to get a similar result,” she explained.


Doucouré’s defense of the film failed to win over a vast majority of viewers— for someone who argues that young girls don’t fully understand the suggestive ideas behind certain online behavior, the director clearly didn’t quite think her movie through when she hired the same young girls to star in a film with sexually suggestive dancing and actions.


You can watch the movie and come up with your own opinion, but, honestly, save yourself the disgrace and put on something else.