What’s all the fuss about Netflix’s “Cuties” movie?

Netflix has been the biggest streaming entertainment service for the past half a decade. The site boasts more than 183 million global subscribers but all that success seems to be threatened after the controversy surrounding one little film called “Cuties” airing on its platform.

The French film has gotten the droves out calling for a boycott of Netflix over the French film “Mignonnes” – ‘Cuties’ in English – angry that its young stars were portrayed in a sexualised way. The movie puts internet culture into the spotlight and focuses on the hyper-sexualisation of girls.

The film, directed by French-Senegalese director Maimouna Doucoure, started streaming on 9 September and has been subject to criticism since August.

In the American promotional poster ahead of the Netflix release, the Cuties are seen wearing very short and tight shorts and crop tops and posing in mature positions while the French poster is a direct contrast showing the four lead girls laughing and dancing as they hold shopping bags.

The company apologized for having used “inappropriate” images, even deleting a description that said Amy “becomes fascinated with a twerking dance crew” and in an attempt to join them, she “starts to explore her femininity, defying her family’s traditions”.

The criticism has even crossed to the political aisle with DeAnna Lorraine, a former Republican candidate for Congress from California, tweeted that “Child pornography is illegal in America.”

“As the mother of an eight-year-old girl, I STRONGLY support #CancelNetflix,” added Beatrice Cardenas, another California Republican.

Some senators are even called for an investigation into the movie, which has been criticized for sexualizing young girls.

What is ‘Cuties’?

Cuties is about an 11-year-old Senegalese Muslim girl named Amy (played by Fathia Youssouf) who is caught between two worlds.

At home, Amy has to please her family, who are observant Muslims from Senegal, but she eventually falls in with a group of friends who have their own dance troupe in defiance of her family’s strict rules.T

The film’s director said in an interview with Netflix that the movie incorporated elements of her own childhood in its portrayal of Amy’s struggles between two distinct modes of femininity: one dictated by the traditional values of her Senegalese and Muslim upbringing, the other by Western society.

Ms. Doucouré has said that the idea for the film came to her after she attended a neighborhood gathering in Paris where she saw a group of 11-year-olds performing a “very sexual, very sensual” dance.

An IMDb parents’ guide rates the film’s sex and nudity as “severe.” Several scenes show young girls dancing suggestively in short outfits.

While the film’s vision might have been meant to deliver a hard-hitting critique on the hyper-sexualisation of young girls, the American marketing campaign has really hurt the film.

So bad that the company lost $9 billion dollars in stock market value the past week.

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