I don’t know about you, but when I was 11 I was still playing with my Barbies, not trying to be one. However, the new generations are eager (for some reason) to grow up. Maybe social media is what’s to blame. Maybe it’s the new fast-paced world that leaves you no choice. In any case, it’s a shame because childhood is the best stage in life (or at least it should be).
Should girls just be girls? This is a debate that the French film, Cuties has sparked. The film, which was released as “Mignonnes” in France, follows an 11-year-old girl named Amy (Fathia Youssouf) as she tries to find her place growing up in a poor suburb of Paris. 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.
Maïmouna Doucouré, 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, and the other by Western society.
In France, where the film was released in theaters on Aug. 19, Cuties did not stir much controversy, but in the United States, it’s a different story; the hashtag #CancelNetflix has been trending on Twitter, and parents and politicians are demanding Netflix to remove the film or even get the Department of Justice involved.
IMDB rates the film sex and nudity as severe. And I can see both sides of the coin. Sexualizing girls should never be ok. However, is the movie promoting that or just exposing the mere reality? Because let’s not forget, “purist” Americans, that in the USA the number of teenage pregnancies is alarmingly high. Maybe instead of being offended with fiction, be offended with what’s happening in your neighborhood. I remember the ’90s movie Kids. It truly traumatized me when I watched it. But that movie wasn’t promoting sex, drugs, and HIV; it was a portrayal of what some teenagers in NY were experiencing at the time.
I think the main problem is that Netflix seems to glam up the movie. As opposed to Kids, which was a gritty social commentary, this might appear like an invitation to little girls. It has to do more with the marketing choices of the movie than with the content itself.