The film Cuties garnered praise in France, won an award at Sundance, and scored positive reviews earlier this year. Then, Netflix decided to share a poster that many deem inappropriate. This has led to public outcry and even death threats to the writer and director Maïmouna Doucouré. Many claim it is child pornography and is normalizing pedophilia. However, Doucouré claims that her intent was more of a commentary and criticism of the hypersexualization of young girls. It’s not like movies or films have ever served as commentary or criticism in any way before.
In a recent interview with NPR, Doucouré talks about how she saw girls doing a dance routine at a neighborhood gathering of some girls who were around 11 years old. She says that they were wearing revealing outfits “[a]nd they were dancing very sensually, sexually and I was very disturbed about what I was seeing.” This led Doucouré to want to understand what was going on with this. She started interviewing adolescent girls and doing research for a year and a half. She then combined her research with parts from her upbringing to create Cuties. Doucouré continued by saying:
It’s a period [that’s] very specific where you are not any more totally a child and you are not an adult. You are looking for yourself and everything is changing very fast.
Today you have that exposition of your body on social media and you also have this big competition of finding ‘likes’ and followers and that is for me a new kind of finding love.
Doucouré hopes that those who are against the movie because of the marketing will give it a try “[a]nd after that, they will see that we have the same fight and we are all together about that issue of hyper sexualization of our children and protect our children.”
I’ve often wondered why this movie received such criticism when there are so many other films, pageants, etc. in the world that don’t garner the same kind of outrage for hypersexualizing minors, but without even trying to be a commentary or critique.