The Controversy Over Netflix's Cuties Movie
Cuties, a tween (10-12 yrs. old) cheerleading group in France, is getting ready with their routine for a coming competition. There is a new girl who joins, Amy, a black Senegalese, who is in a new, non-Islamic, non-Muslim, country. She finds it very hard to assimilate and as the movie rolls on, becomes very conflicted as to what her own values are and those being forced upon her by her parents who follow Muslim law and dress etc. In the day, she goes to French school and faces a very different world than when she returns home. Naturally, as she deals with this conflict, family fights occur as cultures clash.
Her refuge is Cuties. This is the name of the cheerleading group. As Amy is accepted into the group, these tweens naturally talk about the usual subjects we all have talked about at that age- sex, boys, other girls, experimenting with MJ. The girls impress Amy and she is dying to fit in so she adopts their talk, their walk, their attitude and much of it comes from the Internet, easily accessible to all. The movie shows just how influential the Internet is to young minds, so it is a cautionary tale for all parents. And, as all parents know today, it is impossible to control what kids see on the Internet, at best, all they can do is try to minimize exposure while at home, which even that, is dubious. Amy also watches how her mother and brothers cope with this new culture and trying to be accepted is proving more difficult than expected. All these things influence her and how liberating it is when she is with her friends and how restrictive it is when at home.
So what is wrong?
How one sees this film depends on your subjective view of it and your own personal experiences or religious beliefs. The film won many Sundance awards when released but how Netflix marketed it with its sexualized ads was one reason their is controversy among many conservatives and liberals. If one was to remove some of the cheerleading routines and twerking, that for some, are hard to accept, there would be no controversy. Those scenes are the reason for the uproar from various senators and why petitions are going around demanding AG Barr take Netflix to court for distributing it. These people cite it is soft porn and sexualizes Tweens because of the twerking that Amy and others do in their cheer routines.
Those who are complaining about it are the ones who are sexualizing twerking and other cheer routines. Maybe if cheer costumes were not as they are, and covered more from the waste down, no controversy would happen. Maybe if the girls were teens (15-18) and not Tweens, these same people might accept it because they are older and it is expected of teens. The ones complaining just cannot believe that their little 12 yr old girl is thinking of sex and boys and even seeing it on their iPhones as they surf the Internet. All of that is wishful thinking because kids nowadays grow up WAY too fast in the Internet world.
As a father of a cheerleader, these routines are routine. Cheerleaders twerk and jerk and spread their legs while doing all sorts of things in practice and during big competitions. Cheerleading starts around 12 yrs. old, although, there are even younger ones and they all emulate the dance moves, skimpy outfits, twerks, flyers usually spread their legs while up in the air and such. It is part of the routine and they are judged for this in competition.
I do understand what the controversy is about and it is only those who never had a cheerleader in the house that are saying it is child porn etc. Cheerleading can be sexual if the person looking is perverted in that way. In the film, some of the worst twerking scenes can make one cringe because of the camera angle etc. So that is the fault of the woman director and simply did not add anything to the storyline. She was trying to sexualize it, IMO. Not sure why.
Most of the screaming about what the movie is over the twerking scenes and other cheer scenes. Maybe they are in denial and fear in that, in today's culture of the Internet, kids grow up way fast and learn about things many did not know until becoming adults. It's hard to accept but it is there in plain sight.