Cuties makes viewers upset and uncomfortable

By Stephanie Freda, Lead Arts and Culture Editor

People are always on the hunt for the next best movie to watch and rewatch for years to come. Anytime Netflix says they are releasing a new film or show, most people get hyped up because the Netflix originals get pretty good feedback by most viewers. However, something did not sit right with the people of the internet when they read the description for the new Netflix original, Cuties, and I totally understand why people are uncomfortable with this new film.

Viewers are upset with Netflix’s new film due to the sexulaization of minors. (Photo Obtained by Netflix )

The original description of the new controversial film read as, “Amy, 11, becomes fascinated with a twerking dance crew. Hoping to join them, she starts to explore her femininity, defying her family’s traditions”. Many people agree that there is something very disturbing about older men and women telling 11-year-old girls to twerk on camera for millions of people to watch. The word “sexualizing” began showing up in regards to this movie because many think that young girls should not be dancing this provocatively in front of movie cameras for anyone to watch. Soon enough, the hashtag ‘#CancelCuties’ and ‘#CancelNetflix’ started trending worldwide on Twitter. Under these hashtags, petitions to get the movie removed began to rack up signatures. After seeing everything blow up in their faces, Netflix changed the description to “Eleven-year-old Amy starts to rebel against her conservative family’s traditions when she becomes fascinated with a free-spirited dance crew.” This does not change the fact that this movie is still available to stream.

Rather than provoking actual change and listening to their viewers, Netflix is continuing to endorse this film. They defended the sexualization of young girls by saying “Cuties is a social commentary against the sexualzation of young children.” When I watched this movie, this message did not come across at all. There was a scene where 11-year-old girls danced sexually in front of two male security guards to get out of trouble. The way these older men were eyeing the children made me feel extremely uncomfortable. 

Provocative dancing aside, the language, the costuming and body shaming is setting horrific additional examples for young girls. In fact, producers forced these girls to walk around in tight pants, skirts, crop tops and high heels. Usually, this sounds like a normal outfit a 17-year-old would wear, yet minors six years younger were already sporting such outfits on camera. To make matters even worse, they body shamed two of the main characters. They told one girl that she needed to lose weight and go on a diet, and they called another one “flat” and “too skinny.”   

Lastly, I had a major issue with the cinematography of this film. It’s bad enough that these minors are dancing very sexually on camera, but the way this was shot did not help at all. There were many times where they were dancing and the only thing in frame was their behinds. It was mortifying and I had to look away multiple times. The cinematography disproves any lasting argument that this film’s goal was anything other than an attempt to sexualize children.  

There are no redeemable qualities in this film. No matter how Netflix tries to justify this film and their thought process, it does not change what we see on the screen. It does not change the fact that these young girls were exploited by full grown adults. It does not change the fact that these minors were directed to dance provocatively and dress in ways that 11 and 12 year olds should not. I am absolutely disgusted that a movie of this nature exists. Please do not watch or support this film in any way, shape or form.