‘Cuties’ Sparks Call to Cancel Netflix for Sexualizing Young Girls


The Netflix show “Cuties” sparks controversy for sexualizing the portrayal of girls as young as 11 years old, according to a CNN article on Sept. 10, 2020. As a result, the hashtag #CancelNetflix has been gaining momentum on social media. Subscribers are being urged to cancel their contracts with the popular streaming service.

The coming-of-age film gained national criticism from the show’s poster for its inappropriate representation of the show’s preteen stars —  Netflix later issued an apology. The promotional posters depicted scantily clad adolescent girls provocatively posing in dance uniforms. The new advertisement displays the young female stars of the show with perched duck lips staring into the camera.

Ironically, “Cuties” is being accused of highlighting the very thing that it is intended to shed light on, sexualizing girls. “Cuties,” a Sundance award-winning French film, is directed by Maïmouna Doucouré. She aimed to expose the plight of preteen girls and how popular Western Cultural social media trends can have a negative effect on them growing up.

The critically acclaimed director, Doucouré, of the award-winning show, said she watched how these young Senegalese immigrants imitate what they see on social media. Doucouré admits the young girls do not understand the gravity of their emulations and asked people to watch the show and not pass judgment on its young stars.

The call to cancel Netflix gained the attention of Congressional leaders such as Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz. He has perpetuated the #CancelNetflix campaign, even sparking the federal government to look into the show to make sure no child exploitation laws were violated in the making of “Cuties.”

Netflix responded to the outrage stating:

Cuties is a social commentary against the sexualization of young children.

“Cuties” is not the only Netflix film to spark controversy.  Another controversial Netflix program is “13 Reasons Why.”  Mental health organizations argued the series may do more harm than good as it explained the reasons why a young teen committed suicide.

Another Netflix movie, “365,” in which a kidnapped woman is given 365 days to fall in love with her captor, was also met with criticism for purportedly glorifying “rape culture.”

Doucouré disagrees with the negative attention the film has amassed about sexualizing young girls. She believes “Cuties” sheds light on an issue among adolescent girls struggling to find their identity.

She opposes the call to cancel the Netflix show. Her stand is “Cuties” will give educators, teachers, and parents the insight to fix the problem young girls encounter trying to fit in as they become of age.

Written by Sheree Bynum
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware


Associated Press: Netflix’s ‘Cuties’ becomes target of politicized backlash; Lindsey Bahr

Independent: 11 of the most controversial films and TV shows on Netflix; Ellie Harrison

Variety: Netflix Apologizes for ‘Inappropriate’ ‘Cuties’ Poster Slammed for ‘Sexualizing’ Little Girls; Dave McNary, Elsa Keslassy

Featured and Top Image Courtesy of freestocks.org’s Flickr Page –  Creative Commons License

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