It’s one of the most revolting developments in this crazy year: The debut of the movie “Cuties.”
The story centers around an 11-year-old named Amy who “starts to rebel against her conservative family’s traditions when she becomes fascinated with a free-spirited dance crew,” according to Netflix’s synopsis. Little Amy “rapidly grows aware of her burgeoning femininity – upsetting her mother and her value in the process.”
Yay for female empowerment! Down with the patriarchal family unit!
Full disclaimer: I have not watched the film, and of course I never will. But I saw about one minute of the infamous dance scene, and it was enough to sear my eyeballs and turn my stomach.
Movie critic John Nolte, a film critic for Breitbart, initially (and sight unseen) defended the film more or less on First Amendment grounds, then changed his mind after watching it. “Now I’ve seen it and can’t defend it,” he writes. “‘Cuties’ is soft-core child pornography disguised as art. Nothing less. Nothing more.”
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YouTube vlogger Blaire White agrees. “So much about the movie is creepy, not just even the super-overt stuff. … This is absolutely a pedophile film, or at least a film pedophiles will love.”
PTC program director Melissa Henson said Netflix is “desensitizing millions of viewers at home by asking them to be entertained by it.”
What is most horrifying is not that the film was made – bad as that is – but how the left is defending it.
The movie’s writer-director, Maïmouna Doucouré, called the project a “critique” of the sexualization of children. While that might have been her intent, how can she justify the sexual exploitation of the young actresses used in making the film? As a former (ballet) dancer, I understand the amount of rehearsal necessary to create the flawlessly choreographed dance scene I saw. Each vulgar move, each bump and grind, each crotch shot, each pelvic thrust had to be rehearsed again and again and again, refined over weeks for the children to move in such perfect synchrony. And that was just a short one-minute scene. In other words, the sexual exploitation of these young children took place over months of filming.
Now the left is attempting to paint anyone who finds the film objectionable as demented knuckle-dragging right-wing hate mongers too dense and unsophisticated to appreciate the subtleties and nuances of child pornography as an art form.
Netflix: “‘Cuties’ is a social commentary against the sexualization of young children. It’s an award-winning film and a powerful story about the pressure young girls face on social media and from society more generally growing up – and we’d encourage anyone who cares about these important issues to watch the movie.”
The New Yorker: “[I]t’s the story of a girl’s outrage at, and defiance of, a patriarchal order. … The subject of ‘Cuties’ isn’t twerking; it’s children, especially poor and nonwhite children, who are deprived of the resources – the education, the emotional support, the open family discussion – to put sexualized media and pop culture into perspective. … Though many of Amy’s actions are dubious, her spirit of revolt is nonetheless sublime and heroic. … It’s enough to give a right-winger a conniption.” (In a deleted tweet, the New Yorker referred to those condemning “Cuties” as “scandal-mongers on the right.”)
Rolling Stone: “A sensitive portrait of growing pains that deserves to be seen. … Here’s what it is not: a salacious bit of pedo-bait designed to appeal to baser instincts rather than better angels. … None of which stopped people from claiming that the movie is softcore porn (it isn’t). … It is the polar opposite of what it’s accused of being.”
Los Angeles Times: “Self-styled internet moralists immediately jumped on the film (sight unseen, of course) and called for its removal, essentially likening ‘Cuties’ to child pornography. … Some putative grownups … can never be bothered to do the hard work of looking at something, let alone learning from it.”
Buzzfeed: “Cuties and Netflix have found themselves the target of a new critic: the #SaveTheChildren conspiracy theory on social media. In the past few weeks, right-wing conspiracy theorists have decided that ‘Cuties’ is yet another example of child sex abuse in Hollywood, and they are now spreading the lie to thousands of followers on social media.”
Vox: “Sometimes, a movie is just a movie. … Much of the criticism against ‘Cuties’ spawned from inaccurate or incomplete characterizations of the film – and the resulting narrative was that Netflix had produced a film aimed at enticing pedophiles. … So while we do see young girls twerking, the film frames dance as an insidious corrupting tool that could rob the dancers of their innocence. It’s actually quite a conservative viewpoint, despite what its detractors seem to think.”
The Telegraph: “This is powder-keg provocation in an age so terrified of child sexuality.” (Side note: “Terrified” of child sexuality? Damn straight we’re “terrified” of child sexuality! Children should not be sexual!)
NBC News: “This isn’t a provocative movie at all. It’s a funny coming-of-age story about friendship and dancing. … It is, annoyingly, important to state plainly that ‘Cuties’ does not portray child abuse, it does not glorify or countenance pedophilia in any way, and it does not ‘sexualize’ its characters – which is, to put it plainly, a favorite description of people so disturbed by their own reaction to a piece of art that they have to quickly plant the blame for that reaction on the artist before anyone notices. … [A]t the moment, the culture upstream of conservative politics is a hodgepodge of insane far-right conspiracy theories called QAnon, a movement that posits that senior Democrats, Hollywood executives and media barons feast, quite literally, on children, whom they also molest. … It’s legitimately upsetting to see this movie so cynically hijacked. It’s a very witty indie film – impeccably framed and shot.” [Emphasis added.]
So there you go. Anyone concerned about how children were exploited during the making of this film are dismissed as pearl-clutching right-wing conspiracy nuts who are secret pedophiles and are just trying to hide it.
When did objections to child pornography become a right-wing position? Leftists are more offended at the backlash over the children being exploited, than they are over the children actually being exploited. That is sick. No, more than sick. It’s evil.
Over and over again, we’ve seen the left side with evil. Now they’ve crossed the Rubicon and are calling child pornography artistic and empowering. It’s no accident California recently reduced the penalties for pedophilia with “willing” kids.
“[T]he political left hates the right so [expletive] much that when given the choice between defending child pornography and siding with us, they’re going to defend child pornography,” blasts Nolte. “Good grief, they are already defending, championing, and encouraging four months of riots, looting, arson, murder, and mayhem. These are depraved people.”
What should be a unifying issue across the board – that child pornography is wrong wrong wrong – is now supported by those who bash anyone “terrified by child sexuality.” By dismissing this issue as a partisan matter and painting right-wingers as uptight prudes, progressives once again are moving the battle lines.
As of this writing – on one hand – Netflix shareholders lost a staggering $9 billion within days as a backlash from releasing the movie. On the other hand, “Cuties” is now the No. 4 movie in the U.S. on Netflix. Sigh.
Conservatives slam this movie. Progressives defend it. And that, ladies and gentlemen, summarizes the split in America in a nutshell. By their fruits you shall know them.
“How much further can the left and the media fall?” wonders Nolte. “Trust me, there is no bottom.”
If progressives cannot agree with conservatives that children should not be sexually exploited, then all hope of a unified nation is gone.