Jonathon Van Maren

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Netflix film ‘Cuties’ is morally indefensible: Girls should never be sexually exploited to get a message across 

You can't perpetrate an injustice in order to expose an injustice.
Fri Sep 18, 2020 - 11:13 am EST
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September 18, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Most of you will already have seen (or read about) the backlash to the Netflix release Cuties, a film about a dance troupe of pre-pubescent girls filled with sexualized imagery, close-up crotch shots, and other disturbing content. #CancelNetflix trended on Twitter for days.  Netflix stock began to tumble. And for once, and some conservative commentators expressed relief: At least we could all agree that this went too far. 

Even some liberal voices expressed their disgust. Nancy Pelosi’s daughter Christine Pelosi, for example, tweeted this: “Hi @netflix, from a customer and former ADA in SFDA’a Child Abuse-Sexual Assault Unit: ‘Cuties’ hypersexualizes girls my daughter’s age no doubt to the delight of pedophiles like the ones I prosecuted. Cancel this, apologize, work with experts to heal your harm.” 

Former Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard chimed in, tweeting that: “@netflix child porn "Cuties" will certainly whet the appetite of pedophiles & help fuel the child sex trafficking trade. 1 in 4 victims of trafficking are children. It happened to my friend's 13 year old daughter. Netflix, you are now complicit.” 

I cite those liberal opponents of Cuties because it didn’t take long before the progressive media began to defend the film. Several outlets actually claimed that the outrage was “right-wing,” which is pretty phenomenal self-own. Every right-winger I know (and I know a lot of them) would be happy to admit that child porn and the sexualization of children outrages them. These long think pieces attempting to defend the indefensible did precisely the opposite of what they were intending to do, and complimented conservatives to boot. Defending child porn to own the cons.

The only reason I’m weighing in is because I’ve seen many progressives (and the occasional libertarian, the sort that hates to condemn anything and enjoys appearing hip and cool and “more reasonable” than their conservative friends on social media) attempting to dismiss the outrage over this film as a “moral panic.” I’ve seen several on social media actually claim that conservatives got this film precisely wrong—this is not a film that sexualizes children, they say, but a film that exposes the problems with the sexualization of children. After all, the film is about a girl from a conservative Muslim family who joins a twerking dance troupe and then, by the end of the film, rejects both the hyper-conservatism of her family and the hyper-sexualization of post-modern culture.

I’d like to briefly respond to that argument, because this is a common method of excusing inexcusable material. What these Cuties defenders are claiming is that you can perpetrate an injustice in order to expose an injustice. If you show a film about a murder in order to expose what happened, for example, the re-enactment does not feature an actual murder. When you sexualize little girls to point out that sexualizing little girls is wrong, you are actually perpetrating the thing you claim to be condemning. It is the same thing with pornography and pornographic scenes in films or TV shows: The actors aren’t pretending to get naked and pretending to simulate sex acts—they are actually doing so

In fact, the child actors were exploited not only in the sexualized behavior they were paid to perform onscreen, but also in the lines they were told to memorize. Over at The American Conservative, Rod Dreher notes that in one scene, the girls are watching porn (or pretending to) on a cell phone in a bathroom. As they watch, they describe to one another what they are watching—and the sex acts they discuss are vile. As Dreher noted:

These children had to memorize this dialogue and perform it on camera. They also had to learn how to stroke their crotches, twerk, put their fingers in their mouths suggestively, and move like strippers mimicking vigorous intercourse. The actors are children. Simply to play their roles, they had to have their innocence taken from them by the filmmaker — no doubt with the consent of their parent or parents. It is hard to imagine fathers and mothers allowing their little girls to be exploited in this way, but people will do anything for fame. My point is that the intention of the director, even if noble, does not obviate the fact that for these children to play these roles, they had to say filthy things (and to imagine visually the things the script had them saying), and do filthy things with their bodies for the camera.

Our culture is now so morally dysfunctional that some people cannot see what is happening before their very eyes. Drag Queen Storytime, “Drag Kids,” children twerking at Pride celebrations, films featuring children performing sexual dances—all of these things are happening, and when conservatives condemn them, progressives double down to defend these latest manifestations of the metastasizing Sexual Revolution. They pretend that those who see these things are too stupid, or too square, or too religious, or too uncultured to understand the value in sexualizing kids. They try to tell us that we are not seeing what we know we are seeing: Who are you going to believe? Us or your lying eyes?

The ugly reality is that there is really no good reason to believe that the Sexual Revolution will stop now. Every sexual standard civilization held to for 2,000 years has been trashed in a matter of decades. Do we actually think there are brakes on this train? 

Jonathon’s new podcast, The Van Maren Show, is dedicated to telling the stories of the pro-life and pro-family movement. In his latest episode, he interviews Women for Trump board member Danielle D’Souza Gill. She’s also a graduate of Dartmouth College and the author of the brand new book titled “The Choice: The Abortion Divide in America.”

You can subscribe here and listen to the episode below: 


  child porn, child pornography, cuties, netflix, rod dreher

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