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August 21, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – A new film on Netflix shows girls, described as being as young as 11, performing sexualized dance acts, including imitating an adult “twerking dance crew,” as described by an advertisement from the online streaming giant.
The French film ‘Cuties’ (titled ‘Mignonnes’ in French) follows the story of 11-year-old ‘Amy’ a Senegalese Muslim girl who lives in a poor neighborhood in France and who joins a group of other young girls who perform hyper-sexualized dance routines.
A poster for the film appeared on Netflix earlier this week showing the pre-teen girls adopting sexualized poses and dressed in revealing clothing while on stage.
Netflix’ original description of the film read: “Amy, 11, becomes fascinated with a twerking dance crew. Hoping to join them, she starts to explore her femininity, defying her family’s traditions.”
Netflix’ promotion of the show quickly prompted a wave of criticism online including a petition by parents to ban the show.
“This movie/show is disgusting as it sexualizes an ELEVEN year old for the viewing pleasure of pedophiles and also negatively influences our children! There is no need for this kind of content in that age group, especially when sex trafficking and pedophilia are so rampant! There is no excuse, this is dangerous content,” states a petition signed by 170,000
A French poster for the film showed the young girls wearing bras and underwear over their clothes while dancing in the street.
The director of the film, Maimouna Doucouré, says that she was prompted to make the film after attending a local party and seeing “a group of young girls aged around 11 years old, going up on stage and dancing in a very sensual way while wearing very revealing clothes.”
Reflecting on that event in an interview with Cineuropa, Doucouré says: “I was rather shocked and I wondered if they were aware of the image of sexual availability that they were projecting.”
The director says that the film was part of her effort to prompt debate about the growing trend of young girls attracting large numbers of social media followers by posting sexualized photos of themselves online.
“I saw that some very young girls were followed by 400,000 people on social media and I tried to understand why. There were no particular reasons, besides the fact that they had posted sexy or at least revealing pictures: that is what had brought them this ‘fame’,” Doucouré said.
“Today, the sexier and the more objectified a woman is, the more value she has in the eyes of social media. And when you’re 11, you don’t really understand all these mechanisms, but you tend to mimic, to do the same thing as others in order to get a similar result. I think it is urgent that we talk about it, that a debate be had on the subject.”
But Dr. Chad Pecknold, a theology professor at the Catholic University of America and father of a six-year-old daughter, told CNA that attempting to start a debate by producing a film sexualising young children “is a rationale that only Jeffrey Epstein could love.”
“I was utterly shocked to see young girls just a bit older than my daughter in sexually suggestive poses,” Pecknold said.
“But my moral revulsion at what can only be the normalization of pedophilia only increased when I realized the producers claim to be criticizing the sexualization of children by, in fact, sexualizing children.”
After backlash, Netflix attempted to save face by changing its advertisement for the show. But it refused to pull the show.
“It was not OK, nor was it representative of this French film which premiered at Sundance. We’ve now updated the pictures and description,” Netflix said in a statement.
We're deeply sorry for the inappropriate artwork that we used for Mignonnes/Cuties. It was not OK, nor was it representative of this French film which won an award at Sundance. We’ve now updated the pictures and description.
— Netflix (@netflix) August 20, 2020
That description has now been updated to read: “Eleven-year-old Amy starts to rebel against her conservative family’s traditions when she becomes fascinated with a free-spirited dance crew.”
The poster accompanying the film on Netflix now shows the girls fully clothed while looking over their shoulders and donning kissing poses.