Cuties Petition....Thoughts After Viewing
***WARNING: Sensitive Topic....Content Not Recommended for All Readers***
Like many of you, I have been seeing articles, posts, videos, etc. about the movie that was recently released on Netflix called "Cuties." If you are like me, you have probably seen petitions going around to take this movie off of the market as it is advertised in different places that it promotes pedophilia.
Seeing this kind of thing in the media really catches my attention. I, and many other incredible women that I know, have had personal experience in being exploited/abused as children and my heart goes into protective mode when I hear that it is happening, again, to a child today. So of course, when I saw the media overflowing with information, I decided to look into it myself. (Because as messed up as the world is, I told myself there is no way that something as vulgar and outrageous as child pornography....or related materials...would be on something like Netflix.)
I read some articles and opinions and decided to watch the movie myself to form my own judgment. And to be honest, I'm still processing what I saw and how to interpret it's full impact on society. I guess one positive note would be that it gets the conversation rolling....but man, what a topic.
First, I want to start off with the pros. In watching the film for myself, and having traveled to a few other countries (and volunteering with different non-profits that focus on caring for children rescued from trafficking), I can see where the producers of this movie were trying to communicate a message. And I actually agree with what the message is saying....which is that it is a quick, slippery slope for children to be exposed to sexual exploitation, often even directly under the noses of their caretakers who are clueless and have no idea how serious the issues really are. It exposes how serious the reality that "sex sells" impacts not only adult consumers, but ANYONE....including children....in ALL cultures. I believe it was likely not the intent of the producer to actually further exploit children, but I can see that she wanted to educate people on the sickening reality that kids grow up too fast. And even in a strict household (like that of the main character), it can seep in. No one is immune.
That being said....a major flaw in this film, and rightfully so, is that in order to educate people on the exploitation of children....the movie does in fact, exploit children. All of the main characters are under age 15 (in the movie they say 11....and they look like it too). And while you are never actually exposed to seeing anything that underwear should cover....their sexuality is the central topic of the entire film. Two scenes that really disturbed me were one-where all of the girls are twerking and humping the ground. In super skimpy costumes. On a stage. In front of people of all ages. And two- a scene where the main character takes a photo of her private area and posts it on social media. (You don't see anything....but it's CLEARLY implied). And while the movie makes a clear point that these actions are wrong and distasteful....the reality is that these actors are REAL GIRLS. Who are being exploited every single time we watch this film! These girls are still minors who are trusting the adults around them to protect them. And even though there may not have been any ill intent from the adults (which I am choosing to believe....innocent until proven guilty), the reality is that these girls will forever be known as the 11 year old sex icons from Netflix.
Pedophilia is disgusting and my human mind cannot think of a more vulgar act. And again, while I don't believe it was the producers' intent to fuel a fire for pedophiles....that IS the outcome. And they should be held accountable for that.
It is my opinion that a better option would have been to create the film with animation of some sort, if necessary. I think it would still have been an offensive movie to a lot of people and might even be facing what it is now...but most importantly- it could have been done without exploiting a single child.
I also feel it necessary to add that it is ALSO exploitation to share articles and posts and even petitions with the photos from the movie that have the girls dressed in skimpy attire. What that does is it continues to spread the photo to more and more platforms....inevitably spreading them to more and more screens of predators. So if you share a post/petition, please take that into consideration as well. Yes, it gets the point across....but that's exactly what the filmmakers were trying to do too. In both cases- good intent leads to young girls being unnecessarily exploited.
The reality is that the world we live in is not safe. And even if we succeed in getting this taken down, pornography continues, brothels are still open, children are still for sale all across the globe. So in addition to signing petitions and speaking out, let's work together to end the root problems all together. If there was no demand, there would be no supply. The demand needs to end. Respect for human life needs to resurface in all areas of our lives. Start with yourself and the changes you can make in your own home and then start looking at how to make changes in your neighborhood, community, etc. Who knows the impact we could have if we worked together in unity to end this!
(For inquiring minds- I signed the petition and do not have a Netflix subscription.)