Cuties angers campaigners

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The French film Cuties has attracted controversy for its depiction of 11 year-old girls in a way described by critics as sexualisation of children. Photo: Netflix/BIEN OU BIEN PRODUCTIONS 2018
The French film Cuties has attracted controversy for its depiction of 11 year-old girls in a way described by critics as sexualisation of children. Photo: Netflix/BIEN OU BIEN PRODUCTIONS 2018

A French film about a group of 11-year-old girl dancers titled Cuties and due for release on Netflix on 9 September has raised eyebrows following the announcement of an “MA-TV” rating, sparking a petition to have the movie removed from the streaming platform.

The petition, which has received more than half a million signatures in less than a week on change.org, calls for the removal of Cuties and other content of a similar nature.

Terri Kelleher, National President of the Australian Family Association told The Catholic Weekly she found much cause for concern in the film, questioning what message it is designed to send.

“At a time when sexual abuse of children and of young people and of young women are very much in the public mind, it is surprising that a film should portray watching pubescent girls in scanty clothing performing sexually suggestive moves,” said Mrs Kelleher.

“Isn’t there a line over which we should not step as a society?”

“Where is the message that guidance from responsible adults – in particular parents – sets boundaries that protect children and young people from harmful behaviours and situations that can have lasting consequences?

“I don’t think this is a film for children/young people but rather for adults about what young girls can get up to without appropriate guidance from responsible adults.”
The online petition describes the movie as showing “children dressed provocatively, dancing sexually and is rated only for adult viewers.”

“As we are becoming more aware of the horror of child sex trafficking, and child sexual abuse we need to come together to end ALL forms. One way we can achieve this, is to cancel shows and movies that exploit our children,” the petition reads.

Cuties producers describe it as a “coming of age” comedy and drama.

It follows Amy, a Senegalese girl living with her family in France as she “joins a group of dancers named ‘the cuties’ at school, and rapidly grows aware of her burgeoning femininity – upsetting her mother and her values in the process.”

However the influential online movie review website Screen Daily stated that the film is “explicitly designed to shock mature audiences into a contemplation of today’s destruction of innocence.”

The Catholic Weekly approached Netflix for comment but received no reply.