On Aug. 20, Netflix issued an apology following a wave of backlash for its advertising and marketing supplies selling Maïmouna Doucouré’s Cuties. The poster featured the French movie’s major characters — the titular dance troupe named Cuties — in spandex dance costumes of shorts and crop tops. The streamer’s now-deleted film description learn that lead character Amy “turns into fascinated with a twerking dance crew,” and in an try to hitch them, she “begins to discover her femininity, defying her household’s traditions.”
Netflix WTF IS THIS pic.twitter.com/v4FjZkH7K5
— koko (@littlewarior9) August 19, 2020
An uproar was instantly ignited over the poster’s obvious sexualization of kids, and the backlash equated Netflix’s advertising and marketing with the movie’s intent. “We’re deeply sorry for the inappropriate art work that we used for Mignonnes/Cuties,” a Netflix spokesperson stated within the assertion on Thursday. “It was not OK, nor was it consultant of this French movie which gained an award at Sundance. We have now up to date the photographs and outline.”
The harm, nevertheless, was already carried out. Together with accusations that Netflix was run by pedophiles, petitions went up demanding the streamer take away the movie from its lineup. I ought to observe that Cuties will not premiere in the USA till Sept. 9, so the lots at present protesting the movie’s launch have not truly seen it. However that hasn’t stopped over 178,000 folks from signing the petition or one other petition with the identical goal from gaining over 336,000 signatures.
Now, here is the factor: there are few issues so frequently touched upon in all types of media like coming-of-age tales. Whether or not it is a story of discovering your self as a toddler, discovering who you need to be as a teen, or realizing what you are meant to do as an grownup, folks have all the time been obsessive about the thought of the moments the place we understand our potential and our personhood in methods we have not earlier than. So, in good circumstances, audiences can be naturally drawn to a narrative just like the one offered in Doucouré’s Cuties only for the premise.
In response to the movie’s official synopsis, it follows Amy (Fathia Youssouf), an 11-year-old who lives together with her mother, Mariam, and youthful brothers as they await her father to hitch the household in Paris from Senegal. Amy comes throughout her neighbor Angelica’s free-spirited dance clique named Cuties and is immediately fascinated with the group’s distinction to her household’s conventional values. Desperate to discover one thing totally different from her household’s life-style, Amy joins the group as they embrace an “more and more sensual” dance routine in hopes of reaching stardom at an area dance contest.
From watching the trailer alone, it is apparent this movie will not be about sexualizing younger ladies; it is a story about womanhood, rising up in a world that sexualizes you earlier than you even perceive your id, the trials of craving stability and freedom whenever you’re younger, and the pure battle that comes with all of that, in addition to household and heritage. Critiques of the movie specify that it takes a crucial view of the methods trendy tradition sexualizes younger ladies.
“This contemporary story continues to be one way or the other common to each technology, from the primary sight of menstrual blood to the rebellious stage of preteens.”
The Root’s Tonja Renée Stidhum wrote: “Doucouré’s incorporation of the upper stakes of social media left me shifting uncomfortably in my seat, as the truth of what it have to be wish to develop up as a bit of black lady on this digital age settled in my spirit. And that uncomfortable feeling was vital. It was exhausting sufficient rising up within the ’90s, determined to slot in among the many 30-plus college students in my classroom, so I can solely think about the way it feels whenever you multiply that quantity by the hundreds of onlookers judging your social media profile. And but, this contemporary story continues to be one way or the other common to each technology, from the primary sight of menstrual blood to the rebellious stage of preteens. The extra issues change, the extra they keep the identical, certainly.”
Within the wake of the backlash, individuals who have truly seen the movie from its premiere at Sundance (the place Doucouré nabbed the directing award) have begun to defend the director and her movie, particularly after she obtained a lot hate that she deleted her social media. Marvel actress Tessa Thompson tweeted her disappointment with the “present discourse” across the movie and her distaste for Netflix’s advertising and marketing of its content material.
Disillusioned to see the way it was positioned when it comes to advertising and marketing. I perceive the response of all people. However it doesn’t converse to the movie I noticed. https://t.co/L6kmAcJFU1
— Tessa Thompson (@TessaThompson_x) August 20, 2020
Sure, it is vital to notice that Netflix used a really totally different poster than the unique French art work to advertise the movie. That was purposeful and meant to attract a response. However it’s additionally vital to acknowledge that the scene from that poster does occur within the movie, and it is there for a purpose. Many individuals noticed the scantily clad younger ladies and instantly rushed to “defend” their advantage, whereas additionally taking it upon themselves to ship demise threats to Doucouré, a Black girl who used her life expertise as a younger refugee to create the movie.
As a result of that is what all of this has been: an embarrassing overreaction from folks too wrapped up in conspiracy theories who jumped the gun within the title of preventing baby sexualization.
Folks had been fast to harass Doucouré as a result of they could not take 5 minutes to lookup the trailer and premise and understand they had been overreacting. As a result of that is what all of this has been: an embarrassing overreaction from folks too wrapped up in conspiracy theories who jumped the gun within the title of preventing baby sexualization. It is particularly irritating contemplating how obsessed American audiences are with different coming-of-age tales identical to Cuties. The place was this outrage over the foul-mouthed raunch fest often called Good Boys that starred preteens Jacob Tremblay, Keith L. Williams, and Brady Midday? Good Boys incorporates a scene with all three tweens on a intercourse swing however nonetheless has an 80 p.c approval score on Rotten Tomatoes, so I am guessing we had been OK with that model of sexualization.
I can solely hope folks understand they’ve made a mistake and watch Cuties when it premieres on Netflix on Sept. 9. I do know I will be watching and appreciating the work Doucouré put into telling this story, which has simply as a lot worth as every other coming-of-age story audiences have salivated over previously. And I hope this nonsense hasn’t negatively impacted what’s little question a promising filmmaking profession.