"Cuties" or "Mignonnes" is a French film that made its debut at Sundance in January 2020. So, why is it all of sudden causing an uproar? Does the film sexually exploit children? Is Netflix guilty of clickbait for the artwork they created, and therefore to blame? Or is this a realization of a greater issue? I hope you will read this with an open mind as I explain what I have learned. For those that don't want to read the whole article, here is my reaction summed up as short as I can make it.
While the filmmakers claim to have the right intentions, their direction was wrong. How you ask? Cuties sexualized adolescent girls in the film, and Netflix promoted the film with clickbait that only exacerbated the issue.
The filmmakers want to bring awareness to the hyper-sexualization of adolescent girls and how wrong it is (a message I could support), but in the process they hyper-sexualized adolescent girls. The lead actress is only 14 years old in real life, according to her Instagram account, and most of the other actresses are around the same age or younger.
Let me go ahead and put this out there. I haven't watched the film and don't plan to either. I watched the trailer, read several articles on both sides of the issue, and had discussions with those that have seen it. Here is why I am speaking out; it is an important issue, I believe I have enough information to form an educated opinion, and the more voices we have speaking out the better.
By now, if you have heard of the film, you have formed an opinion and reacted. What influenced your reaction? If you reacted with #CancelNetflix after only seeing the original Netflix artwork, I can understand your reaction. At first glance, it appears Netflix is promoting a film that resembles child pornography. And if true, nobody in their right mind would support a company that distributes such filth. I would have to say though, you aren't reacting to the film...you are reacting to the artwork. Time Magazine published an article that sheds some light on the filmmakers intentions and how Netflix really messed up.
Know this...I am 100% against any sexualization of adolescent girls, and your going to have a hard time changing my mind! Whether that sexualization is via artwork, film, or real life; it's wrong. And the filmmakers of "Cuties" probably agree with me. But what if I told you God teaches us that not only should we be against sexualization of adolescent girls, we should also be against the lust of the flesh which includes but isn't limited to:
adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery,
hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath,
selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy,
murders, drunkenness, and revelries.
Here is the bigger issue, but nobody is creating hashtags against. Everybody has heard the term "sex sells", it dates back to 1871 and is still true and present today. So why is it that people are all of a sudden outraged when a company uses sex to sell? I know what you are shouting at me...THE FILM USED UNDERAGE GIRLS! And I agree, that is crossing a deep line in the sand, but follow me here...shouldn't we be upset at every other company that promotes the lust of the flesh? Netflix isn't the only company guilty of using sex to sell. You can't watch cable TV, scroll social media, subscribe to a streaming service, or even drive around town without being exposed to the glorification of the lust of the flesh. I think some of the organized outrage is because Netflix went too far and became an easy target. Creating a hashtag that trends about a hot topic opposing a large, well-known company is easy; versus organizing against individuals who practice the same sin.
Let me challenge you with Proverbs 4 where God tells us to "Keep your heart with all diligence...put perverse lips far from you...and wisdom is the principal thing;
therefore get wisdom." We should have the wisdom to see this situation as a the tragedy it is, but also realize it is only a small piece of the greater issue, our culture as a whole is over sexualized. I could write so much more on that one thought, but I will leave it at that.
Maybe we should #CancelNetflix, not because of "Cuties", but because of all the other titles available that over sexualize men and women. But then you have to #CancelHulu, #CancelAppleTV, #CancelAmazon...you see where I am going with it. You can't circumvent every source that promotes the lust of the flesh? Unless you are willing to go completely off grid, we will always be exposed. Although we can limit our exposure and use discernment with what media/information we consume. Canceling my Netflix account has been on my to-do list for a while now; not because of "Cuties", but because it's another expense I don't need, and most of the time I endlessly scroll through the titles and rarely click play. Ask my wife, she will confirm (it drives her crazy).