Netflix has been accused of sexualising children in its promotion for the French film ‘Cuties.’ The film, titled ‘Mignonnes’ in France, tells the story of a young girl from a traditional Senegalese Muslim household that joins a dance group. Written and directed by Maïmouna Doucouré, it has won the directing award in the dramatic world cinema category at the Sundance Film Festival this year.
In an interview about the film, Doucouré said she came up with the concept after 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”. She said she was “shocked” and wondered if they were “aware of the image of sexual availability that they were projecting”.
In Netflix’s promotional poster for the film, the girls wore shorts and crop tops, striking various dance poses like kneeling on the floor and squatting. By contrast, the French poster shows the group wearing throwing shopping bags into the air and wearing less revealing clothes.
The promo content has been criticized by Twitter users. A user wrote: “I just found a trailer for the movie Cuties on Netflix and the blatant sexualisation of young girls is DISGUSTING. No one wants to see their child dressed and posed like this. WHY IS NO ONE IS TALKING ABOUT THIS?”
Netflix’s synopsis of the film has also attracted criticism. Before the backlash, the streaming giant’s summary said: “Amy, 11, becomes fascinated with a twerking dance crew. Hoping to join them, she starts to explore her femininity, defying her family’s traditions.”
It has now been revised to the following: “11-year-old Amy starts to rebel against her conservative family’s traditions when she becomes fascinated with a free-spirited dance crew.”
A Change.org petition has also been created, asking for the film to be removed because it “promotes child pornography”. It already has over 20,000 signatures.