Updated: Oct 19, 2020
Once upon a time, little girls were dressed in either pants, or dresses and skirts that fell no higher than mid-thigh. Or in the summer, shorts that weren’t too short.
Pre-teen girls were told annoying things by their mothers like, “No, you may not start wearing makeup yet. Now go wash that stuff off!” And Mom had a way of annoying the older teens as well: “Just where do you think you’re going, in that short skirt? I can see your cheeks, for crying out loud! And that teeny, tight top? You are not leaving this house looking like that, young lady! You just march yourself right back to your room and put on something appropriate!”
Often, by the time the chagrined and irritated teen returned home, her previous outfit had mysteriously disappeared.
The Times, They Are Changing
Of course, times change, and popular styles change with the times. Nothing wrong with that, as far as it goes. But hyper-sexualizing young girls (and in some cases, boys) and calling it “fashion” or “coming of age” goes too far.
Sometimes, it’s even called comedy.
When 238 sitcoms and dramas that ran during a four-week period in 2011-2012 were examined, the results were disturbing: one-third of the episodes depicted the sexual exploitation of females. What was worse was that the likelihood of exploitation increased when a teen girl was involved. The odds that this would be palmed off on the audience as “comedy” increased as well, as 43 percent of girls were targeted by sexually exploitative jokes, compared to 33 percent for adult women.
But these weren’t merely the tired old garden-variety of questionable sexual humor. Because some of the material involved jokes about sexual violence and sex trafficking.
Then there’s the so-called beauty pageants for little girls, even toddlers, made famous by the exploitative Toddlers and Tiaras show. Mothers and makeup “artists” thickly splash the faces of the little ones with bold makeup, and outrageous fake lashes are deftly glued to tiny eyelids.
Womanly wigs and hair extensions sprout from their heads, their soft, baby-fine tresses hidden away like something shameful stashed in the back of a closet. Their tiny bodies are festooned in tight, often revealing gowns that may well be stuffed with padding in all the right places, as the girls strut down the runways in high heels that their mothers would love, if only they could get their feet into them.
Oh, but it’s all about learning the social graces, we’re told. How to dress well, how to be poised and confident. How to conduct themselves like a boss.
Right. And Toddlers and Tiaras was clean, healthy, and age-appropriate.
And Dance Moms? Oh, please. A more exploitative group/show didn’t exist, or so we thought.
Awww. They’re Such Cuties!
Enter Cuties, the French film lauded by Those Who Are More Enlightened Than You at the Sundance Film Festival.
Amy is an 11-year-old Muslim Senegalese girl who moves to the suburbs of Paris with her mom, who is described as “quietly suffering”. This is because her husband is off picking up another wife for himself, and Amy’s mother is supposed to throw them a wedding feast upon their arrival in Paris.
As Amy struggles with her mom’s predicament and her own identity, she notices girls her age at her new school (how could she not) who appear carefree, confident, and oh so hip. They are members of a dance team called the Cuties. And boy, can they ever twerk dance. Amy watches from a distance for a time, longing to join them. To be just like them.
And she does, trading in her burqa for tiny, nothing-left-to-the-imagination painted-on hot pants, crop tops, and bikinis. Oh, and knee pads. Musn’t forget the all-important knee pads.
Gyrating across the stage, Amy and her friends engage in wholesome activities like floor humping, crotch-grabbing and rubbing, lesbian spanking, leg spreading, and worse. One scene even shows one of the girls lifting her top to expose her bare breast.
If you can stand to see this clip (note: it wouldn’t play for me on Firefox but worked with Chrome), it will be obvious why Netflix has been indicted by a Texas grand jury for child pornography.
But Wait! It’s Liberating!
Virtually anyone who believes that children should not be hypersexualized and peddled like pieces of meat would be disgusted enough to call this film soft-core kiddie porn, made for one purpose only – to cater to pedophiles.
Au contraire, says the writer and director, Maimouna Doucoure in an interview. It’s art. Or… it’s the story of a girl exploring her femininity. Well really, it’s about the dangers of social media and sexualizing young girls. No, wait – “Cuties is a deeply feminist film with an activist message,” Doucoure insists, five minutes into the interview.
And apparently, the lofty and enlightened agree. According to Forbes, the controversy swirling around the film is “… totally ridiculous.” The movie review site Rotten Tomatoes enthusiastically gushed, “Cuties is a coming-of-age film that confronts its themes with poignancy and nuance.” (Although it should be noted that while Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a rating of 86%, their audience gave it a rating of only 15%. Rotten tomatoes, indeed.) And the New Yorker whined that it was an “… extraordinary… debut that became the target of a right-wing campaign.”
Finally, Bustle blames the furor over the movie on a “botched” poster Netflix released promoting the film. But the poster Netflix released was far more honest than the French promo, a poster showing the four girls happily frolicking along the street carrying shopping bags. Just normal, exuberant pre-teens on a fun-filled shopping trip. Never mind the fact that they’re wearing their underwear on the outside of their clothes.
Still, the original poster made external underwear look like head-to-toe white gowns in comparison.
That’s because the Netflix poster showed the real raison d’etre with a shot from the obscene dance number described earlier, the girls looking for all the world like pint-sized porn stars.
Netflix profusely apologized for their gaffe and in a bizarre effort to smooth ruffled feathers, replaced the porn poster with the shopping one while irrationally assuring irate folks that all is well. The film is somehow now safe and utterly harmless.
And we’re not supposed to question the fact that Netflix itself rated the film TV-MA – for mature audiences only. Gotta’ love the irony of a movie made for a mature audience, starring little girls whose performance is so pornographic that they’re far too young to actually watch it.
Take a Look at the MAP
This flagrant violation of children would be startling and disgusting enough if the only people viewing it were those who have fantasies they’d be better off not having, but who at least never act on them. But it’s far worse than that. Many of those in the seedy underworld of pedophilia are scratching their way out of their dark closets by attempting to normalize their crimes.
In the competitive and often cutthroat worlds of business and entertainment, one way a floundering company or celebrity can execute an outstanding comeback is by reinventing and rebranding themselves. Pedophiles have borrowed this practice and have been busy rebranding themselves as MAPs – Minor Attracted Persons.
And they have plenty of help from willing accomplices in both the mainstream media and on social media. The writer of this New York Times article went so far as to argue that pedophilia should be protected under the American with Disabilities Act. But wait! There’s more (unfortunately).
In a demented – or perhaps brilliant move, MAPs are now attempting to ride the hugely successful wave of the LGBT+ community. They even have their own “Pride” flag for Gay Pride Month and are clinging tenaciously to LGTB+ coattails as they work hard to convince the community to include them.
All while branding those who disagree as hateful, demented, right-wing conspiracy kooks.
But they lose in the end.
“How terrible it will be for those who call evil good and good evil, who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness, who substitute what is bitter for what is sweet and what is sweet for what is bitter!
How terrible it will be for those who are wise in their own opinion, and clever in their own reckoning… who acquit the guilty for a bribe and deprive the innocent of justice!” – Isaiah 5:20-23
(cover image taken from youtube video interview linked within this post)