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The Flaw in the Defense of “Cuties”

Anyone justifying the existence of Cuties is missing a crucial aspect of the puzzle. The plot is the same thing as “Bend It Like Beckham”, but meaner. We all know the huge problem with it–it sexualizes twelve- and thirteen-year-olds in the context of modern dance.

Its defenders say the movie is actually a critique of the hypersexualization young women. That it’s presenting the content in a negative light. It’s about the “dangers” of such activity.

That’s bullshit.

There are 2-3 minute montages of them dancing outside, on stairs, on a stage. Wearing revealing outfits. Twerking, thrusting their hips, gesturing to their vaginas. That’s not criticism, that’s a music video.

You know how I know? You could tell the same story using magic and nothing would have to change. Have the girls practice close-up illusions, card tricks, coin tricks, prestidigitation, escapology, levitation through a hula hoop, street/guerilla performances. Have them trick the security guard by doing the “pick a card” routine and he’s so impressed he leaves them alone. Montages of cards flying through the air, getting trapped in the box, as they learn their skills. You could even keep the same “rebelling against religious values” theme since magic is “witchcraft” or “grifting”. And the ending is a bunch of adorable little Zatannas on stage doing their final routine. Instead of debasing women, it’s empowering.

Another reason how I know? No one ever has experiences any negative consequences for their actions. In fact, the characters are rewarded. They twerk for a security guard to get out of trouble. One takes a cell phone pictures of her genitals and posts it to social media to get popular. The main character pushes someone in the river. They take a picture of a boy’s private parts.

No one ever gets in trouble for this. The movie never shows “Thirty Years Later” when they’re all strippers and strung out on heroin.

Another, less used defense is that the film is French, so there’s a cultural divide in how sexuality is perceived over there. I say, if this is acceptable content in your culture, maybe your culture sucks. Just because it won a Sundance award doesn’t mean quality. Suicide Squad won an Oscar too.

Don’t pretend this movie is trying to be Kids. The intended audience is the same as the child beauty pageant judges in South Park’s “Dead Celebrities” episode.

Eric Juneau is a software engineer and novelist on his lunch breaks. In 2016, his first novel, Merm-8, was published by eTreasures. He lives in, was born in, and refuses to leave, Minnesota. You can find him talking about movies, video games, and Disney princesses at where he details his journey to become a capital A Author.

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