Earlier this year, Maïmouna Doucouré’s film Cuties debuted at the Sundance film festival to overall critical acclaim. A coming-of-age tale that serves as a cautionary tale of the sexualization of young girls (Not unlike 2003’s Thirteen), most viewers understood Doucouré’s intentions. Following its debut and other international festivals, the film was acquired by Netflix for US distribution. However, months later, Netflix unveiled a poster that completely painted Cuties in a negative light. Not unlike the imagery displayed in shows such as Dance Moms or Toddler in Tiaras, there was an immediate backlash to the film, many viewers accusing Cuties of promoting pedophilia (without even seeing the movie first).
Despite the fact that Netflix removed it’s original marketing materials, the damage has already been done. Doucouré has received death threats, as well as many supporters and film critics (myself included). Following the headlines and the massive debate surrounding Cuties, Maïmouna Doucouré stands behind her work. Based on real-life experiences from her own youth, Cuties isn’t an unusual film with unusual circumstances. Was there this level of outrage outside the United States? Not at all. Perhaps it’s because of America’s Puritanical outlook on sexuality that sparked this mess.
In our media-driven society, children are being exposed to more at an earlier age. Cuties isn’t an endorsement of young sexuality but simply points out that it’s a very real issue that occurs all over the world. She was simply bold enough to go where so few directors go.
You can view the full article here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/cuties-director-maimouna-doucoure-why-i-made-the-film/2020/09/15/7e0ee406-f78b-11ea-a275-1a2c2d36e1f1_story.html