- - Sunday, September 20, 2020

In a Sept. 16 op-ed in The Washington Post, Maimouna Doucoure stoutly defended her controversial film “Cuties,” which debuted a week earlier on Netflix. It has come under deserved fire for its hyper-sexualized depiction of prepubescent 10- and 11-year-old girls. You read that right: Her film. “Cuties” — which surely will qualify as “must-see TV” for pedophiles everywhere — demonstrates that women can be perverts, too. But the larger problem with the enterprise is what it says about the state of America’s culture.

Moral standards give society a foundation by which various groups can coexist and interact, and the dangers of its erosion can be seen in the strident activism and cancel culture that dominates current social and mainstream media. “Cuties” is just an extreme example of that same indifference to and lack of understanding of what is right and wrong. Kids are affected and so is broader society.

Ms. Doucoure insists, counterintuitively, that her feature-film directorial debut was well-intentioned. “I wanted to make a film in the hope of starting a conversation about the sexualization of children,” she wrote, as though it plays out as a cautionary tale.

“The movie certainly has started a debate, though not the one I intended,” Ms. Doucoure laments.

For those who haven’t — and rightly won’t — watch “Cuties,” here’s a description of the film from Variety:

“‘Cuties’ follows an 11-year-old Senegalese girl living in Paris who joins a ‘free-spirited dance crew’ (called ‘the Cuties’) .

“In the film, the conflicted protagonist, Amy, and the Cuties perform dance routines in which they simulate sex, and in the scenes, the camera shots focus on their crotch areas.

“It also portrays preteen characters in other sexual situations. For example, in one scene, Amy takes a picture of her genitals and then posts the photo on social media (although no explicit images are shown); earlier in the same scene, she makes a sexual come-on to her adult cousin to avoid getting punished for stealing his phone.”

The preteen girls in the film are well below the age of consent to be filmed performing these acts, so what decent parents would allow their young daughters to star in such trash?

And what accounts for the deafening (and disgraceful) silence of Barack and Michelle Obama on the “Cuties” controversy? Why haven’t they spoken out about its negative impact on kids and about a Hollywood that seems more than willing to cash in on such material. The former president and first lady are bigwigs at Netflix, with their own movie- and TV-production company, Higher Ground, thanks to what CNN described as “a high 8-figure deal” inked in May 2019. (That means upwards of $100 million.)

Why haven’t the Obamas called on Netflix to remove “Cuties” from its platform? It would give them the perfect opportunity to call attention to what happens when society fails its young. Could it be because they’re unwilling to bite the hand that feeds their $100 million sweetheart deal? Higher ground, indeed.

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