Netflix Cuties: Is Actually Really Good

BY VIVIAN EBISKE

IG: @WOAHITSVIVIAN



LOS ANGELES - You’re probably giving this article the side-eye because of the title, and I don’t blame you. Because of the promotion poster that Netflix circulated, numerous reaction videos you’ve probably seen on YouTube criticizing the poster and a few scenes, or articles that you’ve probably read, you’ve already gotten a bad and unfair first impression of this film.


Well, I'm here to tell you that you should let go of everybody else's opinion on this film (from pandering Senators to view-hungry YouTubers), and watch it for yourself. Once you watch it, you'll see that there is so much more to this film than just little eleven year old girls twerking and gyrating.


The film, "Cuties" (French: Mignonnes), directed by Maimouna Doucoure is revolved around a Senegalese-French eleven year old, Aminita, or Amy for short, who is raised in a traditional Muslim household with her --practically single-- mother and two brothers. They are waiting for their father to return from Senegal when, all of a sudden, they find out that their father will be coming back with a new addition to the family: a new wife.In my opinion, there is a particular concept that the director wanted to highlight from this plot line, which is the idea that Black women have to be strong and lead a stable life, no matter what. We see that with Amy and her mother.


When it comes to Amy’s mother, she is told by one of her aunts to “get a hold of herself” and call her extended family members so that she could get ahead of the news. Once she is left alone and finished with a phone call conveying this devastating news, she hits herself to stop from crying so she is not seen as a weakling. Not only did she have to call her family members about the news that her husband is marrying a second wife, but she also had to set up another room in the already small apartment for the new wife! Basically, the mother was expected to accept this unknown woman into her family and still remain emotionally stable.


With regard to Amy, she was expected to enthusiastically participate in the wedding by preparing food and wearing a dress that her father sent through a family member to the wedding ceremony.


With the news of her father marrying a second wife and taking care of her siblings, Amy was justified in going out and engaging in an activity that makes her happy. She sees that through watching the dance group, The Cuties, in action. Though she had a terrible first encounter with them when she was caught sneaking a peek of their routine, Amy was determined to impress them and get into the group.


Amy’s determination for a sense of belonging and doing something for herself is nothing different from what we did when we were her age -- or even doing now as young adults. Her determination to gain acceptance in the group entails wearing more revealing clothing and creating a new routine for an upcoming dance competition that involves some obscene dance moves that she has seen in music videos and on social media.


I’ll admit that the scenes where she is teaching the other girls the routine is very uncomfortable to watch; however, those scenes are needed because it’s a reflection of our reality. These dance moves are posted, duplicated, and praised on social media! Amy and the rest of the Cuties should not be persecuted for replicating these dance moves if society is giving them positive reinforcements, such as likes, comments, and shares. Plus, since they’re young, they’re ignorant to the sexual aspect of these dance moves.



With all of these concepts highlighted in this movie, it is important to note one central theme: Black women never have a choice concerning vital parts of their lives. Remember that Amy and her mother didn’t have a choice in accepting a new woman into their family or how to react to it, and Amy didn’t have a choice in assuming a motherly role and being seen as a sexual being at such a young age. This is the reality for many Black women, myself and the other women in my family included, and Maimouna Doucoure did an incredible job implementing this reality into the movie. It’s a shame that many people didn’t see that due to a hypersexual poster that Netflix circulated. Hopefully, you have gained a new perspective about this highly criticized film and strive to watch the movie through a new lens.


With regard to Amy, she was expected to enthusiastically participate in the wedding by preparing food and wearing a dress that her father sent through a family member to the wedding ceremony.


To add on to the idea of Black women being expected to lead a strong and stable life, they are also expected to assume a motherly role at a young age. Like many young Black girls, as the oldest, Amy had to take care of her younger brothers. She was tasked with grocery shopping, feeding her brothers, cleaning, and doing other house chores. Because young Black girls are tasked to do adult things at young ages, they mature quicker than girls from other races. Maturation comes with sexualization, which is another concept that the director wanted to focus on and what critics paid the most attention to from a surface-level standpoint.


With the news of her father marrying a second wife and taking care of her siblings, Amy was justified in going out and engaging in an activity that makes her happy. She sees that through watching the dance group, The Cuties, in action. Though she had a terrible first encounter with them when she was caught sneaking a peek of their routine, Amy was determined to impress them and get into the group.


Amy’s determination for a sense of belonging and doing something for herself is nothing different from what we did when we were her age -- or even doing now as young adults. Her determination to gain acceptance in the group entails wearing more revealing clothing and creating a new routine for an upcoming dance competition that involves some obscene dance moves that she has seen in music videos and on social media.


I’ll admit that the scenes where she is teaching the other girls the routine is very uncomfortable to watch; however, those scenes are needed because it’s a reflection of our reality. These dance moves are posted, duplicated, and praised on social media! Amy and the rest of the Cuties should not be persecuted for replicating these dance moves if society is giving them positive reinforcements, such as likes, comments, and shares. Plus, since they’re young, they’re ignorant to the sexual aspect of these dance moves.


With all of these concepts highlighted in this movie, it is important to note one central theme: Black women never have a choice concerning vital parts of their lives. Remember that Amy and her mother didn’t have a choice in accepting a new woman into their family or how to react to it, and Amy didn’t have a choice in assuming a motherly role and being seen as a sexual being at such a young age. This is the reality for many Black women, myself and the other women in my family included, and Maimouna Doucoure did an incredible job implementing this reality into the movie. It’s a shame that many people didn’t see that due to a hypersexual poster that Netflix circulated. Hopefully, you have gained a new perspective about this highly criticized film and strive to watch the movie through a new lens.




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