The Plugged In Show, Episode 41: Entertainment’s Sexualization of Young Girls

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Just from the name, Netflix’s Cuties would sound like it’d be … cute, right? Cute is what we call babies. Puppies. Maybe the occasional small orange.

But Cuties, a French coming-of-age film about an 11-year-old girl who joins a preteen dance troupe, stirred a not-so-cute controversy well ahead of its Sept. 9 Netflix airdate. The movie’s poster and, to a lesser extent, trailer, triggered a massive backlash, with critics charging that Netflix was sexualizing the young girls at the story’s heart.

Netflix withdrew the poster and apologized. Some who have seen the film say that it’s a poignant story about growing up in a sexualized, social-media-saturated world. And while that’s all fine and good, Plugged In still sees a problem here. After all, Cuties is hardly the first entertainment product to sexualize girls too young to even fully understand what sex is.

That’s the topic of this week’s lively discussion on The Plugged In Show, where strong opinions fly and everyone has a say. We’d invite you to join our conversation by clicking here. Oh, and of course, be looking for a review on Cuties shortly after the film airs.

Paul Asay

Paul Asay has been part of the Plugged In staff since 2007, watching and reviewing roughly 15 quintillion movies and television shows. He’s written for a number of other publications, too, including Time, The Washington Post and Christianity Today. The author of several books, Paul loves to find spirituality in unexpected places, including popular entertainment, and he loves all things superhero. His vices include James Bond films, Mountain Dew and terrible B-grade movies. He’s married, has two children and a neurotic dog, runs marathons on occasion and hopes to someday own his own tuxedo. Feel free to follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.