A poignant scene from ‘Cuties’ with Fathia Youssouf (l) who plays Amy and Maimouna Gueye, (r) who plays her mother

How “Cuties” Devastates With Sincerity About Being a Girl

Fighting social norms of over-exposure and traditions

Ezinne Ukoha
8 min readSep 23, 2020

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Mild spoilers

The Netflix offering Cuties, a revealing portrait of an evolving 11-year-old Senegalese girl, who lives in a low-income section of Paris with her mother, and younger brothers, has gained traction from the blessing or curse of being the subject of fiery debates, centering around its controversial angle on the classic coming-of-age treatment.

The unfounded backlash stems from the ire of conservative and far-right personalities, who most certainly wouldn’t have anything negative to share about Cuties if the film featured a white pre-teen, navigating the same tight-rope of emotions that are typically assigned to that specific stage in life, that all girls accommodate, regardless of race and creed.

I was aware of French-Senegalese director, Maïmouna Doucouré and her Sundance hit earlier in the year, way before a global pandemic became the sobering reality, and the growing interest to finally see it kept the critically-acclaimed film on my radar.

After the recent debut on Netflix, the reviews have been split between viewers who’ve actually treated themselves to Cuties with pure motives and genuine approach to an unbiased experience, and the troublemakers, who are raising hell, despite never having seen the entry.

Among the noisemakers are usual suspects like Republican politicians, Ted Cruz, who joins any bandwagon that aims to publicly shame anything or anyone that celebrates the spirit of creative expression, and refusal to be restrained by “holier than thou” demands.

Cruz drafted a letter to of all people, William Barr, the notorious U.S. Attorney General, who is undoubtedly too busy with ensuring that his mob boss, Donald Trump isn’t saddled with the consequences of his botched job as “Commander-in-Chief” during a national health crisis that resulted in the loss of 200,000 lives and counting.

“I urge the Department of Justice to investigate the production and distribution of this film to determine whether Netflix, its executives, or the individuals involved in the filming and production of ‘Cuties’ violated any federal laws against the production and…

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