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Rheel Talk: Cuties

So I watched Cuties in its entirety. I can see why a lot of people are clutching their pearls and saying it’s too much. However, if you were paying attention, you’d see it’s Amy’s POV the entire time. When you see it from this lens, it is the perspective of an 11-year-old girl trying to find her way. She’s trying to fit in with the other popular girls who —like many kids — were exposed to sex and sexualization early (porn, dancing provocatively, etc.).

The movie is her journey contending with everything — estranged parents, tradition, her own womanhood, etc. Yes. A lot of the scenes cross the line. Yes, a lot of the scenes are uncomfortable. That. Is. The. Point. A lot of you don’t remember what it’s like being 11. If your parents were busy working or estranged or your home life wasn’t good, what did you turn to? MTV or VH1, and you watched a lot of stuff you shouldn’t have to prove you were grown.

The behavior the girls are imitating is no different than when we were kids. It isn’t. The difference? We have social media now. Also, if you watch teen shows like Euphoria or 13 Reasons Why, this behavior is pretty on-brand. A lot of the characters’ backstories in Euphoria mirror Amy’s, and there are some story lines that push the envelope in that show as well.

To be clear, I’m not saying your feelings about this movie aren’t valid. They are. I’m not endorsing this movie. You’re supposed to be uncomfortable because these experiences DO HAPPEN. And they happen All. The. Time. The reason a lot of you are so outraged about it is that this is not your experience as a kid, and so it is hard to relate to what you’re seeing. It’s hard for people to imagine kids with Amy’s same experience.

Instead of being outraged, take this opportunity to have age-appropriate conversations about what happens in the movie. Teach your kids that there are consequences to this behavior. If you don’t know how to have age-appropriate conversations with your kid(s) about these topics, find an adultier adult (therapists or others in the social sciences) and get some resources that will give you the tools to have these conversations.

Your feelings are your feelings and they are valid. Watch it, don’t watch it. Whatever bakes your cake. But before you condemn something, watch the source material to come to your own conclusion.

Appalachian Love and Mine,


Image Credit: Netflix

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