Netflix

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    Let’s talk about Netflix’s new UK teen dramedy series, Sex Education. Still in the post-binge glow, I’ve been describing it to all my friends as the child of The End of the Fucking World and Please Like Me. Could I give a show higher praise? No, I could not.

    The show is centered on Otis (Asa Butterfield), a 16-year-old living with his divorced mother Jean (Gillian Anderson), who runs her sex therapy practice out of their home. Growing up in such an environment has made Otis oddly knowledgeable about sex and relationships, despite the fact that he is single, a virgin, and extremely uncomfortable with his own sexuality (he cannot stand to masturbate and hates getting erections).

    In the first few days of a new schoolyear at Moordale Secondary School, Otis’ talent for giving sex advice is discovered by Maeve (Emma Mackey), the troubled cool girl who is secretly a genius. Maeve quickly finds a way to monetize this, and so she and Otis team up to run a sex therapy practice for their fellow students. Each of the eight episodes in the first season involves at least one client with varying degrees of serial plot relevance. Otherwise, the plot explores the relationship dynamics between friends, families, and love interests.

    maeve3 9da8bMaeve in Netflix's Sex Education

    Of course, there are some classic teen shenanigans and familiar plotlines along the way, but Sex Education manages to feel entirely fresh, due in large part to its intersectional characters and mature handling of often belittled teenage problems.

    This show has some of the best drawn LGBTQIA+ characters I’ve seen since Please Like Me, which ended in 2016 after four glorious seasons. (Please Like Me is an Australian dramedy created by comedian Josh Thomas, and it can be streamed on Hulu. It’s not the intention of this piece for me to gush about it, but really, you should add it to your must-watch list.) There are several gay and lesbian characters and couples on the show, all of whom are developed outside of their sexuality and accurately reflect different stages of life. Not only does this feel much more representative of the real world, it ensures no LGBTQIA+ character is tokenized.

    Most notably, Otis’ best friend, Eric (Ncuti Gatwa), is black, flamboyantly gay, comes from a religious family, and has one of the best, most heart-wrenching character arcs of the season (if you thought Barb deserved better in Stranger Things, prepare yourself to be outraged). Though he fits the “gay best friend” archetype, the stereotypical nature of Eric’s character begins and ends there. Eric gets to explore religion, internalized fear and anger, and the effects of trauma, all while being one of the most pure and funny central characters on the show. As an added bonus, his friendship with a young man (Otis) is never questioned; Otis is never made to wonder if Eric might be interested in him, and we get to see Otis not only willingly, but willfully, participate in queer culture at Eric’s request. Everything about them screams Friendship Goals.

    Eric2 999b7Eric in Netflix's Sex Education

    I can’t talk about Sex Education and Goals without bringing up Ola (Patricia Allison), a supporting character in five of the eight episodes. Ola is everything we should strive to be: hilarious, forward, unapologetic, and self-aware. She makes it clear to Otis that she’s interested in him, then easily counters his opinion on school dances (not a fan) with her own (big fan). She doesn’t fall into the trap of trying to mask her thoughts to appease others, especially the boy she likes, which feels revolutionary in a female teenage character who isn’t made out to be a rebel or “man-hater.”

    Ola goes to said dance in a badass tux, which no one finds odd (no side comments nor side-eye are given), again normalizing something that most teen shows turn into a plot point or an overbearing declaration of inclusivity. In the midst of the dance, she confronts Otis about an issue that poses a threat to their burgeoning relationship, and when he unwittingly insults her by trying to downplay the situation, she recognizes it as bad behavior and doesn’t stand for it. Ola is an instant role model and icon.

    ola3 40b44Ola in Netflix's Sex Education

    The issues Sex Education’s characters face are equally well-crafted and diverse. We’re talking abortion, consent, stalking, sexual blackmail, mental health, classism, homophobia… the list goes on. Each issue is handled with sensitivity and tact, pulling on heartstrings without the feeling of being manipulated into caring. Like The End of the Fucking World (another Netflix Original I highly recommend), the series carries weight because it hits on some of the most contentious social issues of today through the perspective of one of the most vulnerable and impressionable populations: teenagers.

    Sex Education is the kind of aspirational television that shows the best of intersectional feminism. I could go on and on about the other characters and specific meaningful moments, of which there are several poignant things to write about (I haven’t even had a chance to mention that the show is helmed by Laurie Nunn and its writing team is made up almost entirely of women!), but this piece has to end somewhere. Suffice it to say, to not get a second season of Sex Education would be the crime of the century, and so I humbly implore you to go binge-watch it now.

    Top image: Sex Education

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    "Grace and Frankie" Star June Diane Raphael Is Done Playing "Nice" Women

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    June Diane Raphael has a lot going on right now. In 2018, the actress, writer, and producer co-founded a co-working space for women; she has a film coming out this June with Charlize Theron and Seth Rogen; and she's currently working on a book for women looking to run for office, out this September. And—of course—there’s Season 5 of Grace and Frankie, the show starring Raphael as Brianna, the snarky, CEO daughter of the titular Grace (Jane Fonda), returning to Netflix this weekend.

    “There’s a tension between Brianna and Grace that exists in the cosmetic company, Say Grace, that [Brianna] takes over. You’ll see in this season that Grace comes back to ‘help,’ in quotation marks, and I’m really excited for people to see how that grows and develops. I think you see a different side to both [Brianna and Grace], and what this business means to both of these women,” Raphael tells BUST. There’s also, she mentions, a lot more of Barry (Peter Cambor), the Say Grace accountant who gradually becomes Brianna’s serious boyfriend. “You get to see what this relationship is doing to Brianna and how being in a long-term, committed relationship is completely terrifying for her.”

    Grace and Frankie has generated a lot of buzz the past several years—the show is hilarious, but also depicts the importance of female friendship and, as Raphael says, non-traditional familial relationships. “You’re seeing Grace and Frankie in the later years of their lives, creating a home that is outside the norms of society, outside the options that we think we’re given,” she says. 

    Recently, viewers have also seen Grace’s other daughter, Mallory (Brooklyn Decker), find herself in unfamiliar terrain after leaving her husband. “I think what’s interesting about both Brianna and Mallory is that now they’re both in vulnerable places. Having a boyfriend, for Brianna, is the scariest state to be in. And Mallory is single, and that’s equally terrifying for her,” Raphael says.

    Raphael’s character has been a fan favorite since the show’s first season aired in 2015. “I think what people have really responded to about her is seeing a woman very boldly live her life unapologetically, and with humor and humanity, in her own way,” Raphael says. “I also think portraying a woman who’s in her thirties and doesn’t want to have kids and is choosing a different lifestyle, one there’s a lot of stigma attached to, has really connected to a lot of people.”

    Brianna is also many things—entrepreneurial, witty, a little brazen—but she isn’t nice, which, Raphael says, speaks to her. “As I get older and older, I’m not interested in being nice. I get very tired of the idea of, ‘Oh, she’s a strong female character. She’s empowered and this and that,’” she says. “Women are flawed and human and deeply interesting because of it. Those are the characters I respond to, and that’s the type of work I’m interested in.”

    636528338322578757 netflix pic 1 f359cPhoto via Netflix / Grace and Frankie

    The idea that women shouldn’t have to be sweet in order to be respected is one that Raphael advocates for offscreen, too. Specifically, she wants to change the way we view motherhood and raising children. “I think motherhood needs to be seen as a political force, and not a saccharine, sweet sacrifice we all do—but an important and valued part of our lives,” she says.

    Raphael has two young children, and the older was only ten weeks old when she started filming the first season of Grace and Frankie. “I was in the throes of being a new mom and entering a new workforce and having to really navigate that. And as a white woman, I think I’ve lived a very privileged life, and I’ve had many privileges—through no merit of my own—that I’ve enjoyed,” Raphael explains. “For me, it wasn’t until motherhood that the patriarchal system was so crystallized.”

    It was then that Raphael began to notice how many industries were not built to support working mothers, which inspired the initial idea for the Jane Club, a clubhouse with conference rooms, communal working spaces, exclusive programs and events, and affordable childcare in-house. “It is a space that’s been created for women, and I think when we look around, most spaces were not,” Raphael says. “I also think it’s incredible to see men come into our space, because I believe that it’s so valuable and important for men to come into a space that has been designed for women, and to see the difference.”

    When creating the Jane Club, Raphael wanted to evoke the idea of the village—of, if you have the means, reaching out for help and support when raising a child. “It has been a really intense year,” she says when I ask how she made time for it all—Grace and Frankie, her upcoming film, her forthcoming book. “But I’m also lifted and supported by this incredible woman. I have a full-time nanny, and she’s incredibly important to me. I really value domestic workers and their rights, and their place in our lives, and the work that they do.”

    Accepting and acknowledging this support, Raphael says, is paramount. “I wish more women would talk about the help in their lives,” she adds. “I think that a lot of women my age have been plagued by this phrase of having it all and doing it all, and I actually find it kind of reckless and irresponsible to tell women that’s possible without creating any institutions and infrastructure that can actually help that.”

    Raphael’s book, Represent: The Woman’s Guide to Running for Office and Changing the World, will also aim to support women: specifically, women running for office. She wrote the book with her friend Kate Black, the former chief of staff at EMILY’s List, and it will include everything from a guide to elevator pitches to pep talks to advice from prominent women already in office.

    “A piece of advice that I have found inspiring is the idea that men are not waiting—they are not waiting to feel qualified, they are not waiting for someone to ask them, they’re not waiting to finish the course on something or even finish a book on something. They’re just going,” Raphael says. “The biggest thing I’ve taken away from this whole experience is the confidence in just saying, ‘I’m ready.’”

    Grace and Frankie’s fifth season will be available to stream on Netflix on Friday, January 18.

    Top photo via Netflix / Grace and Frankie

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    Everyone thinks they know Tan France. As the fashion expert on Netflix’s Queer Eye, he’s famous for his sharp style and wit, which has earned the designer legions of fans—and has positioned his signature touch, the French tuck (tucking your shirt in, just in the front), firmly in viewers’ lexicons. But in the 36-year-old’s new memoir, Naturally Tan (St. Martin’s Press), he demonstrates just how much we don’t learn about him on the show. If you want to know his real story, you’re going to have to hear it the way it’s best told: in his own words.

    “When it comes to telling my own personal story, I realize you probably don’t actually know much about me,” he says of his readers once we’re seated after his BUST photo shoot. “There are many stories of gay white men. But there haven’t been any of my people. And so I felt like it was my responsibility to make sure that it was told in my way.”

    In his memoir, France chronicles what it was like growing up gay and Pakistani in a small, predominantly white town in South Yorkshire, England, before moving to Salt Lake City as an adult and marrying the love of his life, who persuaded him to audition for Queer Eye. There are also, of course, tons of fashion tips, but if you know anything about France’s style advice, it’s about much more than just following trends. “I’ve spent my whole life understanding the importance of style on my mood, and it’s so nice to be on a show where I can share this with people and say, ‘Just pop something on that makes you feel good. I promise it’s going to change the way you view yourself,’” he explains. “I think people see fashion as such a shallow thing, and it’s not. It means so much more than getting dressed in the morning.”

    Readers also learn all about France’s friendships with his castmates, and his surprise at the show’s breakout success—but these days, the Queer Eyebuzz is no longer a shock to anyone. The program’s third season dropped in March, and the latest installment shows the boys at their best. In one of the most moving episodes yet, the Fab Five works with Jess, Queer Eye’s first lesbian makeover subject, and according to France, it was crucial to showcase her story. “So many times, people who are not part of our community assume that we all know each other’s struggle. We’re all individuals, every one of us—your experience coming out was different from Jess’ experience, and my experience, and Antoni [Porowski of Queer Eye]’s experience,” he says. “I’m hoping that soon, gone are the days when people just assume LGBTQ means we’re all the same. I want to highlight that every one of our stories is different, and we should be open to listening to those stories.”

    As for publishing his own story, France tells me it was never necessarily a life goal of his to write a book—but he’s excited that he did. Because right now, he says, “this story isn’t told enough. These stories aren’t told enough.”

    By Lydia Wang
    Photographed by Yudi Ela // Styled by Heather Newberger
    Top photo: Suit by David Hart // Polo by Rag & Bone // Shoes by Gola

    This article originally appeared in the May/June 2019 print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today!

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    The Umbrella Academy is a wild ride in a fantastic world with well-drawn characters who viewers start rooting for early on. But more than that, even with superpowers, time travel, and a talking monkey in a three-piece suit, this Netflix TV series is one of mass market pop culture’s few realistic looks into what it means when adoption is not a fairy tale ending.

    Movies centering around the topic of adoption tend to focus on the parents (to be), and most often end with the adoption being legally completed, either after struggles around conception, or with rebellious teenagers successfully welcomed into the house. Recent entries in the multiple-kids-arrive genre include last year’s Instant Family (with Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne), where fostering teenagers is depicted as a process where love and dad jokes can triumph, heading towards judge-officiated adoption as the conclusion with the same pace that a ’90s romcom barrels towards the wedding day. Another recently concluded TV show, The Fosters, which followed a queer couple and their biological and foster kids, also spent the bulk of the series focusing on the ephemerality and challenges of the foster status, and the process of the kids’ integration into the household. While the show did move into a post-adoption period, it didn’t shift the original theme substantively. 

    In its depiction of each kid’s ultimate loneliness and sense of not belonging anywhere, The Umbrella Academy possibly relates most closely to Short Term 12, an indie favorite with Brie Larson, which is set in a short term group home for foster kids, a place where some residents spin fairy tales to share their unfathomable past. A Series of Unfortunate Events, another book-turned-Netflix show, is closest to the narrative of The Umbrella Academy—and, at times, is similar in style to it as well—which opens with the main characters moving under guardianship, only for them to spend the series trying to escape, fighting for legal independence over being adopted by a loving family. Overall, if it is ever reached, adoption in popular media is the endgame, the happy ending where we can part from the characters with a sense of completion as the credits start to roll.

    The Umbrella Academy—based on Gerard Way’s comic book of the same name—chooses another path, setting up adoption as the terrible beginning. It centers on seven children with extraordinary abilities who were all born on the same day to mothers not yet pregnant when the day started. Hearing of these mystical births, eccentric billionaire Reginald Hargreeves seeks out and purchases and adopts the infants (in a manner more resembling child-trafficking), to raise them as a team of crime-fighting vigilantes. The kids are trained roughly, sent into combat early, and are provided a robot “mother” so Hargreeves doesn’t have to worry about caregiving. Hargreeves refers to the kids by numbers One through Seven, assigned in order of their value to him, seeing no need to give them names. Rebelling against the life set out for them, most of the children leave the creaky house behind one by one, losing ties with one another. When we meet them in the series, they are about to turn thirty (except Number Five, who is simultaneously a tween and in his fifties due to time travel). They are seeing each other for the first time in years on the occasion of their adoptive father’s passing.

    It is only six of the seven, however, who gather, because Number Six did not make it back from one of their childhood missions. The mandatory, inescapable danger Hargreeves puts the children through, coupled with a home life completely devoid of love, becomes a representation of neglect and abuse in unloving homes everywhere. By using flashbacks, The Umbrella Academy skillfully captures a family that looks cohesive to those on the outside but is dismal to those living in it. The obvious emotional neglect comes through within minutes in the first episode, where the father is unwilling to even look up from his notes when the kids line up at his office door to wish him good night. We learn not much later that asking their humanoid mom how her day was prompts her to systematically recount data on the exact time of sunset that day and the items of the dinner menu, never letting the kids forget that they are ultimately talking to a robot. 

    Images of abuse come soon after, and it is a major strength of the show that it doesn’t shortchange the experience of abuse in an unloving home with quick flashbacks to violent outbursts, but shows the complexity of intertwined emotional and physical abuse. The father regularly points out everyone’s weaknesses to them, and explicitly states that one of kids, Number Seven/Vanya (Ellen Page), is simply “not special” and he sees no point in her even training with the others. The depiction culminates in a scene where the kids in training have mandatory tattoos grafted onto them, crying from the pain, while Vanya, hiding out of sight, longingly outlines the same pattern on her skin with a marker, wishing she was “worthy” of being tattooed as well. The scene uniquely captures the way long-term abuse with little exposure to what a non-violent home could look like conditions what is considered “normal.”

    In Short Term 12, at least the kids have someone to tell stories to. In The Umbrella Academy, each sibling is so focused on their own problem that they can’t hear each other’s pleas for help. Midway through the season, one of the now adult siblings, Klaus, is kidnapped by assassins and held captive for more than a day. Although five of the siblings have now been living together in their late father’s house for several days, none of them notice his absence. They are so occupied with little things and enormous events alike that they never end up realizing he was ever gone. Painfully, sitting tied to the chair in the assassins’ hotel room, Klaus is correct in knowing that none of his siblings will realize his absence. Klaus ultimately escapes with no help from outside forces, being the living metaphor for the experience of kids in unloving homes who know better than to hope for an action movie hero to rescue them.

    One of the subtlest yet most powerful aspects of the show is the showcase of the long-lasting impact their upbringing had on the siblings, both in terms of repercussions that impact them negatively and coping strategies they found to make it though. Remnants of the past lead to drug use, severe trust issues and repression of emotions, dropping out of college when they could have aced the major, and a disbelief in one’s self-worth. Regardless, what they ultimately learn is that coping means being kinder to themselves, as well as leaning on each other in ways they couldn’t and wouldn’t for years. The final moments of the season stand as a question of choosing trust or fear, and it seems that the Hargreeves kids have learned their lesson – the way forward is accepting their past and moving forward, believing that they can, together.

    Top photo via Netflix / The Umbrella Academy

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    Unbelievable spoilers ahead.

    Netflix recently released a mini-series, Unbelievable, based on The Marshall Project/ProPublica article “An Unbelievable Story of Rape.” The series tells the true story of Marie Adler who was raped and then, when she tried to report her case, was silenced by male policemen and shunned, only to be validated years later by two female detectives.

    Marie (Kaitlyn Dever) has spent her life in the foster care system and then living on her own. When we meet her, she was just assaulted by a man who, we later learn, was a serial rapist: she’s brave enough to report it after the horrific night, but isn’t believed. She details the night to the police, who convince her that’s she’s crazy and lying, and perhaps dreamt the incident.

    As Marie says later, this ruined her life. She loses friends and credibility, and is charged with making a false accusation and fined $500. The mini-series starts with Marie’s case and then fast-forwards a few years to another very similar assault in a different state: but this victim (Danielle Macdonald) is believed by a compassionate female detective (Merritt Wever), who decides to stop at nothing to find the assailant. She teams up with another detective (Toni Collette) to get to the bottom of the story.

    Before her path crosses with these detectives, Marie, who is charged with lying, is mandated to go to therapy, and she's surprised with a therapist who's able to get her to open up and who ultimately believes Marie's story. The therapist says, "I just wonder if there’s a way to think about it, about how you might manage this kind of injustice, if it were to happen again,” and Marie answers that she’d just lie even earlier on, because the truth is inconvenient.

    Social psychologist Ines Hercovich, who studies sexual violence against women, examines in her Ted Talk why women stay silent after sexual assault: psychologically, she says, it’s due to awareness, shock, and going mute. Silence might even start to turn into a safe haven for victims, especially if and when they aren't believed. On Unbelievable, we really see a difference between what happens to survivors who are believed and the ones who are written off from the start. 

    The real Marie Adler responded to the Netflix mini-series show, calling it "excellent"; she said it was hard to watch, but that she was glad she did. She responded to a few scenes in particular, including the conclusion when — spoiler — the assailant is caught, and onscreen Marie is brought to justice. "Seeing him get put away, that was closure for me," she said.

    Unbelievable is available to stream on Netflix now.

    Top photo via Netflix / Unbelievable

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    Trigger Warning: scenes in film of child sexual exploitation discussed. 

    Spoiler Alert! Pivotal scenes mentioned. 

    Cuties(2020) was written and directed by Maimouna Doucoure, a French-Senegalese filmmaker. The film is described as a coming-of-age drama starring Fathia Youssouf as the main character, Amy, an eleven-year-old Senegalese immigrant. Unsatisfied with the prayer, piety and religious customs of her Muslim culture, Amy becomes obsessed with her neighbor Angelica (Medina El Aidi-Azouni). At school, Amy finds that Angelica is a member of a twerking dance troupe called ‘Cuties,’ which glares in bright contrast to Amy’s religious upbringing. The girls on the team are adamant about finding success through social media, learning that the more they expose themselves, the more attention they get. In the film, this escalates to a dangerous level of sexual exploitation. 

    Growing up as a preteen in Western culture is difficult, add social media on top of that and it’s a nightmare, so I came into this film with empathy. I also came into this film with a feminist mindset after seeing tweets from actress Tessa Thompson and Karen Attiah. Each supported the film calling it “beautiful.” 

    As a woman viewing the film, I saw children trying to imitate the adults they see on television and social media. Was it uncomfortable? Yes, but it was supposed to be. If I was Amy, growing up with music videos filled with twerking and songs like “WAP,” “Savage,” “Like That,” and “7 Rings” I would definitely try twerking in a mirror alone if not with my friends. I certainly tried reenacting some of Britney Spears more risqué music videos when I was eleven-years-old. Thank the goddesses I didn’t have social media! 

    Another concern with the film was whether it qualified as child pornography or not. I would say no, the film itself is not child pornography but there is a scene that depicts it happening. Toward the end of the film, Amy takes a picture of her vulva (not shown), posting it on social media and alienating all her classmates. Unbeknownst to Amy, she has just shared and created child pornography. However, the director addresses the content of the film in a Youtube video on the Netflix Film Club account, saying, while researching for the film she “met hundreds of pre-teens who told me their stories. I needed to know how they felt about their own femininity in today’s society and how they dealt with their self-image at a time when social media is so important. Our girls see that the more a woman is overly sexualized on social media, the more she’s successful. And the children just imitate what they see.” In the interview, Doucoure also questions, “Isn’t the objectification of a woman’s body that we often see in our Western culture not another kind of oppression?”

    After watching the film and listening to Doucoure's interview, I’m convinced that the outrage is a problem of men viewing women as sexual objects rather than the girls being depicted as sexual objects. I’m more settled in the fact that, in general, men are so obsessed with the control of the feminine body that any signs of it being used to provoke their interest, even in the body of a child, arouses their anger. Either these men are ashamed for their sexual desire for children, and angered from that shame, or it is an instance where they are simply angry and threatened because they are not in control of feminine expression. The power of movies comes from what is shown and what is not shown. If bloody scenes of war are shown with glorification in film, then why not depict the way the online world affects a child’s mind and actions through film as well? 

    As I unfold the feminist foundations of the film, I am unshockingly finding that most of the comments that were concerned about the movies’ exploitation of children were from United States Republican Senators. 

    U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tex tweeted that “Cutiessexualizes 11-year-old girls, which is disgusting and wrong. That’s why I’ve asked [Attorney General] Bar to investigate whether Netflix, its executives or the filmmaker violated any federal laws against the production and distribution of child pornography,” 

    Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., questioned Netflix CEO Reed Hastings via letter on why the platform is airing a film “depicting children being coached to engage in simulated sexual acts.” He captioned the tweet: “Netflix should explain why it is distributing a film, Cuties, that appears to sexually exploit children and endanger child welfare.”

    Even more dramatically, U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., tweeted “Last year, Netflix lectured conservative states for passing pro-life laws to protect unborn children. Now Netflix peddles child pornography. At least Netflix is consistent.”

    The only notable comment against the film that I’ve taken into consideration was from the National Center of Sexual Exploitation stating that“While we commend Director Maimouna Doucoure for exposing the very real threats to young girls having unfettered access to social media and the internet, we cannot condone the hyper-sexualization and exploitation of the young actresses themselves in order to make her point.”  The nonprofit drives home, “The audience does not need to see the very long scenes with close-up shots of the girls’ bodies; this does nothing to educate the audience on the harms of sexualization.”  

    A necessary comment though is that The National Center of Sexual Exploitation is mostly led by white men and the CEO and president Patrick A. Trueman has ties to the Republican Party. Therefore, again, I’m confronted with white men’s opinions on the fictional narrative of a preteen girl and I’m not thrilled by it. 

    If anything, Cuties shows how refusing to talk to young girls about sex, the dangers of social media, and rather attempting to shelter them from the world is partly to blame for harmful behavior and exploitation. This is exactly what Doucoure intended the film to do. 

    This concern rings loudly in a scene where the girls are hanging out in a public park. Coumba (Esther Gohourou) picks up a condom and calls it a ‘boob’ while proceeding to blow on it. The girls are horrified running away from Coumba, one yelling, “you’re going to get cancer or AIDS!” Coumba, tears in her eyes, responds to her friend's fear, “How was I supposed to know that? It isn’t my fault that I didn’t know what it was.” The girls proceed to scrub her tongue with a scrub brush, hand soap, and water. 

    If young girls are exposed to sexualized content, whether parents like it or not, then they need to be exposed to real and honest conversations about sex and sexual exploitation. 

    Being a preteen and teenager is so difficult and confusing. I’m certainly glad I’m a grown woman now, but I can neither berate fictional girls or real girls for trying to imitate the women they see because I did it too. This film certainly isn’t for children, but it makes you consider how the sexualization of the feminine body has affected you at those pivotal ages, and that is absolutely an important topic to discuss and evaluate. If this is the evolution of pop-culture and social media, then talking to young girls about it is essential to their safety and well-being.

     

    Header image courtesy of IMDB

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