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Updated: Dec 18, 2020

The French movie Cuties is the 30-second scandal of the moment. For conservatives, Cuties, the story of an 11-year-old girl’s adventures with a twerk troupe, represents absolute zero for moral decay in the West; for the most part, they’re playing the left’s rhetorical game.

The film’s main protagonist is a black African girl from a Muslim family, so Cuties is telling us what progressives intend for new African immigrants in France. Hardly any will actually watch it; Cuties was made for the progressive intelligentsia to applaud, and the masses will get a cruder version.

At first, the main protagonist in Cuties rejects her family’s Islamic faith and African traditions in exchange for twerking on social media with a multiracial crew of French girls, but, ultimately, she gives that up as well. At the end of the film, she rejects her family, refusing to attend her father’s second wedding (with her mother’s blessing, an attack on the patriarchy); but she also rejects the hypersexualised world of social media. Instead, she goes out with her hair down wearing jeans and t-shirt to play skipping rope: she has become a paradigmatic liberated feminist woman, neither bound to the traditions of Islam nor a sex object in the secular market place. 

Generously, you could say that the message is that children should just be allowed to play skipping rope and not become sex objects or be forced to take part in traditional religions. Doubtless the director will insist that this is the innocent message of the film, but Cuties is also a slap in the face for God and nature: the uniting theme is a rejection of traditional religion (Islam) and beauty (pagan-Darwinian social media twerking). 

Cuties sets up a false dichotomy: traditional religion versus the sexual market place, with both presented as facets of the patriarchy. The film’s creators knew conservatives would be up in arms about child sexualisation. They counted on that. They can now point to the plot’s conclusion—the innocent, non-sexualised child at play—and laugh at the reactionaries who didn’t get it: “Look, we were really condemning twerking; it’s for the male gaze, and we hate that! Stupid bigots didn’t even watch the film!” This dialectic has been used before, it will be used again; it’s tar for conservatives to get stuck in. The real issue is the girl as property, not hem-lengths or bikinis or the age a girl begins to dance provocatively; to worry about those issues is to be caught in the progressive dialectic, merely asking: “How much is too much, and when?”

Progressives sentimentalise women, blacks, and children. For progressives, childhood now runs from birth to about 21. In actuality, a 12-year-old is a young lady, not a child, as you can tell when you consider that the age of consent for marriage in Britain was 12 until 1875; it had been that way since the 1200s. Progressives want to tell you that the protagonist in Cuties is “just a child” who should be left alone to play skipping rope dressed like a boy; but that’s not reality, and progressives say this because they can’t face reality: the need for relationships to be regulated. 

Progressives don’t want to sexualise children, as conservatives say they do; they want to destroy any manifestation of traditional sex roles and of nature, under the guise of protecting the innocence of an imagined childhood. Progressives would be delighted if Tik Tok and Tinder were banned for sexualising girls; it’s part of the same dialectic that stigmatises traditional religion. Their goal is a sterile androgynous thing that eats grey slop; twerking and Islam stand in the way of that, in different ways: the progressives are opposed to sexualisation in any form whatsoever. When the conservatives think in terms of sexualisation, they are locked into a game played on progressive terms. Sexualisation, a Puritan concern, is not the issue: the real issue is patriarchy and property; only radicals know that the last thing Cuties is about is sex.

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