On the heels of WAP getting ten’s of millions of views on YouTube being called “feminism and women taking charge of their sexuality” we are faced with ‘Cuties.’
I’m not saying the women who produced WAP have a responsibility to be role models but wouldn’t they want to be? With so much influence on such impressionable fans, girls who want to emulate their heroines, we are seeing the product of that in the portrayal of ‘tweens in ‘Cuties.’
I was clueless about the ‘Cuties’ movie until I read about the controversy on instagram. Like most, I was completely horrified over the 5 minute clip I watched. Before going into a complete tailspin, I did a bit of homework, reading about the director, Maïmouna Doucouré’s intention to shine a spotlight on the objectification of girls. She has told the world we are on the same side in this debate. I believe her.
When things like this strike a cord, I like to dig deeper and find out why, besides the obvious. The exploitation of women has been going on for millennia, as has the exploitation of children. What was it about this movie that was the last straw? The girls’ age of course. And I totally agree but at what age does such exploitation become acceptable? What age would those girls have to be for this to be just another money grab by Hollywood? 16? 18? I remember when Spring Breakers came out in 2012. I seemed to be the only one horrified over that movie, portraying college girls in such a way. But they were of age so what of it? And while I’m at it, what about the whole Girls Gone Wild franchise from the early 2000’s? Granted the age is different but those films and franchises made a lot of money and you can’t tell me the GGW films only filmed girls over 18. And they made millions (until they went bankrupt in 2013 and the company was sold surprisingly to a porn studio.)
When my first book came out, Trump had just gotten elected and the #MeToo was new and feminism was a hot topic. I wrote a dozen articles on what feminism means and doesn’t mean. And at the end of it,
FEMINISM is doing what you want to do and having the right to do it. No matter what it looks like.
The women who produced the WAP video have the right to do so, even if it hurts our children which it has. It’s up to parents to counteract the effect and educate our girls on how to make good choices based on a rock solid self-worth. And that’s the key – SELF. How many of us act from a strong sense of self? I know it took me forty-five years so what hope do our girls have when all they see is the over sexualization in our music and media? It’s all there on purpose to keep our children grasping for wholeness outside of themselves. And to make those producers even more money. I will repeat something I say every time Pitbull comes out with a new song- you can support someone who degrades women with their song lyrics by purchasing their music or not, it’s your choice. I love dance music but can’t support someone who sings about getting women out of their thongs. I just can’t!! Change is created in this culture by your wallets people!
The best thing we can do for our girls is teach by example. The article I wrote for Working Mother is as relevant now as it was two years ago.
I firmly believe we need to teach our children about the Divine Presence within them. If they have a strong connection to their soul they will have a deep pool of resources to draw from when they are faced with peer pressure and a desire for attention that doesn’t serve the sacredness of their body.
Maïmouna Doucouré has a battle on her hands and I thank her for taking that on. The sexualization of children is finally being discussed to a point where we may see a shift in society. It’s too early to tell. It’s such an overwhelming issue most of us don’t know where to start. I see it as an opportunity for conversation with our children to counter-balance the harmful effects of our culture with tools to cultivate their powerful inner voice.