“I wanted to make a film in the hope of starting a conversation about the sexualization of children. The movie has certainly started a debate, though not the one that I intended,” says Maïmouna Doucouré, the French director of the controversial film “Cuties,” now streaming on Netflix.
Doucouré has responded to the film’s backlash in an op-ed for The Washington Post.
The hashtag #CancelNetflix began trending on social media last week after folks who had not watched the film accused Doucouré and Netflix of sexualizing young girls.
Doucouré has received death threats over the film. In a recent interview, she noted that she intended to make a provocative social commentary about the impact of sexualized imagery on young girls.
The coming-of-age story follows Amy (Fathia Youssouf), an 11-year-old girl from Senegal who joins a dance team as an escape from her and conservative Muslim family.
Last month, Netflix issued a public apology to Doucouré following backlash over the U.S. marketing poster for the film, which shows the young stars scantily dressed and striking suggestive dance poses.
The company also issued a statement defending the movie.
In her piece for The Washington Post, the filmmaker explains how she was inspired to make the movie after interviewing young girls about the their relationship with social media.
“The stories that the girls I spoke to shared with me were remarkably similar. They saw that the sexier a woman is on Instagram or TikTok, the more likes she gets,” she continues. “They tried to imitate that sexuality in the belief that it would make them more popular. Spend an hour on social media and you’ll see preteens — often in makeup — pouting their lips and strutting their stuff as if they were grown women. The problem, of course, is that they are not women, and they don’t realize what they are doing. They construct their self-esteem based on social media likes and the number of followers they have. To see these youngsters put so much pressure on themselves so early was heartbreaking. Their insights and experiences with social media informed Cuties.”
Doucouré explains how she “wanted to open people’s eyes to what’s truly happening in schools and on social media, forcing them to confront images of young girls made up, dressed up and dancing suggestively to imitate their favorite pop icon. I wanted adults to spend 96 minutes seeing the world through the eyes of an 11-year-old girl, as she lives 24 hours a day. These scenes can be hard to watch but are no less true as a result,” she writes.
The manufactured outrage over the film, stirred up by Right-wing news sites, has even rattled GOP politicans. Four state attorneys general are calling on Netflix to remove “Cuties” from the streaming service, claiming it sexualizes young girls, USA Today reports.
In a recent virtual panel with uniFrance, Doucouré said “Cuties” aims to “sound an alarm” on the “hyper-sexualization of our children” thanks to social media.
“It’s feminist, but it’s so important and necessary to create debate and try to find solutions all together,” she said. “Watch the film and understand that we have the same fight.”
NIGERIA – Police Brutality at 60
*Hard to believe that this month that Nigeria marks 60 years of her independence is when demonstrators against police brutality were killed in Lagos after security forces opened fire with live rounds of ammunition.
About twelve were killed and many more injured.
Nigeria’s cartoonist Don Marvel’s red bloodied cartoon saddens the reality of the current situation.
The current government of President Muhammadu Buhari has lost control. Nigeria will survive its present turmoil but the gaping wound will take long to heal – Cartoon by DON Marvel – https://donmarvey.blogspot.com
TAYO Fatunla is an award-winning Nigerian Comic Artist, Editorial Cartoonist, Writer and Illustrator. He is one of the participants of the CARTAN Virtual cartoon exhibition marking 60 years of Nigeria. He is a graduate of the prestigious Kubert School, in New Jersey, US. and recipient of the 2018 ECBACC Pioneer Lifetime Achievement Award for his illustrated OUR ROOTS creation and series – Famous people in Black History – He participated in the UNESCO’s Cartooning In Africa forum held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and the Cartooning Global Forum in Paris, France and took part in the Afropolitan Comics virtual comics exhibition arranged by the French Institute in South Africa coinciding with its annual National Arts Festival –– https://www.tayofatunla.com / [email protected]
THE REAL: Adrienne Wishes Someone Told Her She Was Gaining Weight / WATCH
*On Wednesday, October 21, the ladies discuss the proper way to address a loved one when they begin to put on unwanted pounds. Co-host Adrienne Houghton advises that any approach should be done with love and wishes that her friends had said something to her when she started to gain some extra weight.
And, is it wrong to marry for money after having been previously married for love? Co-host Garcelle Beauvais has no problem with this concept and lays out her expectations for any guy lucky enough to be her next husband.
Also, has being quarantined for several months changed the way we feel about being around, or not around, certain people? The ladies share some unexpected benefits of living in lockdown and not having to socialize with others, and even find some silver linings when it comes to taping The Real remotely!
Then, Eris Baker stops by to talk about the upcoming season of This is Us, filming under strict COVID-19 regulations, and how it feels to be a representative for young queer girls all over the world!
Adrienne Wishes More of Her Friends Stepped in When She Was Gaining Weight
What Garcelle Wants in her Next Husband
The Ladies Look On The Bright Side Of Shooting Remotely Instead Of In-Studio!
Adrienne Wishes More of Her Friends Stepped in When She Was Gaining Weight
Adrienne Houghton: When I was overweight and I was just indulging way too much, I’m grateful for friends that did step in and say, “Hey! Like, Mama!” My mom, I’m so gr– Especially my mom, I like that my mom, again coming from a place of concern and empathy, was just like, “Hey! What’s going on?” Like, you know, “I want you to be healthy.” I also had friends that heard me complaining about my weight but would then watch me, you know, eat unhealthy food or just get, like– Jeannie was one of those people like, “Girl, you’re saying you wanna lose weight. But here you are reading– eating a whole pizza pie.” So, I think that I’m personally grateful for people who care enough to say something when I know that it’s coming from a place of love. Um, and I was annoyed when it wasn’t done. I think that I was actually far more annoyed when nobody said anything and I looked at myself and was like, “I’m 25 pounds heavier than I used to be.” And I was upset that no one told me that one the way. They just let me get overweight. And I was sitting there, like, having to work so much harder than had someone said something earlier on. And if you love and you care about somebody and you’re talking about their health, absolutely step in and say something. But, do it with love.
About THE REAL
THE REAL is a live daily, one-hour, two-time NAACP Image Award-winning and Emmy®-nominated talk show now in its seventh season on Fox Television Stations and in national syndication (check local listings), with a rebroadcast on cable network Bounce. The bold, diverse and outspoken hosts, Garcelle Beauvais and Emmy® Award-winners Adrienne Houghton, Loni Love and Jeannie Mai, all frankly say what women are actually thinking. Their unique perspectives are brought to life through candid conversations about their personal lives, current events, beauty, fashion and relationships (nothing is off limits). Unlike other talk shows, THE REAL hosts are admittedly a “work in progress,” and fearlessly invite viewers to reflect on their own lives and opinions. Fresh points of view, youthful energy and passion have made THE REAL a platform for multicultural women. Produced by Telepictures Productions and distributed by Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution, THE REAL is led by Executive Producer, Rachel Miskowiec (Good Morning America, Katie, The Tyra Banks Show, Judge Hatchett, The Ricki Lake Show) and Co-Executive Producer Tenia Watson (Judge Mathis, Lauren Lake’s Paternity Court, WGN-TV Morning News, Just Keke, The Test) and shot in Los Angeles, California.
Black Republican Running for Congress Files Complaint Against Facebook, Twitter and Google
*Aja Smith, a Black Republican running for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, has filed a complaint against Facebook, Twitter and Google.
In her grievance dated Oct. 6, 2020, and addressed to U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr, Smith accuses the three California-based tech companies of violating the Federal Election Campaign Act by supporting Democratic candidates.
Smith, who is on the ballot to represent California’s 41st congressional district, which covers an area in Western Riverside County, also claims that those companies engaged in “shadow banning” of her and other conservatives. Shadow banning, she says, involves manipulating a digital platform’s algorithm to hide certain posts from end users.
“We’re seeing more censorship when people post their own opinions, and they’re good opinions,” Smith said. “I see them getting shadow banned on Twitter and Facebook.”
Smith said she first noticed the practice around the last presidential election.
“I saw this starting back in 2016 as conservatives were getting more active on Facebook. A lot of things were being censored when we started talking about being pro-life, the First Amendment, the Second Amendment. And I saw it beginning to happen more and more over the years.”
SERIOUSLY HILARIOUS: D.L. Hughley Skewers Trump & Ice Cube: Why Not ‘The Skinny Rims Plan?’ / WATCH
President Donald Trump has been a vocal critic of social media companies that censor conversations on their platforms. In May, Twitter hid one of the POTUS’ tweets, claiming it violated their policy about glorifying violence.
That same month, President Trump issued an executive order aimed at social media platforms after Twitter added a fact check link to another of his posts about mail-in ballots.
“In a country that has long cherished the freedom of expression, we cannot allow a limited number of online platforms to hand pick the speech Americans may access and convey on the internet,” the executive order reads. “This practice is fundamentally un-American and undemocratic.”
Currently, sites like Twitter and Facebook are protected by law when they block content that they deem violent, offensive or “otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected.” The president’s executive order makes the argument that these protections should be removed if a tech platform engages in hiding or placing warnings on posts, setting the stage for legislation or new federal regulation aimed at those companies.
“It’s really bad if even our own president is getting censored on Twitter and Facebook,” Smith said.
Earlier this month, Twitter announced that it removed fake accounts of people pretending to be Black conservatives and supporters of President Trump.
This week, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today a letter urging Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter to do more to stem disinformation on their platforms that could “harm the upcoming U.S. election.”
“In 2016, we saw a concerted campaign to use social media to amplify disinformation in order to disrupt our election,” he wrote. “As a country, we must reject these tactics. As Californians begin voting in another election of national importance, I’m calling on our technology giants to do everything in their power to put a stop to election interference. These companies should take responsibility for their role in spreading misinformation and voter suppression.”
Smith keeps her focus on the censorship. She, along with other conservatives, insist that digital media platforms should be investigated, and the government should reevaluate their status.
“Either you’re a free speech platform or you’re a publisher,” Smith said.
Last week, the progressive publication Mother Jones reacted to news that Facebook’s adjustment of its algorithm in 2017 in an effort to stem misinformation, specifically targeted certain left-leaning publications, reducing significant amounts of traffic to them. The effort led to the company losing more than $600,000 over 18 months.
“One reason this is so enraging is that I’ve so long insisted on giving Facebook some benefit of the doubt. I was convinced we were a random casualty of their broader trajectory, a fly on their windshield. But it’s always, always worse,” Monika Bauerlein, CEO of Mother Jones, tweeted.
Smith believes that the tech companies are targeting some conservatives specifically because of their race.
“They’re really suppressing our free speech; especially candidates who are trying to get our messages out — not only to our constituents, but also to a lot of other people across the country to say ‘hey, we’re running, we’re conservative, we’re minorities, we’re running in blue states and we’re here to make a difference,’” Smith said.
Many conservatives have discussed making the move to another social media platform called Parler, a micro-blogging service popular among far-right conservatives and Saudi nationalists that allows users to moderate their own content as opposed to a tech platform regulating posts it classifies as hate speech or misinformation.
While Smith says she appreciates the freedom of self-moderation, she does not want conservatives isolated in an echo chamber only speaking to each other.
“I don’t want to stick to one social media platform where I’m talking to people who are all like-minded,” Smith said. “I want to speak to people on the Independent side, the no-party preference side and even moderate democrats. I want to say, ‘Hey, I’m different than my opponent and this is what I stand for,’ especially on fighting sex trafficking and fighting homelessness.”
Smith also mentioned how Twitter and Facebook have made it difficult for her to speak to her supporters about her opponent, Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA-41), whose relationship with Ukraine she has questioned.
Smith says she also takes issue with Facebook and Twitter’s fact checking practices, claiming that they, “remind me of Nazi Germany.” She also claims that the social media giants rely on sources that are “far-left leaning” to support their fact checking and that they “change historical facts.”
“How are you fact checking what I’m saying, and you’re only using the sources that you think will justify my post or anyone else’s post as wrong?” Smith said. “That’s the problem. That’s why we have open debate.”
Smith feels that if her posts, and posts from others like her, did not face these challenges, many voters would get a clearer picture of the current Republican party.
“We’re beating the narrative that there aren’t any conservative minorities and that we’re the party of racists,” she says.
Aldon Thomas Stiles | California Black Media
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