First of, this is a Diss-ertation alert! So, read it gradually. And for starters, you can find my initial thoughts on this controversy in the comments section of Tom O'Carroll's newest blog entry on his new blog (yes, TOC Heretic is back up on its own terms, so to speak!), for anyone who may be curious as to what I had to say about it there (it's linked below). A few more people have weighed in on it, including Zen Thinker with some good insights, and Tom will be devoting a whole blog entry to it after he watches the film, so keep checking in!
What more do I have to say about this film? Well, yes, it has been disheartening to see so many of my friends, colleagues, and YouTubers whom I respect and routinely watch say all the usual and expected things, including referring to MAPs and those who are perceived as "catering" to our temerity to find young girls attractive (the Netflix administration, in this case) to be "sick fucks" and every other nasty pejorative in the universal lexicon. As is the manner in which they boast about how the film was given a few hundred thousand "thumbs down" votes when Netflix was advertising the movie to its mere few thousand "thumbs up" votes. And how it's become a statement of honor for people to boast about how they are summarily ending their subscriptions to Neflix as a result. Take that for crossing that boundary and offending us while enticing those damned petafiles, Netflix! I wash my hands of you!
It's fully understandable to get very depressed over this if you happen to be a MAP who strives to be a good person, obey the relevant laws, and make productive contributions to society--which is the vast majority of us--despite having a natural but very unpopular attraction base that you didn't ask for and have to make do with in an extremely hostile political environment that forces you into silence if you want to maintain the respect of the people that you love and/or respect, remain gainfully employed, keep harassment away from yourself and your family, etc. Not to mention the fact that the advent of social media makes the many forms of possible harassment far easier and on a wider scale than ever before.
However, we need to keep in mind that the current widespread demonization of the film is just that: expected. Remember what I have often said before? Everyone without exception likes to virtue signal. Most people have a psychological need to pinpoint an "Other" that they can attack, hate, and morally compare to themselves to better their self-image in their own minds and in the eyes of society at large. Looking in the mirror is far more difficult than simply looking at others and pointing your finger at them instead. And if a certain group of people happen to be very unpopular and hated due to mass misunderstanding and disinformation, people will jump on that; it's the proverbial manna from heaven to them. After all, vanilla homosexuals and transsexuals are no longer available for the position of societal scapegoat, so teleiophiles of all sexual orientations had to find a substitute to take their place and justify their collective need for virtue signaling, moral posturing, rationalization of censorship, dismissal of valid but unpopular scientific research, and justification for moral crusades and draconian laws that scapegoats provide for the average person and the politician alike.
Due to the psychological need to moral crusade, people were bound to zealously ignore the lessons from history, including recent history. In the 1950s, the popular mainstream scapegoats were communists and homosexuals. Today, they have been replaced by terrorists and "pedophiles" (the media misconception thereof). Kids under 18 now occupy the position of purity and enforced "innocence" that women once held in previous generations. This allows adults to continue enjoying the benefits of sexual pleasure and awareness for themselves while pillorying the "dirtiness" of sexuality by denying it to younger people that lack the civil rights to choose such forms of expression. Also, sexuality is empowering, and our adult-centric society does not want youths to be empowered, but to remain in their "proper" place as third class citizens to be "protected" when convenient and otherwise ignored or dismissed when convenient.
Adults who did not "grow out" of their admiration for the attractiveness of youth thus becomes collateral damage in the adult war to suppress all public acknowledgement of youth sexuality and sexual expression. Even youth liberationists are under extreme pressure to dismiss or even join in on the condemnation of just this one single aspect of youth rights (along with one or two other particularly hot button emotional issues).
However, this does not and never will stop various creative artists and youths themselves from pushing the boundaries and resisting the pressure to conform to this sacrosanct paradigm. Hence, we get the popularity among young girls of the twerk dancing phenomenon, which is more or less a modern update of the "dirty dancing" craze that started with adults in the 1980s but was quickly picked up on by youths--but which you only saw being done on the streets or in certain dance contests back then since the Internet with its social media had not yet emerged. In fact, Cuties is actually far less bold than many "coming of age" films produced in France and elsewhere in Europe during the 70's and 80's, all of which are well known, and all of which the naysayers of today are quick to pretend they do not remember to make it seem as if the creative crew behind Cuties is somehow a unique example of cinematic depravity. They willfully forget that even in the United States during the 1970's the climate was liberal enough to produce films like Taxi Driver and Pretty Baby and see nuances in such movies despite the controversy surrounding them.
Currently, we get no discussion or reasoned debate, but simply blanket condemnation and demands for censorship, even from those on the right and alternative left who routinely oppose the demands for censorship of everything that offends from both the authoritarian right and left.
Nevertheless, that has not prevented Cuties from becoming one of the top 10 streams on Netflix. No surprise there, and the huge backlash likely accomplished the exact opposite of what it intended (besides letting so many people let off the usual amount of moralizing steam). Let us all keep the following things in mind:
1. MAPs are not new to the world, and the attraction base will always be here. Some adults will admire the attractiveness of younger people regardless of the type of puritanical paradigm that our currently adult-controlled society will attempt to forcibly mold them into. Hatred, condemnation, and draconian censorship will not change this anymore than it was able to erase homosexuality or the fact that women are sexual beings from the face of polite society.
2. People need something or someone to hate, be offended by, and morally compare themselves to. Would the SJW phenomenon have become so prevalent and powerful in so relatively short a time if this was not a prevailing defect of the human psyche? It also once again proves that the Left, for all their pretentions towards principles of equity and open-mindedness, found themselves as vulnerable to this tendency as anyone opposite-of-center.
3. Due to the above, people love scandals and conspiracy theories, especially when they involve sex and/or kids. These allow opportunistic politicians, careerist administrators of NGOs, and talk show hosts to play moral crusader and gain enormous capital of both the social and financial variety at the same time. This is why they gleefully ignore the Satanic ritual abuse hysteria, the snuff film hysteria, and the more recent U.K.'s VP politician abuse scandal--all of which proved to be utter nonsense.
Still ongoing are the sex trafficking hysteria (a modern update of the early 20th century white slavery panic), the "Pizzagate" nonsense, and the equally absurd and even more fantastical "Elsagate" panic (Google that one if you have the stomach for it!). Moral crusaders and conspiracy theorists love these things and rarely demand actual evidence, because they all support the popular panic that "pedophiles have infiltrated everything, from the top halls of government, to Hollywood, to the Catholic Church, to our day care centers and pizzerias! Don't be surprised if Chuck E. Cheese is a petafile!" Will the barber shops and Post Offices of the West be next? It sounds silly because it is; yet, countless people from every political stripe take these panics seriously because they have a need to play Savior, find a perpetual victim class to save (usually kids and/or women), and a perpetual bogeyman to save them from (usually "pedophiles", terrorists, Muslims, or immigrants these days).
4. Every time a boundary is pushed, or re-pushed, as in the case of Cuties, there will be a huge backlash from moral pundits playing Savior and moral crusader. They will accuse people of "sexualizing" kids, which is pretty strange since they all know from the personal experience of their own youths that kids are indeed sexual beings. What they really mean when they say this is that they do not want the sexual nature of kids to be acknowledged publicly. They want this natural phenomenon of human nature to be not asked about, not told about, and neither seen nor heard about. Any adult who acknowledges this in a public format, or allows kids to express it themselves, e.g., the current popularity of twerk dancing, dares to have an attraction base that allows for admiration of youth beauty, or wants to discuss the issue rationally are denounced as monsters, "sick fucks", and many other things no one would care to be called.
My long-winded point being: This is simply business as usual during an ongoing moral panic. The naysayers will never win because they cannot win against a natural facet of human nature that will outlast any period of moral panic. Nature has staying power, but human opinions and attitudes do not. The current climate that condemns MAPs and oppresses kids for their alleged well-being will not last forever, much as condemnation of female sexuality in general and homosexuality did not. Just a few decades ago, who would have imagined that homosexuals would go from being an utterly reviled group to one that mainstream pundits and corporations are routinely falling all over themselves to appease and present in a positive fashion? It may not end anytime soon, however, so in the meantime we have to ride out the storm even when it gets very windy and rainy.
Finally, one last thing to note, and it's something remarkable that hints towards how strong the backlash against moralizing strictures via the work of boundary-pushing artists happens to be: Netflix didn't cave into the pressure by pulling Cuties from the streaming service like I honestly thought they would. They simply issued a public apology for the initial advertising campaign and changed it accordingly. This is interesting times, people.