Duane Smith | Objection to ‘Cuties’ Film

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor

Dear Netflix: I recently received a message from my sister-in-law on our family text thread. Her words made me think of you, Netflix! She posted a photograph of her twin 1-year-old daughters. The caption read, “My pair of cuties.” Netflix, you have redefined “cutie.” You’ve transformed the word “cutie” from an adjective, traditionally used to celebrate youthful innocence, into an attribute that celebrates the sexual liberation and appreciation for prepubescent little girls. 

Your child-fetishizing under the guise that “it’s so taboo, it needs to be exposed and seen” makes as much sense as, “a trip to the sewer to understand excrement!” And all excrement attracts is flies! But you, Netflix, are luring, validating and emboldening monsters. Why? How did you discern that, this was the time to commodify children as “Cuties” (not unlike tangerines), to be bundled, displayed, objectified, purchased… and gobbled up as sexual entertainment? 

I know these are bewildering times! Recently, Sen. Scott Wiener (not a parent) from San Francisco — where, according to the San Francisco Examiner, June 30, more couples have dogs, aka “fur babies,” than children — authored Senate Bill 145. Wiener’s bill protects predators, as old as 24, from any lasting consequences when engaging in “consensual sex” with children! On Sept. 11, (a date once infamous for something else in our country) California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the Wiener-bill into law! Our government officials, usually men, seem increasingly obsessed with pushing sexual goalposts further and further! 

What else, seriously, is there even left, to sacrifice to the idol of erotic liberty, other than children? But, you’d think, “At least ‘the girls’ would be safe, a little while longer!” Netflix, does your president, Ted Sarandos, even remember the #MeToo movement? Or has he just moved on, like the other guys mentioned above? Not long ago — but long enough to be a fading memory apparently — our nation’s collective battle cry (the flavor-of-the-moment celeb cause) was #MeToo. Justifiably so — if only for a blip in time — our culture was loudly crying out against the sexploitation and abuse of women.

The power structures that have allowed for men in positions of influence and leadership to take advantage of, and even harm, women, had Weinsteined into a movement — more accurately a moment — that loudly demanded a reckoning. Netflix, you have me wondering, “Was the Me Too movement just an 18-and-older thing? Are children fair game? Netflix, do you employ any properly functioning parents?” 

I’d also really like to know if any women, more specifically moms, were consulted by your president, Mr. Sarandos, when he exercised his choice to hyper-sexualize 11-year-old girls for pedophiles to consume on Netflix? You know, it really seems like you, Netflix, are participating in a #HeToo movement; a stealthy movement, designed for the continued, very strategic abuse of females — as long as they are under 18…way under! 

Unlike you, Netflix, and Gov. Gavin Newsom, and Sen. Wiener, my position of power is shared with a woman. I regularly consult my wife (my far better half) about anything and everything regarding our children, especially our girls. Together, we cherish and share the responsibilities of our highest-calling, being parents. I proudly identify as a father. 

My job, with my wife, is to love, protect, provide for, and teach our children. Netflix, you’ve given us reason to question if our family’s relationship with you is healthy. By paying you to be an influencer in our home, are we, with complete integrity, demonstrating love for our children? By paying you to influence our kids (once known in California as persons under the age of 18), are we displaying a true commitment to guarding their character development and virtue? Netflix, how exactly does investing in you each month contribute to providing for the well-being of our daughters and son? 

If we continue paying for you to directly influence the culture of our family, what are we telling our daughters about their value as young women, and, value to us? What are we teaching our son about his sisters? And, what am I — who also, unapologetically, identifies as a husband — telling my wife (a child abuse survivor) and first priority, about the children she gave birth to, and my vow to always honor her? 

Netflix, you have been canceled!

Duane Smith

Agua Dulce

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