In the wake of the trending outrage over Netflix’s content, my family and I have decided to cancel our subscription. Some of my readers might be a little put off by what appears to be a patronizing blog post. The point of this article is not to guilt everyone into hopping a bandwagon, but to talk about the reasoning behind our decision to cancel Netflix and encourage those who may be considering a similar decision.
1 – We Don’t Really Watch Much Television Anyway
Honestly, for the amount of time I spend working full-time, parenting and writing articles for Patheos, I’d rather spend my time hanging out with friends than watch Netflix. And on the days I could be watching television, I usually spend it online arguing with strangers and spreading my articles on the social media newsfeeds like a viral infection. The things I do for click-money.
2 – We Spend More Time Trying To Decide What To Watch Than Actually Watching Movies
As someone who grew up with only 5 channels on peasant vision, the overabundance of choices can feel overwhelming at times. There are so many films and television series that there is no way anyone will ever live long enough to see everything on Netflix that might be worth watching.
In that sense, even though I’m a millennial, I guess I’m a little old-fashioned when it comes to waiting on particular shows I’m interested in watching. One thing is certain, I am really going to miss season 4 of Stranger Things. I might have to mooch off a friend or something once the new season is available.
3 – We Have Other Streaming Services Available.
In addition to Netflix, we also have Disney+, Amazon Prime and AppleTV. Much of what is already found on Netflix can be found on all these other streaming services, with the exception of Netflix Originals. If certain films aren’t available on streaming, most of them can be rented on iTunes for 5 bucks.
And depending on what you’re looking for, Youtube sometimes has full movies available to watch. No guarantees if they are pirated or not though.
4 – The Content Has Gone Downhill
This is probably the reason why most people (namely in Christian circles) are cancelling their Netflix subscriptions. In the wake of the Cuties film release, perhaps the promotion of the film was the straw that broke the camel’s back for many folks? I have not seen the film myself, nor do my family and I plan on watching it either. But in reality, Netflix has had an abundance of sexualized content for a while, with the inclusion of an LGBTQ category of films. I’m honestly curious why more conservative viewers haven’t cancelled sooner for that reason alone.
Some women in the online blogosphere have mentioned that Cuties addresses an underlying problem of society that is hardly brought to light regarding how young girls are expected to remain powerless, or that an honest discussion of sexual matters is lacking in religious communities. While the film may resonate for certain individuals and what they experienced themselves, our family is young enough that we don’t feel the need to have films like these within such easy availability. While my heart aches for the young actresses who may have wrestle with the realization that their bodies were exploited for a film that attempted to point out a societal problem, I most certainly hope my kids never have to experience what is seen in that film.
But here’s the thing: minors have had their bodies exploited long before the film Cuties came along. People have forgotten about the popular reality TV series Dance Moms, yet I don’t recall any outrage over what the girls in that series had been forced to endure. What also comes to mind is the fact that Disney’s live-action remake of Mulan has been the subject of ethical controversy. The film was shot in China’s Xinjiang province where it is believed that minorities have been imprisoned and having their human rights violated. In light of this, Disney has not made any public statements since they thanked the Chinese government for allowing them to film there.
With that in mind, I imagine many films have certain degrees of being complicit in certain evils, no matter what entertainment provider we choose to subscribe to.
5 – The Money I Spend On Netflix Every Month Could Go Towards Something Else.
Many people in Christian circles have switched to PureFlix, and claim that the content is wholesome and safe for the whole family. While I can appreciate the sentiment that safe and wholesome entertainment is accessible, the acting and general storylines of these shows range from sub-par to mediocre. At this point, it’s not something I can justify paying monthly on. That might change if PureFlix happens to grow bigger as a business and their quality improves.
I once had an Apple Music subscription, but later cancelled it since I mostly listen to my iPod Classic anyways. But I’ve heard good things about YouTube’s streaming music account. Perhaps this would be a good time to try it out….
Monthly subscriptions for streaming services are surprisingly cheap. But if one decides to subscribe to them all, it adds up pretty fast. And because of how busy my life gets, some of those subscriptions would not be utilized enough for their money’s worth.
Another option would be to use that $13 a month and put it towards a charitable cause of your choice. If more people decided to spend their money on humanitarian aid or social justice causes, it could make a significant impact. That is definitely something I, myself, should consider doing more of.
The flip side of this is if we cancelled every subscription over every controversy regardless of the degree, we wouldn’t be subscribing to any media outlets whatsoever. It’s kind of like the abortion issue where pro-lifers try to avoid purchasing any products from corporations who donate to Planned Parenthood. The problem is, there are very few mainline products that aren’t sold by corporations that haven’t had their hands involved in some kind of injustice or human exploitation. As the cliché goes, buyers should always beware.
I think what it all boils down to is what you, as the viewer, are willing to support with your money and your time based on your own personal convictions. But regardless, people are going to watch these shows no matter what. As for me and my family, we have the freedom to decide what we expose ourselves to and to take our business elsewhere as these issues arise.