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‘Cuties’ – Tempest in a Quiverfull Teapot or Tacky Child Exploitation?

‘Cuties’ – Tempest in a Quiverfull Teapot or Tacky Child Exploitation? September 12, 2020

Image screencap from a YouTube commentary channel

If there is one thing you can count on in Quiverfull it’s that something even slightly risque is going on it summons the “End of the world as we know it” brigade. This time led by a increasingly histrionic she who may not be mentioned here. Why? Over a Netflix film titled “Cuties” that was released mere days ago. It’s blowing up the internet and people are fighting, not just in Quiverfull Evangelical circles, but even places like 4Chan, Reddit and  way outside of religious circles. Seems like you either think it is borderline child pornography, or it’s empowering. There does not seem to be many opinions out there that are not one of these two polar opposites.

Disclaimer: I haven’t seen “Cuties” and I seriously doubt Lori has either. I plan on rectifying that this afternoon since it’s raining here and I have time. Lori is apparently losing her mind, along with everyone else in Evangelicalism, over the skimpy dance outfits, dancing and the entire idea that the film rejects ‘Patriarchy’. She never mentions the fact that the film is more about poor immigrant families in Paris, polygamy, the repression of women by Muslim culture, the hypocrisy of modesty culture in a sexualized world and so many other things. The film won an award at the Sundance film festival so I doubt it is entirely sexualized trash.

Here’s the trailer:

I am withholding judgement on what I think until I’ve viewed the film. One of the things about Evangelical Quiverfull is that no one examines a thing to see if there is any value, it’s all make assumptions based on scanty knowledge. The film might just be a smutty piece of detritus focused on the sexualization of 11 year old girls, or it might be something else. No way of knowing for sure until I view it.

One thing I do know, the dancing and costumes are very reminiscent of Lifetime Television’s “Dance Moms” Anyone remember an episode titled “Topless Showgirls”? No?

Sparkling bottoms, flesh toned tops and big feather fans.

In the children’s dance world, for better or for worse, revealing costumes and provocative dance moves aren’t unusual in an effort to stand out from the crowd. It’s part and parcel of the slide towards sexualizing children in our society that I abhor.

But not all dances are this sleazy and revealing. I watched all 7 seasons of “Dance Moms” because I took dance for ten years as a kid myself, and I’ve always enjoyed dancing. The little girls dancing was the least problematic part of the show, a show that featured a screaming maniac as a teacher, and parents living sickeningly vicariously through daughters and sons.

But even “Dance Moms” sometimes got it right. This piece titled “Where have all the children gone?” highlights children being preyed upon by dangerous others.

Here’s another great dance inspired by the suicide of a teen they all know. I loved watching all the dance performances. Dance is such a beautiful powerful expression of emotions.

Remind me again why defeating patriarchy and hyper modest standards is so wrong?

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About Suzanne Titkemeyer
Suzanne Titkemeyer went from a childhood in Louisiana to a life lived in the shadow of Washington D.C. For many years she worked in the field of social work, from national licensure to working hands on in a children's residential treatment center. Suzanne has been involved with helping the plights of women and children' in religious bondage. She is a ordained Stephen's Minister with many years of counseling experience. Now she's retired to be a full time beach bum in Tamarindo, Costa Rica with the monkeys and iguanas. She is also a thalassophile. She also left behind years in a Quiverfull church and loves to chronicle the worst abuses of that particular theology. She has been happily married to her best friend for the last 34 years You can read more about the author here.
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