Update: Netflix apologises for new trailer showing hypersexualised 11-year-old girls

Two different posters for Maïmouna Doucouré's coming of age film Cuties (Mignonnes) which debuts on Netflix next month | Image: Twitter

The film is originally the brainchild of Maïmouna Doucouré, a French-Senegalese screenwriter and filmmaker who made her directorial debut on this project.

Global streaming giant Netflix has been subject to online criticism after the trailer for an upcoming coming-of-age film went viral on Thursday.

The official Netflix film account posted a trailer for the film earlier this week and immediately had followers questioning why such young girls were being sexualised.

“Shame in addition to hyper sexualised children, you play on stereotypes by passing the Westaf family, our religions and culture for retrograde, a film for white women. What a shame on the westaf girls who will watch. Such a shame,” commented Twitter user @ibrahim_cr678.

People of the Islamic faith also took exception to the portrayal of life as a muslim woman/girl as seen in the trailer.

The film is originally the brainchild of Maïmouna Doucouré, a French-Senegalese screenwriter and filmmaker who made her directorial debut on this project.

The project even scooped up a Sundance award earlier this year.

In a recent interview with Cineuropa, Doucouré explained that the idea came to her when she witnessed a group of young girls, aged around 11 years old, going up on stage and dancing in a very sensual way while wearing very revealing clothes at a party in her neighbourhood.

“I was rather shocked and I wondered if they were aware of the image of sexual availability that they were projecting. In the audience, there were also more traditional mothers, some of them wearing veils: it was a real culture shock,” she said.

Doucouré then says she spent a year interviewing young girls from all sorts of backgrounds in order to determine where they situated themselves as children, as girls, as future women as well as how they placed themselves in society with their girlfriends, their families, at school and with social networks.

She recorded and filmed these responses with the authorisation of the participants’ guardians and parents and used it as source material to develop her film.

Those who have done their research on the project have asked that the film be given a chance and not punished for the choice made by the distributor – which, in this case, would be Netflix.

UPDATE: Netflix has since apologised for the artwork they chose to use in marketing the film as well as the initial description used on their website about the film.

However, this has done little to quell the anger of social media users.

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