If you do not appreciate “Cuties” as a nuanced and challenging work of art, you are an uncultured philistine—and how dare you comment on it without watching it. This is the general argument in defense of “Cuties” expressed in op-eds and on Twitter. People like Alyssa Rosenberg assure us the movie is acceptable because it condemns encouraging young girls to sexualize themselves.
Yet those of us who have not watched the movie have plenty of evidence (stills, clips, the comments of viewers) that it sexualizes preteen girls, that among other things it shows them scantily clad, twerking, suggestively sucking their fingers, and even one girl baring her breasts.
Never mind all that. The argument is that we should suspend moral judgment, that the film is a work of art with a complicated meaning, and the real problem is one of interpretation. If we just interpret it right, we’ll see that it agrees with the public recoil at what appears