If “Cuties,” the controversial Netflix show, bothers you, AS IT SHOULD, please take time to read. This is a warning about the vile content of the show, why we should be vocal in opposing it, and also why we can’t allow the “sexualzation” of everyday kids not featured on a Netflix special to continue.
In light of the recent buzz about this immoral show, we are right to respond in a manner that denounces it on a macro-level, meaning how it affects our culture as a whole. Likewise, we are right to open our eyes WIDE to the micro-level effect and how such a “genre” affects children and families individually. We are called be “wise as serpents” continually “searching our hearts for any wicked way in it.” (Matthew 10:16; Psalm 139:24)
This is an open letter to parents regarding “Cuties,” and how I believe the publicity of it has revealed a deeper, more personal heart issue: our battle, as primary influencers in our children’s lives, against inappropriate content and undesirable behavior.
Many of you know my dance history, which is relevant to my stance on appropriate self-expression in fine arts. I was steeped in the art of dance and music for 20 years, guided mainly by my mother and also dozens of wonderful mentors. Because of this life experience I support free-expression through fine arts, specifically dance and music. Art imitates life and is a medium for many people’s stories and ideas to be heard. However, there is NO PLACE for young children to be exploited and call it “art.”
“Cuties” has shown the cultural shift in what’s considered acceptable in exploiting people, in this case children. The writer claims her intent was to “tell her personal story.” However, it seems to me the content of “Cuties”—whether her goal or not—was used at best as a shocking head-turner, and at worst a plunge into a dark agenda.
On a macro-level we are called to strongly oppose such disturbing content from becoming the status-quo. I see many doing this though social media platforms, rightfully shining a light on darkness. We must not turn a blind eye to this blatant attempt to corrupt minds and hearts.
I personally believe our micro-level response is just as important as our macro-level response, maybe even more so. In rejecting “Cuties” with our words and actions, yet ignoring similar behavior seen in our own lives, it has been laid bare many are condoning the very troubling behavior we claim to hate.
Parents, we have the obligation and personal responsibility to protect our children from darkness. The reaction to this show’s content is a wake up call for us to be alert and filter what we allow to influence our kids’ hearts.
We MUST do better monitoring what content, in this scenario music and dance, we allow our children to participate in. Our protection, or lack therefore, will directly impact their hearts and therefore their behavior for a long time to come. Future choices are often directly related to what was permitted in a young person’s life and heart.
Many are choosing to cancel Netflix, a powerful, worldwide company. This personal choice is a justified protest against the company, which requires a monthly fee. Refusing to financially support it any longer makes a bold statement: hit ‘em were it hurts! Likewise, public outcry over “Cuties” and constituents petitioning their representatives has spurred Congress to open an investigation into Netflix. I consider these macro-level responses honorable. Instead of just posting “this is gross, the world is horrible,” people are choosing to use their voice to call for change. These macro-level actions are to be applauded.
Friends, there is no space for children to be allowed to hear, sing and then mimic heart-damaging lyrics, filled with bad language and sexual content. There is no room to allow them access to media content where artists are often robed in scandalous outfits or costumes, performing “sexualized” dance moves. In this broken world immoral activity sneaks up on us. But do they shock us enough to intervene and fulfill our responsibility to protect our kids? Not doing everything we can to turn their sweet eyes from such things is neglecting our role as a parent. Period.
There will be times when your child is confronted head first with content you had no idea was coming. Then you’ll have to do some damage control, explaining what was inappropriate, why it was and how we don’t follow such behavior. We must even explain how this behavior can often lead them into a journey they will one day regret.
Then there will be times you as a parent(s) make the decision to watch a show or listen to music with your child that renders discussion before and/or after. For an example, we decided our kids were allowed to watch Hamilton the musical. Our children love musical theatre and have seen many like Newsies, Mary Poppins, Wicked and Shrek. With Hamilton, we knew the music and and choreography would be different than previous musicals they’ve seen. The story line is forward and powerful, and some lyrics contain colorful language. My children know these are words they are not to use, and they fully understand some content is for adults.
My husband and I decided, however, the benefits outweighed the risks and allowed them to watch. Personal family values should guide us when faced with choices like this. What my family decides is okay may be different than what your family decides. However, I am not speaking to content that can broaden your child’s appreciation of the arts with issues properly addressed. I am speaking to content that will influence them in a way that can lead to devastating outcomes.
Condoning inappropriate expression through dance, or any pastime for that matter, is wrong and misleads a child to believe this behavior is okay, because mom, dad or instructor allows it. Writing it off as “cute” or harmless is ignoring our parental duty . In doing so, we better be ready to own that we are creating our own “cutie” environment which is every bit as damaging to our children, young adults and even adults as the show itself.
If we are denouncing this show publicly, but allowing our children free reign and access to questionable content privately, we are walking in hypocrisy. How can we be vocal about cultural atrocities, yet not address the spiritual and emotional vulnerability we fail to reject in our personal lives? Furthermore, if we allow the “sexualization” of our own kids, we are blatantly ignoring the correlation it has to poor decisions they’ll make in the future based on what was permitted in their young lives.
Trust. Me. On. This. We will be responsible for what our lack of shielding leads to in our children’s hearts and lives. We, not government or networks like Netflix, are commanded by God to guard our kids’ hearts from sin that can lead to spiritual death. No law is going to protect them and their innocence. No bill passed is going to personally lead them to light and truth. It is our responsibility as parents to use God’s word, wisdom, discernment, grace and guidance to do this.
So if we find ourselves publicly canceling Netflix and calling Congress while privately allowing our child to memorize sketchy lyrics and act-out mature, questionable dance moves…we better be willing to recognize this exposure leads down the same road of brokenness we are publicly demanding be banned.
For the sake of our kids, we must be consistent in our call for modesty, innocence and proper expression through the arts. When we see repulsive material sneaking into our children’s world we must speak out just as quickly as we speak out against shows like “Cuties.” It doesn’t matter if it’s in your four walls, or being used to win a dance or music competition; call it out in protest and cancel it from your family’s life.
Our children’s spiritual purity and growth isn’t worth any award or attention gained from family and friends. There is no room for being okay with it; we can’t allow our lack of supervision or lack of awareness to welcome the enemy into our family. We can not embrace passionate macro-level responses while neglecting our micro-level responsibility.
John 10:10 says “the thief, our spiritual enemy, comes only to kill, steal and destroy.” But in God, we are equipped with supernatural power to fight the enemy. By doing so our kids and our families can have life in full. Please heed this word: fight the enemy, not only publicity on social media, but privately in your home and community.
Let’s usher in “full and abundant life” for our children and families. We have “all we need for a life of holiness” (2 Peter 1:3). With God’s grace and guidance, we can win the battles attacking us on every front. Rise up, parents. Rise up.