Back when Netflix first introduced its poster for “Cuties,” it immediately — and rightly — met disgust for the way it sexualized children. While Netflix tried to dismiss this as a glitch in the marketing, the film’s release reveals that as a lie. The content of the film is actually worse than what the poster implied.
Now, the pretense is that the film is actually a statement against the sexualization of little girls. Yet, whatever the alleged message the creators intended to convey, they clearly exploited actual children in its production, put it to film, and distributed it for mass consumption. Fighting the hypersexualization of children by depicting hypersexualized children is nonsensical.
A more reasonable conclusion to draw is that producing and normalizing child sexualization is, sadly, what’s going on here. After all, filmmakers have managed to tell stories about other serious subjects like rape and murder without actually raping or murdering anyone as part of the production.
It’s only natural to react to this with exactly the kind of outrage that Netflix is currently reaping. Sexually exploiting children is so revolting that anyone would recoil in disgust when presented with the kind of material in “Cuties.”
Except not everyone is disgusted. The film made it through layers upon layers of writers, actors, producers, and marketers who thought it was a great idea—even to the point of giving it awards.
Defending the Indefensible
Of course, leftist degenerates are now rushing to defend the movie. Rather than being disgusted, their claim is that any failure to appreciate “Cuties” is either prudish, unsophisticated, or — even worse — conservative. It’s a French film, after all, so it must be artistic and sophisticated.
In more normal times, disgust serves as an incredibly useful feature of our natural emotional life that helps prevent our circumstances from devolving into all manner of wretchedness. Ultimately, however, it’s a feature that we must train. As with our sense of shame, our sense of disgust is something that needs to be cultivated as we mature. A well-formed person ought to be disgusted by disgusting things, but not disgusted by benign or positive things.
Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Look no farther at how so many now sneer at motherhood, fatherhood, and children in the West. As we can see from the “Cuties” scenario, we can also be trained to become used to something that should be utterly revolting.
“Cuties” did not appear out of nowhere. It’s hardly the first place we’re seeing children induced to perform in that kind of way. Child drag queens were a clear precursor — a manipulation of children that leftists have been fawning over and normalizing, disgusting the rest of us.
We Should Have Seen ‘Cuties’ Coming
The mechanism for that kind of normalization typically starts with increased exposure. Last summer, for example, Snapchat released a “Love has no age” filter as part of their “Love has no labels” campaign in celebration of LGBT pride before pulling it back down.
There are also the “Drag Queen Storytime” events cropping up at libraries across the nation. In addition to the readings, many of these include “family-friendly” performances featuring an adult cross-dresser doing a sexualized dance in front of a roomful of kids while parents encourage them to give the dancer money.
Before that, the same kind of retraining of disgust through exposure has been at the heart of the massive over-representation of LGBT characters in film and television. It’s the reason every new character in the Arrowverse needs to be gay, “My Little Pony” needed gay ponies, and “She-Ra” needed so many gay princesses. As film and television act as a surrogate experience in our minds, what we see there begins to be perceived as normal — whether it truly is or not.
Prior to all of this, we’ve had decades of normalizing fornication and vilifying the natural family. For two generations now, the entertainment industry has been continually pushing the envelope of debauchery a little bit at a time — while calling anyone who expressed misgivings a prude or a puritan.
This process is precisely how “grooming” works. Predators try to slowly get their targets used to small actions they would ordinarily find disgusting so that when they finally act, the victim’s revulsion doesn’t kick in until it’s too late.
Children and Parents Need to be On Guard
Right now, the zeitgeist is grooming both children and parents. Kids grow up thinking disgusting things are normal so they will eventually become participants themselves. Simultaneously, parents back off from their God-given responsibility to train and attune a child’s innate sense of revulsion towards disgusting things.
Our kids are being exposed to a constant diet of perversion while parents become increasingly afraid of being seen as pearl-clutching bigots. So parents often fail to do anything about it.
Pedophilia is merely the next big push from this same movement. As such, we should recognize what’s next when we start seeing euphemisms like “minor-attracted persons,” “child sexuality,” and “intergenerational intimacy” being thrown around. We should know where normalization leads. The stigma against molesting children doesn’t need to be softened.
No one should be ashamed of finding all of this disgusting. On the contrary, we should be deeply concerned with anyone who does not. That said, disgust is not a substitute for thoughtful deliberation. Simply feeling disgusted is not an argument. While we should never be ashamed of proper disgust, our thinking on the issue doesn’t end with it.
Complicating matters is how those who protest the disgusting rarely encounter actual counterarguments. Typically, we’re graced with name-calling from the usual list of tired epithets: bigot, hater, homophobe, transphobe, prude, puritan, and the like. This isn’t debate — it’s simple bullying. The goal is to make us feel ashamed of feeling disgusted, not to prove that sexually exploiting children for the titillation of broken adults is somehow wholesome and pure.
Likewise, all of the common “it’s just” statements fall flat. By this, I mean assertions like, “it’s just a movie,” “it’s just a misleading poster,” “it’s just dancing,” and “it’s just playing dress-up.” Make no mistake, bare contentions are merely reductionistic — they attempt to rhetorically obfuscate the disgusting elements of the scenario rather than dealing with them by head-on.
We Need a Properly Cultivated Sense of Disgust
Although disgust can err, when name-calling and dismissiveness are all we’re given to set against our sense of disgust, we would be foolish to cast it aside. Well-cultivated disgust is, after all, a heritage we receive from our parents and from our civilization. Yes, good parents know better than their young children what is good for them and what is harmful to them — both physically and morally.
But it wasn’t just our parents who gave us this gift — it was also from their parents and from everyone who came before. Although every society stumbles in its own ways, functional societies cultivate a useful sense of disgust over generations. Civilizations work hard to understand the good, the true, and the beautiful, and these efforts are, for the most part, reflected in how we regard deprivations thereof as disgusting.
So even if there were an absence of compelling arguments, our sense of disgust stands. Even when we sometimes fail to understand precisely why we’re disgusted, we ought to remember G.K. Chesterton’s caution against removing long-standing institutions we don’t really comprehend.
We ought to treat cultivated disgust in the same way. We ought to listen to that sense while we gain understanding. The same is true for when Netflix pushes whatever nastiness comes after “Cuties” or our schools and libraries try to shove hypersexualized cross-dressing nonsense in our children’s faces. A wise man’s inclination should not be towards removing a deep feeling of disgust but towards maintaining it.
Knowing It When We See It
To be sure, most of us really do understand that it is immoral to force or encourage children to participate in blatantly sexual performances. We also tend to recognize disordered sexuality when we see it.
Just as it’s easy to perceive the purpose of the heart is to pump blood and, therefore, conditions that inhibit that purpose are disorders, it’s just as easy to perceive that the purpose of the sexes and sexuality is reproduction and family. We therefore recognize that conditions that inhibit that purpose are disorders and actions that deliberately damage it are immoral. Because we understand that, we also understand that the normalization of the disorder is a foolish and harmful fantasy that should never be foisted on children.
Very often, our disgust is that first warning klaxon that blares when we encounter disgusting things — compelling us to be skeptical about what we’re observing. We would be utter fools to disregard it in a feeble attempt to try and get social justice warriors to stop calling us names.
Neither do we have to immerse ourselves in something disgusting before opining on whether our disgust is truly justified. We don’t have to submit to grooming. We can already see that the emperor is indeed in the raw, and no amount of shaming from woke sycophants changes that reality.
Parents, in particular, cannot afford to step aside on this. It is our job to help our children understand what is and is not disgusting, just as our parents did for us. So, know what is going on and do not give in, no matter how loudly they call you names. We owe our children more than that.