The French movie Cuties has not only brought controversy to the popular streaming platform Netflix, but also placed a spotlight on pedophilia.
Critics decry that the film highlights society’s sexualization of girls and young women. “Cuties’ sexualizes 11-year-old girls, and it’s disgusting and wrong,” said Texas U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, “That’s why I’ve asked (Attorney General) Barr to investigate whether Netflix, its executives, or the filmmakers violated any federal laws against the production and distribution of child pornography.” In addition, U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley, from Montana, stated that Cuties is “depicting children being coached to engaged in simulated sexual acts.”
At the same time, there are those who are defending the film. The Telegraph described Cuties as “a provocative powder-keg for an age terrified of child sexuality.” NPR stated that “The French film, Cuties, is being praised for its critique of the hyper sexualization of young girls — and the consequences of that — as they rush to become adults in the age of social media.” A Netflix spokesperson stated that “Cuties is a social commentary against the sexualization of young children. It’s an award-winning film and a powerful story about the pressure young girls face on social media and from society more generally growing up — and we’d encourage anyone who cares about these important issues to watch the movie.”
Yet, Cuties is only the latest in an attempt to normalize pedophilia. From toys to animation, there is an attempt being made to make pedophilia more of a mainstream lifestyle choice.
In 2003, author Linda Ames Nicolosi stated that “Normalizing pedophilia would have enormous implications, especially since civil laws closely follow the scientific community on social-moral matters. If pedophilia is deemed normal by psychiatrists, then how it can remain illegal? It will be a tough fight to prove in the courts that it should still be against the law.” In 2006, the ‘Brotherly Love, Freedom and Diversity party (PNVD)’ a Netherlands political party, had as its primary agenda the legalization of child pornography and the lowering of the age of consent to 12 years old.
MAP, or Minor Attracter Person, is also becoming more of an accepted term, one that helps to normalize a lifestyle of pedophilia. Mirjam Heine, in her 2018 TEDx Talk titled “Pedophilia is a natural sexual orientation”, argued that pedophilia should be accepted as “an unchangeable sexual orientation,” and stated that pedophilia is like any other sexual orientation.
The normalization of pedophilia has not only been looking for mainstream audiences towards adults, it has also been targeted towards children, as well. Hasbro toys released the Poppy Troll Giggle and Sing doll in early spring of 2020. The doll was aimed towards children 4 years and older. Consumers boycotted the doll after finding that a button, placed under the doll’s skirt, had the female troll exclaim“Whee!” and “Oh!”, along with gasps and giggles, when the button was pushed. Hasbro removed the children’s toy. Jessica McManis, from Ohio, created a petition to remove the doll from store shelves. “What will this toy make our innocent, impressionable children think? That it’s fun when someone touches your private area? That pedophilia and child molestation are OK?” McManis wrote in the petition. “It’s not OK! It’s not fun! It’s damaging and has long term affects on a child’s mental [and] physical health!” In August, Hasbro removed the toy from stores after the petition garnered over 150,000 signatures and made national headlines.
Anime, a popular form of Japanese animation, also has promoted pedophilia towards the children’s market. No Game No Life centers around a teenage boy and a prepubescent girl, showcasing panty shots of the young girl in many of its artwork. In addition, Komodo no Jikan has as its main character Aoki Daisuke, a third grader who has romantic love and sexual lust for her sensei, or teacher, who is 23 years old.
YouTube viewers also have had easy access to pedophilia in the past. In 2017, YouTube found itself in controversy when videos were found on the platform, specifically marketed to children, presenting popular children’s characters with adult themes, at times in sexually explicit ways. In 2019, YouTube again found itself at the center of controversy and soon banned over 400 channels and disabled comments on tens of millions of videos concerning child exploitation.
Lifelike child sex dolls are also available for consumers, only helping to normalize sex between adults and minors. These life size dolls are increasingly lifelike, made of silicon flesh-like material, with some even programed to allow conversations.House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte from Virginia stated “These dolls can be programmed to simulate rape. The very thought makes me nauseous.” Rep. Dan Donovan from New York stated warned that “Right now, a few clicks on a computer can allow a predator to order a vile child sex doll. This is not only disturbing — but also endangers the most innocent among us. Once an abuser tires of practicing on a doll, it’s a small step to move on to a child.” Shockingly, in September of 2020, one mother found that her daughter’s likeness was turned into a sex doll, and that the doll was legally for sale on Amazon and other websites.
Perhaps the parable of the frog in boiling water is one that may be a warning sign for society. If you are a frog, you jump from a pot of boiling water. But if you are placed in a pot of tepid water that is gradually heated to boiling, you die. The danger signs of the normalization of pedophilia have been around us for some time, yet many have either ignored these signs, or were unfamiliar with them. To be sure, protecting the innocence, safety, and rights of children is one that should be a bi-partisan one, a battle that must be won. If we do not react to the warning signs around us before it is too late, it will be the children who will indeed suffer.
Dr. John DeGarmo is an international parenting and foster care expert, and a TEDx Talk presenter. He has been a foster parent since 2002, and he and his wife have had over 60 children come through their home. Dr. John is an international consultant to legal firms and foster care agencies, as well as an empowerment and transformational speaker and trainer on many topics about the foster care system. He is the author of several books, including The Foster Parenting Manual, and writes for several publications. Dr. John has appeared on CNN HLN, Good Morning, America, ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, and elsewhere, He and his wife have received many awards, including the Good Morning America Ultimate Hero Award. He can be contacted at drjohndegarmo@gmail, through his Facebook page, Dr. John DeGarmo, or at The Foster Care Institute.