My perspective of Cuties is that it arguably violates the non aggression principle, and I doubt 12 and 14 year olds can consent to take part in something like this. However, this does not justify some of the protestors including two elected US Politicians who really ought to know better sharing the most sexualized screenshots out of context to hundreds of thousands-millions of people - while simultaneously claiming cuties is child pornography.
One thing I find quite strange about the Cuties discussion is you will have people (and the politicians I was talking about) sharing the most sensitive clips/screenshots, telling everyone and I’m paraphrasing “This is obviously illegal/this is obviously child pornography”. If you think about it, aren’t those protestors (and the two senators) breaking the law? assuming Cuties does indeed violate the law.
There are definitely better approaches to critiquing the most sensitive scenes, without sharing uncensored screenshots of the most sensitive scenes/moments out of context. Especially considering they took the most sensitive scenes out of context, which arguably would sexualize them even more so than the original movie within context.
The legality of Cuties doesn’t appear that clear cut. Most legal experts suggest it’s unlikely to violate federal law. But it’s not a guarantee. Considering the Feds are generally focusing on child sexual exploitation that is hundreds to billions of times than heinous as Cuties, I doubt they will want to expend large sums of money to try a case that is very borderline like Cuties. They have enough - more than enough on their plate. With limited money, there does appear to be a general focus of Federal prosecution on the most heinous cases, with less serious ones diverted to the State level.
- Whether the focal point of the visual depiction is on the child’s genitalia or pubic area;
I believe there were some very brief parts of the movie where it did pan over the pubic regions. Those moments, while deliberate were relatively brief. I’m not entirely sure if it would satisfy this requirement.
- Whether the setting of the depiction is sexually suggestive, that is, in a place or pose associated with sexual activity;
From what I’ve read, Beds and bedrooms are associated with sexual activity. It’s been ruled that beaches would not be considered sexual. But they were doing those dances in places on the stage. So not sure about this. Could certain setups on the stage, such as lighting, etc be done in such a way as to be considered “sexually suggestive”?
The dances were UNQUESTIONABLY extremely sexualized, however so I think it would meet this requirement.
- Whether the child is depicted in an unnatural pose or in inappropriate attire, considering the age of the child;
I think it should be fairly obvious it checks this requirement.
- Whether the child is fully or partially nude;
Partially nude maybe? I dunno. All their private parts were covered up, but they were not wearing much at all, really short pants, shoes and crop top.
- Whether the visual depiction suggests sexual coyness or a willingness to engage in sexual activity; or
Not entirely sure on this. Arguably certain dances fit this definition? Again if it goes to court, will be up to the jury to decide on this, not me.
- Whether the depiction is designed to elicit a sexual response in the viewer.
6th test is said to be unmistakable. I believe some of the appeal courts have literally said this. And I don’t think the director’s goal was to encourage pedophiles to “get off” to this movie. The director’s goal was to bring awareness to the issue of prepubescents sexualization.
However, I’m sure that she is well aware of the fact that the dances, the clothing, WERE sexualized and she directed them to perform and wear such clothing and dances. So she was deliberately sexualizing them, but not for the purpose of arousing the audience but for the purpose of critiquing prepubescent sexualization.
This is true given that the movie lasted well over an hour and those sexualized scenes were extremely brief in comparison to the overall length of the movie. And considering the motives of the director, I wouldn’t be so sure whether this meets 6. But I’d lean unlikely to. But if it does, I’d imagine there would be a reasonably high chance this technically violates U.S.C. 2252. If it doesn’t, than it’s unlikely to. Regardless of legality, I do not believe it is justify to sexualize children for any purpose, even if the goal is to critique sexualization. You do not burglarize a home to prove that burglarizing homes is wrong. And I will say the same to the protestors (and the two US politicians) who share screenshots out of context: Don’t share sexualized screenshots of children from the movie for the purpose of critiquing the movie on how it’s exploitative of said children.