Reposted from a September 17, 2020, answer on Quora. I have deleted my account there due to harassment, and will be reposting some of my favourite content here.
Originally answered: What are your thoughts on the new movie Cuties?
I was impressed with how realistically and sensitively it portrayed the reality of being an 11-year-old queer girl trying to navigate her nascent sexuality between two polar extremes that seek to either exploit it or suppress and deny it completely. I think it’s not all that different from other coming-of-age movies that deal frankly with young girls’ sexuality and the perils that accompany it in today’s world—like 1995’s Welcome to the Dollhouse, a much more disturbing film that didn’t generate anywhere near the controversy of Cuties.
And yes, I said a queer girl. Amy is very obviously coded as queer, and I think that’s a very important part of the movie—but it has been completely overlooked in the moral panic about it.
We see multiple scenes where Amy’s friends show interest and excitement over boys—interest Amy never shares, but reluctantly joins in on in order to fit in. At the same time, Amy’s fascination with girls’ bodies is far more than curiosity or wanting to match an aesthetic ideal. And the way she looks at Angelica…well.
Amy pretty much only has eyes for Angelica the whole movie, and it’s definitely not just because she wants to be like her. In fact, arguably, it’s Amy’s unrequited crush on Angelica, and her inability to recognize it or act on it, that drives a lot of the plot.
Some articles I found helpful: