A recent quote provided at the end of an article about the Cuties controversy on Snopes by the screenwriter/director of the film, Maïmouna Doucouré, had her making an interesting statement that begs an interesting question. (It's linked below.)
"We must all come together to figure out what is best for our children. As a director, as an artist, I am doing my part with this film. Politicians, the education system, parents and children must come together to fix what’s gone wrong" [emphasis mine].
Did Doucouré mean to imply that legal "minors" should be given a voice in this controversy? That they should be making some of the decisions that affect their own lives, and that they are considered competent to do so even if the majority say something the adults in the room do not want to hear? That kids should be in on the discussion to regulate their freedom of expression, and whether they need be concerned if adults consider said forms of expression to be "inappropriate" or not? That said expression should be legally protected even if the majority adults are offended by it, and even if (heaven forfend!) there is the possibility of "petafiles" watching vids of this expression and possibly feeling something akin to sexual pleasure in doing so? (Never mind how much the preferences of actual MAPs vary in regards to attire, aesthetics, age group, etc.).
I have not read extensive discussions made by Doucouré on a variety of topics, and she is reputedly a first time director here (she certainly made a mark, either for good or ill, to her career with her debut!), so she lacks an oeuvre of work to compare Cuties with at this time.
Also, it's a bit difficult to tell whether she is totally against this type of freedom of expression (twerk dancing) in particular for young girls, or simply against the extremes it may take if emotionally unhealthy girls pick up on it simply to rebel rather than for genuine aesthetic/artistic interest. Her public statements seem to suggest the former, though there is no way to know for certain how much of that is her actual thinking or to what degree she may have felt compelled to position her words in that direction to allay public condemnation. Hence, it's a bit touch and go there.
Nevertheless, I still highly doubt that Doucouré was doing anything more than throwing a bone to youths with that apparent statement of respectful inclusion into the discussion. I think it's more likely than not that she meant "children should display good decorum by going along with what politicians, parents, and teachers ultimately decide is best for them." Especially when you consider that her statement comes off as rather uncritical of the power of politicians and parents to exercise this power and influence in the first place, and does not seem critical in any way of the manifold problems of the totalitarian education system.
The impression I got is that while she was critical of parental power in some ways in the film, with its tendency to impose religious and cultural beliefs on kids and treat it as an unquestioned duty for them to "carry on" the tradition, it's still ultimately up to parents to realize their mistake and make things right. It is not the right of young people to rebel even in positive ways, with the further implication that rebellion can only lead to negativity and excess on the part of kids, as it did with Amy in the film. Twerking and "sexualization" are bad outcomes that can result if adults in power (parents, politicians, and teachers) do not "act like adults" and fix the problems they alone can fix.
Granted, these adults currently have all the power, and therefore have a degree of extra responsibility to do the right thing. But having such absolute power in the first place is not considered a bad thing. Only making mistakes in how that power is utilized is what is bad. Since it's the responsibility of younger people to do as these adults say, they can help "fix" the problems only by following the lead of adults who finally decide to do the right thing. The increasing number of ways that youths can use social media to express themselves politically, socially, artistically, and in every other way has less potential for good than it does for bad unless adults direct it in the "right" way.
That is the overall impression of what I get from Doucouré's words, or at least what she feels she has to say publicly. I do not know if she is a youth liberationist, but I highly doubt that she is, and thus assumes not only that politicians, parents, and teachers are all on the same team (the three are often in conflict!), but that "their" children (a telling use of this possessive word) are on the same team by default as well.