The Washington Post’s Alyssa Rosenberg writes that “it’s a real shame that so many conservatives are condemning ‘Cuties’ … it’s a shame a movie about an 11-year-old’s moral education has made so many adults act stupid.”

Her reaction is the norm for pro-Cuties critics. Nearly every favorable review argues that the child exploitation depicted in the movie is defensible, noble even, because it is an implicit critique of child exploitation. The film’s sexualizing of children is not as bad as you think because it is a criticism of the sexualization of children is a take, I suppose. Here is another thought: If your attempt to criticize a thing ends up being exactly the thing you criticize, you have failed both personally and professionally.

Cuties engages in exactly that which it claims to oppose. In fact, it presents child sexuality in such a hyperaggressive, highly eroticized manner, with gratuitous close-ups of female curves that don’t yet even exist and astonishingly grotesque dance routines wherein children slither on stage like strippers whose rents are due, that one doubts very much the filmmaker’s stated intent.