After The Release Of The Movie ‘Blonde,’ I Quit Netflix. Here’s Why

If you have access to the internet, then you may be aware of the recent controversy that the film "Blonde" caused. Netflix’s divisive film about Marilyn Monroe's life was released on September 23, generating hard hitting headlines and media blitz.

By Ramsha Afridi3 min read
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The young star's anxieties, traumas, and difficult life during her time in Hollywood were all prominently displayed in the Netflix-produced film, which even included a disturbing scene that showed her being sexually assaulted. 

Consequently, the movie sparked a heated debate about how Marilyn Monroe's life was depicted, with some even claiming that the film's concept was based on sexism and misogyny. As a result, the movie received harsh criticism for supposedly capitalizing on Monroe’s pain, abuse, and difficult life during her time as a top actress.

Many well-known public figures, including the model Emily Ratajkowski, expressed their disapproval of the movie. She said, “I’m not surprised to hear that this is yet another movie fetishizing women’s pain, even in death. We do it in many different ways, but I want this to change.” 

Personally, I somewhat agree with Ratajkowski’s disapproval; the release of this polarizing movie marked a tipping point for me. Recently, I had begun to feel alienated by much of Netflix's content, and Blonde gave me the push I needed to finally stop using the streaming service.

I want to be clear about one thing: I was a Netflix subscriber for a long time because I once used to enjoy their content. In my opinion, it originally offered a variety of movies which were entertaining, compelling, and relatable. Recently, however, I feel that has changed.

Netflix’s “Original” Content Is Unrelatable and Unappealing to a Wider Audience

The creation of "exclusive" content known as "Netflix Originals" is said to have cost Netflix about $17 billion in 2021 in order to cater to a mainstream audience and to attract new viewers. However, as a subscriber, I recently found that a lot of Netflix's original content was divisive, not relatable, and simply not fun to watch.

The creation of "Netflix Originals" is said to have cost Netflix about $17 billion in 2021.

For instance, in Netflix Original The Order, a teen joins a covert organization that engages in the Satanic practice of black magic. The show's main character gets himself involved in a “secret order” and lands in a conflict between supernatural creatures and shadowy magic users in order to seek revenge for his mother’s death.

It’s a dark fantasy series that may have aimed to appeal to a large audience on the platform, however, Netflix ultimately decided to cancel the horror show after two seasons and the true reason for the cancellation was unknown. Some surmise the company didn’t believe it was worthwhile to air the horror series any further as it didn’t garner enough interest from the audience. 

Given the show's dark and disturbing concept, it's worth wondering if such a series of niche and unconventional ideas reflect the values of the vast majority of Netflix viewers. Do us regular people really want to spend a Saturday night watching a gloomy show about black magic and secret societies? Or do we want to watch an uplifting, interesting, or thought-provoking drama series?

There are undoubtedly some viewers who enjoy horror television, but the majority of the company's wider audience, such as myself and many others, would probably be more interested in a Netflix original series that is pleasant and not of a niche, dark subculture. It seems that Netflix is out of touch with its wider audience.

Public Criticism of Netflix Is Nothing New

To delve even deeper into Netflix's bizarre and non-relatable content, the 2020 release of French film Cuties on Netflix sparked widespread outrage. Despite the fact that director Mamouna Doucouré's narrative sought to examine how the internet influences the sexual objectification of young girls, it was accused of doing exactly what it claimed to be advocating against – which was inappropriately sexualizing young girls.

Many critics and viewers felt that the movie's portrayal of the main character, an 11-year-old girl who rebelled against her traditional, religious family in a radical way, was unsettling due to how hypersexualized it was.

After the movie's debut on Netflix, research firm YipitData noticed a spike in U.S. subscription cancellations. According to data analytics, Netflix's cancellation rate in the U.S. increased to a yearlong high, roughly eight times greater than the daily average levels recorded a month earlier. Even hashtags like #cancelnetflix started to trend online as a result of the negative public response to the movie.

This was especially concerning given that the media service in 2019 experienced the first-ever withdrawal of over 100,000 U.S. subscribers and that the number of international subscriptions only approximated a quarter of the over 2 million new paying customers that were anticipated for that year. The reasons for this were attributed to Netflix raising its prices and the strong competition from other streaming services that provided better value.

I recently found that a lot of Netflix's original content was divisive, not relatable, and not fun to watch.

The truth is that most Netflix subscribers, including myself, do not subscribe to watch out-of-touch or uncomfortable content; rather, we do so to enjoy entertainment. As a viewer, I feel like the most recent content is unappealing, polarizing, and controversial, which in my opinion, is not real entertainment.

Blonde Was the Tipping Point That Made Me Quit Netflix 

Nexflix’s movie Blonde was the tipping point which caused me to quit the platform. Blonde, rather than honoring the late Marilyn Monroe’s accomplishments and victories, has come to represent the worst aspects of Hollywood – a highly competitive and exploitative industry that can ruin people’s lives.

It’s undeniable that numerous stories have described the alleged tragic events involving the Hollywood diva up until her death; however, these are still unconfirmed and widely contested, though the film (which was based on a fictionalized book) depicted them as part of her life.

Consequently, I was unable to watch the film for more than 30 minutes because it featured numerous barbaric acts, sexual assaults, and later, a horrendous forced abortion. I also found myself fast-forwarding through many of the gore-filled and explicit scenes as it was very uncomfortable to watch as a person who was simply trying to unwind on a Friday night, especially with family and friends.

I then realized that many Netflix shows have recently been highly unappealing and this was a recurring theme – so I decided to finally cancel my Netflix subscription, for good.

Closing Thoughts

I think Netflix should focus on creating fun entertainment – and stay away from edgy and niche topics. Especially considering that, over the past few years, MGM and Universal have pulled nearly 2,000 films and television shows from Netflix, so the company's content library has been shrinking over time – which is not helpful. Netflix should aim to release relatable content if it doesn't want to risk losing subscribers over the long-term.

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