If you suck on a tit the movie gets an R rating. If you hack the tit off with an axe it will be PG. ~Jack Nicholson
When I first encountered this quote I thought it was hilarious. I had a good chuckle. *Insert good chuckle*. But then I pondered it on a little longer, and a little longer. Why is that quote surprisingly funny (and slightly exaggerated or is it?) and true?
I had a friend in highschool who used to voice his dad’s opinion about the messed up system of rating movies and/or video games. Apparently he wouldn’t shield his son (as a growing child) from sexual scenes in movies where other parent’s might have. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t like they WERE watching R rated movies but if it was an M rated movie (I am using Australian movie ratings, I’m not sure if America is the same if we have American readers. I think Europe is the same? Ahh so many countries! M is a level up from PG, it recommends 15+) and there was both violence and sexual references the father saw no reason to shield the son from the sexual references. Some people may argue the sexist “father-son” argument but I was informed (and believe) it was otherwise.
Now that I have the moment to pay more attention to it, why is that the case? Why do children play violent games, parent’s buy them violent games (hell some of the best games I played in my childhood were violent) but things of the sexual nature are banned? Is it more appropiate to expose children to violence than sex in movies?
When I think of that question I first think “That’s wrong! Why would they choose violence over sex? If anything sex is part of life, they should be informed and educated about it whereas the violence children watch in movies is horrifying” but at the same time whenever I think of a movie or game that deals with sex to the same level games deal with violence I think of pornography. Sex doesn’t have to be that extreme of course but that is my first thought.
My parents used to cover my eyes when I was young (around the 10 year old mark) because they thought it was inappropriate if a sex scene arose in the movie. They never covered my eyes from the beatings, death or murder I witnessed in movies. The movies weren’t horror but they were action. I don’t think my parents were bad for doing what they did, nor alone in their actions or thoughts about what is appropriate for children. But, is that right?
If the sex displayed in the movie is not rape or “hardcore” but instead a movie scene where the characters make love then why are children still often shielded? I suppose parents may fear that the child will raise many uncomfortable questions, they don’t want their children becoming sexually curious or confused? Ironically, I think that children, in particular adolescence, often know TOO little of sex.
Sure adults often complain about how children use profanities, talk about sex or use sexualised language to harass others but when it comes down to the details and facts about sex they are very much in the dark. They have only encountered these superficial experiences about what sex is by what they have been allowed to see or not see, or what they hear about it. Why are we often so embarrassed to discuss (gradually) it with children and teenagers? It is not like they are shielded from sex entirely, horrifically some children have to endure sexual encounters of which they are totally lost, confused and vulnerable because they don’t know what is happening or their rights. If you ask children about violence its often a totally different ball game. Many will argue it’s like talking about apples and oranges, and it is to some extent but I thought I would let my mind wander…
What do you think about shielding children from sex scenes but not the violent scenes within the same movie? When is it appropriate to expose children to sex in movies and so forth? Do children (adolescents) know TOO MUCH or TOO LITTLE about sex? What do you think? Can sex and violence in movies be compared?
– Ermisenda Alvarez
Guilty! Perhaps we could take some pointers from the Europeans…
Maybe we could. I think it’s one of those issues with no easy answers though. 🙂 Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment.
Patrica Esposito said:
I’ve always had a problem with this. My reasoning mind says I’d rather my kids see healthy sex than unhealthy violence. As a parent, I didn’t shield my kids from sexual things in the form of art or when it was talked about in music, but I will say that there is something that holds me back from being completely open (and I think that’s mostly our society and how we’re raised to think sex needs to be whispered about still–even though it’s all over TV, billboards, videos.
Partly, I don’t like the kids seeing sex without thought, taken too casually or where women are exploited. But still it doesn’t explain why violence is okay then. And so that makes me wonder if the other thing involved is that sex is a real possibility and potentially huge problem, whereas we hope the violence doesn’t happen. So we try to hide it. BUT I definitely don’t think that’s right. I think it’s better out in the open where it can be compared–what’s good sex, what’s bad (lol, in terms of health not, er, technique).
I think that is a good way of approaching it ‘I’d rather my kids see healthy sex than unhealthy violence’. Which is where good sex in terms of health, rights and values come in. It concerns me that for many kids their first encounters with visual sex is through pornography which is often (not all pornography) incredibly unhealthy and degrading to women or to men. False expectations of both genders are created but when “healthy” (everyone defines it differently) sex is shown in movies we often want to shield the young ones. I agree with you that often people think that sex is a real possibility rather than violence. But even with that thought, doesn’t that make it much more important to inform our children on healthy sex and healthy attitudes towards sex and gender?
I think you raised a great point with how sex is often whispered despite it being all over TV, billboards and music videos (I swear some of them could be classified as pornographic). Our society doesn’t always seem to make sense… yet the expectations children grow about sex stem from what is plastered all over the media which is often not healthy (objectification of women). It’s an interesting topic to ponder on… Thanks for sharing your experience as a parent and as an individual. It was great to hear from you. 🙂
Anne Schilde said:
Maybe its as simple as our expectation to grow up and have sex. We don’t expect to grow up to become violent, so the violence is perceived as being imaginary and we don’t try to hide it.
I agree with you. Unfortunately, there are studies to prove how children exposed to violent environments (including games/movies) show higher signs of aggression. We should be promoting healthy images and values for sex rather than hiding it. Unfortunately, not all the movies you see in the cinema do that. But it’s probably a better starting ground, for children in particular, than a more extreme example like pornography which they are also expected to engage with at one point or the other. Thanks for leaving a comment, Anne!
Anne Schilde said:
I’m smiling. Every single new DP movie that came along, from Aurora all the way to my newest favorite Rapunzel, I’ve watched with my heart racing waiting for my first kiss all over again. But I think if Flynn sucked my tit, I’d whack him in the head with that frying pan again!
Haha! I love your comments. My favourite DP is probably… Jasmine, Belle, Pocahontas… Oops… There are too many!
I think you’d appreciate this! 🙂 I just reblogged it on tumblr too. http://29.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_luigvr6sCV1r4j8nco1_500.jpg
Anne Schilde said:
Sweet!!!! Love Nala and Simba! I love Rapunzel because her witch called her Flower which is my protagonist’s name.
My fav princess isn’t Disney though. She’s Anastasia. I know…easy to relate to another Annie, but seriously… I love that movie! Once upon a December is like the coolest song ever and I play it on the piano. ♪♬♪ Someone holds me safe and warm. Horses prance through a silver storm. Figures dancing gracefully across my memory…
And I really like Dimitri for that street rat with a better side. And yeah he could kiss me twice.
Anne Schilde said:
Oh God I’m just rolling now… I scrolled past the picture of the boys in your post and pictured those faces watching me getting my tit sucked in a Disney cartoon…
That would definitely require some popcorn. 😛 Haha!
I love Anastasia! And another ‘non princess’ is Esmerelda from the Hunchback, another favourite. There are too many but the Anastasia songs have always stayed in my mind. They have burned themselves into my soul. My sisters and I used to watch that movie to death. Absolutely awesome! Dimitri <3.
♪♬♪ And life is a road and I wanna to keep going, love is a river I wanna keep flowing, life is a road now and forever wonderful journey. I'll be there when the world stops turning, I'll be there when the storm is through, in the end I wanna be standing, at the beginning with you! ♪♬♪
As someone who… well, let’s call myself an autodidact in the subjects of literature, history, and philosophy… I am inclined to take a slightly different view, to step back a couple of paces and see whether there is a different way of looking at things.
Take violence as portrayed on the screen. The screen is just another proscenium arch. The portrayal of violence in drama is a tradition that goes back thousands of years, certainly as far as Greek tragedy. In Renaissance England we had John Webster’s ‘The Duchess of Malfi’ with its ghoulish waxworks, it’s formal stranglings, its death by kissing a poisoned Bible, its multiple and untidy stabbings. The key here is the concept of catharsis, that the vicarious witnessing of dramatic violence somehow purges the emotions.
Take another example from history – the Roman arena. According to the morality of the day, citizens were inured to violent death by the spectacle and were encouraged to value martial virtues. Compare this to the large number of post-WW2 films where the US Marines battle the Japanese or Germans. Violent films, it could be argued, prepare people to accept that the world is a violent place.
Then there is the ‘morality play’ side of it, perhaps another aspect of catharsis offered. ‘Good’ often triumphs, Willis and Stallone emerge at the end of the film bare-chested, sweating, and scarred, but in their wake amongst the rubble and burnt-out cars lie the bodies of the evildoers. Simplistic but again an old convention.
Sex is a different matter. It is too easy to blame prudery (particularly in the USA where one could take one’s credit card and buy any perversion known to humankind but where one is not allowed to say ‘toilet’) but when we approach that issue we are playing hopscotch in the minefield of human relationships. Violence is so much easier to understand.
Yes violence is cathartic. But… isn’t sex too? Both can be cathartic and both can not be. The way in which violence builds emotion and tension is very different from sex, I agree. And when it comes to the ‘morality play’ side it is much easier to display how good triumphs over evil through violence. I think that’s a beautiful way of describing it ‘when we approach that issue [sex] we are playing hopscotch in the minefield of human relationships.’ Sex is perceived as a very intimate event, generally between two people, it’s private. Violence has rarely been a private affair. The number of violent spectacles as entertainment simply overflow the history books. A movie isn’t private, many people often feel uncomfortable witnessing a sex scene on the screen but not to a violent spectacle. I am not sure if this is ‘innately’ human. It may be the way society has brought us up, to shadow sex and to glorify violence.
‘Violence is so much easier to understand.’ While I agree, I think this is why children should be exposed to gradual, healthy information about sex (maybe movies isn’t the right way to do this). Sex is confusing, and more so because of the rules our society imposes upon it. Whether these rules/expectations are right or wrong, they exist and we too have been shaped by them. Thanks for swinging by, you wrote a provoking response.
Indeed, but I was only commenting on violence on this occasion. 🙂
Anne Schilde said:
The portrayal of sex in drama is a tradition that goes back thousands of years, too, probably further than Greek Greekness. In many ancient cultures, the age of participation started at 12 or 13 and crossed genders as well as morality boundaries even of the time. Wasn’t there some dude in the Bible whose daughters slept with him so that when they were raped in the town they wouldn’t become pregnant with impure seed? The eye shielding is pretty modern age.
That is quite a shocking event with the father and daughters. Oh the ‘impure seed’ belief… the father’s logic doesn’t quite make sense to me but I suppose it’s all contextual. If it’s meant to be honorable or help the situation I definitely fail to view it from that perspective. Thanks for contributing with your insight.
Anne Schilde said:
I went and looked it up. Genesis:30-38. Lot’s daughters actually get him so drunk he doesn’t know, which if you ever tried sex with someone that drunk… right. But yeah pretty shocking. Anyway, that story is really old.
Thanks for clarifying! 🙂
Anne Schilde said:
Oops… Genesis 19:30-38
Have a good point over there. I think that I’d rather let my children watch sex scenes than violence ones! Except when both merge… that’s horrible! When I was 10 I remembered that the TV was on and my family and I happened to come into the iving room. The TV showed a movie in the jungle and a woman was being raped. We watched the whole scene and no one tried to make a move to change channels. I wanted to get away but I couldn’t. That was my first trauma experience as a small child.
Adolescents definitely know too much! It is said that they even know more than thier parents *chuckle*… and I’d not say the contrary… 😉
Wow.. that’s pretty brutal. That sounds pretty traumatic. Thank you for sharing your experiences. It’s hard to shield children from violence within movies though, it seems to be everywhere… but so are scenes of the sexual nature (e.g. kissing). I guess it all comes down to the intensity of the scene and the meaning that is carried alongside it. Great to hear from you! 🙂
This is going to be easier for me in Spanish, so if you don’t mind I’ll continio in Spanish.
Yo tengo 4 niños, 15, 12, 10 y 2 años. Y nuestra postura siempre ha sido protegerles de contenidos inapropiados para su edad. Sexo y violencia incluidos. Pero es cierto que normalmente nos preocupamos más del sexo que de la violencia. En cualquier caso, me parece que corresponde a los padres educarles y no a la televisión. Porque en la vida real ¿quién conoce a alguien, se enamora, se acuesta y se casa en 90 minutos?
Pero es complicado…
Gracias por compartir este interesante post.
No me importa, me encanta leer en español y tengo que practicarlo (no hay muchas personas en Australia quien hablan español!).
Si, es muy complicado. Creo que es mejor si los padres educan sus niños. Pero muchas veces los padres se sienten incomodos hablando de esas cosas con sus niños. Si los niños han sido adecuadamente informado, entonces pueden interpretar las escenas (con sexo y violencia) con sensatez. Creo que es importante equipar los niños con informacion apropiada, y asi pueden pensar por ellos mismos, pero con orientación.
Gracias por darnos tu opiñion como madre. Hasta pronto! 🙂