In Ontario there are five classifications for movies, ranging from General (everyone can watch) all the way up to R (18 and over) and each have guidelines as to what can be included in the movie to attain that particular rating.
For example, a 14A (persons younger than 14 must be accompanied by an Adult) limits violence to “Portrayals of violence resulting in some bloodletting and/or tissue damage, which may or may not be fatal. Violence should be within the context of the film.”. Sexual Activity is also limited, “Kissing, petting, fondling, implied sexual activity; sexual innuendo.”.
There is my problem. In what world is violence, including bloodletting on the same level as kissing? Which is the average teenager more likely to part-take in? If the violence is within the context of the film, does that mean that petting also needs to be in part of the context? Incase you were wondering, nudity is cover also with “Full frontal nudity, non-detailed, brief, casual, non-close up, in a non-sexual situation.”
Why is it more acceptable to view violence than sex? Which is more socially acceptable in real life? Why should sex, which near every one in the world does at least once in their lives, be more unacceptable than violence, which a small percentage of the world’s population are involved with?
If we then watch an 18A movie we can only watch “Limited instances of brief simulated sexual activity.” while if we are in the mood for someone getting a good kicking, we are in luck because we can indulge with “Frequent and/or prolonged portrayals of violence resulting in bloodletting and/or tissue damage. Limited instances of brief, visually explicit portrayals of violence.”
I feel as if I mis-read that. Frequent violence is better than limited brief sexual activity? In what universe are those two things considered equal?
Is this decision because it is awkward for parents to watch a movie, with their children, when there is sex on the screen? Could it because as parents, we find it difficult to bring up the subject of sex, and sex education, with our children but it is a lot easier to try to stop them hitting each other?
If you take the time to watch the excellent documentary “This Film Is Not Yet Rated” you can even find more hypocrisy concerning sex on the screen. It appears that female enjoyment deserves a higher classification than if it is a man enjoying sex. Now I am really confused. It is more acceptable to watch a man’s face while he (fakes) an orgasm than a woman? Should this not be equal?
Growing up, I was subjected to violence on television everyday, it was called cartoons, and especially The Road Runner Show. Violence was acceptable even way back then but the closest we got to sexual activity was when Bugs Bunny dressed up in drag and kissed someone. I am not suggesting that cartoons should have had the same level of sex as there was of violence but it does make you think.
As the father of two young boys (6 & 7 at time of writing), I find myself thinking hard about movies that I allow them to watch with my wife and I. My boys are still at the age when kissing on-screen is considered yucky and since violence is readily available via children’s television, we don’t mind the occasional punch up (no bloodletting).
My problem is more with language.
Both my children, apparently, already know most of the infamous seven words that cannot be said on network television, yet I try to avoid them having to listen to the more offensive ones in movies. It can be difficult as it seems that most movies contain at the very least Shit and Ass. As a family we are aware that these, along with a couple of added words decided by the grown ups, are swear words not to be used but understand that people do say them in everyday life (thanks to Grandma and me).
I truly don’t understand how we are able to hear bad language (frowned upon in most polite company), watch violence (something you can be placed in jail for) and then only see a couple kissing (the shock, the horror). How can we educate children to understand about sexual activity and education if we forbid it being seen on the silver screen? As anyone knows, if you forbid something, it just becomes all the more enticing.
Someone could argue that having sex on the movie screen encourages sexual promiscuity, but if that is the case, with all the violence we see, shouldn’t we all have been involved in some kind of violent incidents in the past year?
Personally, I would rather someone fuck my brains out rather than beat my brains out.
P.S. if you wish to watch a movie with your children and are unsure as to the content, if you view the movie at the Internet Movie Database, there is a nearly always a link named Parents Guide which will break down exactly what is featured in the movie. Better to check than have to explain what a reverse cowgirl is.