While most people i’ve talked to are fascinated with the legal (copyright, first amendment, etc.) issues involved, what i really enjoyed was the portrayal of how we leverage protectionist rhetoric and “child safety” to uphold hegemonic moral values that will aid industry. This isn’t actually about the children; it’s about maintenance of power. One of the sections that really highlights this is a discussion on how the MPAA handles violence. Glorified violence (a.k.a. no blood) is PG-13 while imagery that shows the consequences of violence (a.k.a. blood) is R. In a country that is at war and with a generation of soldiers who think that war is like a video game, this bugs the shit out of me. God do i worry about those kids coming back – they’re not doing so well.
Mechanical sex is R while sex that shows female pleasure is NC-17. Heterosexual interactions are PG-13 while homosexual interactions are R. What values are we upholding here? For me, it was particularly compelling to hear the director of Boys Don’t Cry speak. I saw a pre-release viewing of that film with an audience of queer and transgendered folks. I started crying during the opening credits. In depicting the brutality that queer and trans folks experience, that movie broke my heart. And for that reason, i wish that i could get every teen on the planet who’s screaming faggot this and faggot that to watch it. I was ecstatic when Swank won the Oscar. I was horrified to learn that it was rated NC-17 for sexual pleasure and the rape scene (but not for the brutal violence). While i find rape scenes horrifying, most movies fail to show just how devastating being raped is; it’s simplified, pretty-ified. There’s nothing pretty about it in “Boys Don’t Cry.” It’s realistic and heartbreaking, the kind of thing that should be shown precisely because it is anti-glorifying.
Anyhow, go watch the film. It’s worth it.