Movies Control: Sex And Violence Essay

1716 words - 7 pages

Nowadays, the media has a greater influence than ever on what the public believes and accepts. Research shows that the amount and realism of violence and sex in movies has skyrocketed, influencing the views of our generation. However, little to no attention is placed on the effects of movies on our views of racism, sexism, classism, and heteronormativity. Before watching a movie, you can get a general idea of how much sex and violence it will contain, in order to decide if it is appropriate for you. However, how can one tell if a movie is too racist, sexist, classist, or heteronormative for his/her viewing pleasure? What makes a movie racist, sexist, classist, or heteronormative for certain audiences, and not others? My take on the Motion Picture Association of America’s rating system serves to tackle these questions and bring light to the media’s influence on our views on racism, sexism, classism, and heternormativity. My audience for this rating system is primarily parents, who are easily offended by the racism, sexism, classism, and heteronormativity present in the media. They would likely care the most about the presentation of these ideologies in a movie, since they would not want their children to be influenced by the views portrayed in the films they watch.
According to my rating system, a G rated movie would be appropriate for all audiences. It would not have any racial undertones or contain any racially charged language or slurs. It would not serve to further any racial stereotypes either. It would focus on our current views of race, not those of the past. It also would not highlight the effects of white privilege, such as seeing members of your race widely represented in the media. A G rated movie would pass the Bechdel Test for sexism. This test involves passing three criteria: “(1) it has to have at least two named women in it, who (2) talk to each other, about (3) something besides a man”. It would also portray males and females in an equal perspective, without fulfilling gender roles. A G rated movie would not portray classism, by avoiding showing prejudices based on ones social or economic class. It also would not contain paternalistic relationships, or aspects of a patriarchy in which females are subservient to males. Furthermore, a G rated movie would avoid perpetuating heteronormativity and oppressive gender stereotypes. It would not show non-heteronormative behavior, such as homosexual encounters, as being deviant behavior, and would not contain homophobic language or slurs (e.g. fag).
A movie with a PG rating would not be appropriate for all audiences. It may offend those who are very sensitive to racism, sexism, classism, and heteronormativity. It would contain some visual acts of racism, such as the effects of white privilege on other races. However, it would not contain any racial slurs or derogatory language. It may not pass all the criteria of the Bechdel Test for sexism; however, it would still contain two or more...

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