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Rating Systems: From the Teen’s View

by Jacob P. | July 9th, 2012 | Teen Perspective

First of all, I would like to apologize for lying. I didn’t get the talk I was expecting about the responsibilities of driving, so I will not be able to write the second part of that “My Expectations.” The only rules I got were about gas money, and they were exactly what I was expecting. So, I’m afraid I won’t be able to finish the series.

Now that I have explained myself, on to today’s article. I am currently watching Band of Brothers (on DVD), which, for those who do not know, is an HBO miniseries following Easy Company, 506th Regiment, of the 101st Airborne through World War II. It is, by nature, a serious, violent, and profane series. This means many parents would not consider it an appropriate movie for kids, tweens, and even some teens, but I think that the television and MPAA ratings systems are essentially broken.

First of all, the way sex and nudity are handled is very odd. They’re considered worse than violence and swearing. This has always struck me as backwards, because the human body and sex are completely natural, while excessive violence and over-the-top swearing aren’t. Also, they treat nudity completely differently based on gender. A male butt earns a PG-13 rating, while a female butt will almost always receive an “R” rating. This is because sexual nudity earns an “R” rating, while brief (non-sexual) nudity is a “PG” rating and general (non-sexual) nudity is “PG-13.” A topless woman taking a shower is instantly classified as sexual, even if it is an entirely non-sexual manner. A naked man taking a shower is a far more likely to be considered non-sexual.

Secondly, the way violence is handled is also rather odd. Gross amounts of violence can be put in a movie and it can still receive a “PG-13” rating. As the South Park film Bigger, Longer, and Uncut put it, “Just remember what the MPAA says: Horrific, deplorable violence is okay, as long as people don’t say any naughty words!” Also, I think there should be a separate category for war violence. I feel that war violence is actually not as bad, because it is historical and often actually happened, unlike the senseless violence in movies about criminals and such.

Third and finally, I think the system for handling swearing is actually not bad. I think there should be zero swearing in “G” movies, minimal, mild swearing in “PG” movies, medium swearing in “PG-13″ movies, and basically as much swearing as you want in “R” movies. If you are old enough to see an “R” rated movie, you know just about any possible swear word. Also, if your parents let you see an “R” rated movie at an exceptionally young age, they are probably swearing around you anyway. So, it seems to be the one thing that rating systems get right.

I feel that the MPAA and Television Rating Systems are, in essence, all #%*!ed up. Although they get swearing somewhat right, everything else is messed up. The system undeniably needs improvement. If you agree or disagree, feel free to comment below.

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