Sexism in the Rating System (continued)

“The MPAA is okay supporting scenes that portray women in scenarios of sexual torture and violence for entertainment purposes, but they are trying to force us to look away from a scene that shows a woman in a sexual scenario, which is both complicit and complex. It’s misogynistic in nature to try and control a woman’s sexual presentation of self. I consider this an issue that is bigger than this film.” This is Ryan Gosling’s response to the MPAA’s decision to rate the film Blue Valentine NC-17, a rating which disallows individuals under 17 to see the film at all. So what did Blue valentine present which caused it to receive a rating much more serious than the R rating Fifty Shades of Grey received? Blue Valentine was officially given the rating due to a scene depicting cunnilingus. Gosling accused the MPAA of sexism and misogyny. “There’s plenty of oral sex scenes in a lot of movies, where it’s a man receiving it from a woman – and they’re R-rated. Ours is reversed and somehow it’s perceived as pornographic.” The point Gosling is making is that when sex was depicted from a female perspective making the female an equal or more dominating figure in the sexual act, that sex scene is immediately labeled as pornographic. The sexual scenes in Fifty Shades of Grey, take place between an extremely unexperienced, young, hesitant female and very dominant and forceful male. These scenes openly feature and support very twisted and austerely damaging portrayal of BDSM as defined by the male prerogative. The female has absolutely no voice. Her consent and equal control is absent. Those scenes received an R rating. Likewise the sex scenes in Game of Thrones, constant male controlled oral and anal sex, rape, and sexual abuse were rated comparatively as less offensive. The sex in Game of Thrones and Fifty shades of Grey is seen as more appropriate than the deeply personal, contemplative and consensual sex between husband and wife taking place from a female perspective. Far fewer individuals are exposed to the much more realistic and healthy sex presented in Blue valentine than the horrific version sex and the female body seen in Fifty Shades of Grey. This is a product of a perverse and antediluvian rating system.

Anna Roth

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