MPAA should emphasize violence over sex in ratings

PG-13 movies can be pretty violent, but now, the rating may as well be obsolete. PG-13-rated films surpassed R-rated films in the amount of gun violence that they contained in 2011 and 2012, according to a recent study published in Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics., the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The issue here doesn’t lie with the amount of violence in these films, since there’s no correlation between violence in films and the real world. As pointed out by David Horowitz of Media Coalition, Inc. in an interview with USA Today, real-world crime rates have dropped significantly.

The real issue is that the MPAA is not strict about the violence it portrays in PG-13 movies, yet it is still strict about the sexual content in films. For example, including an orgasm scene yeilds an NC-17 rating.

Now that violence seems to have little effect on a movie’s rating, these ratings only signify the amount of sexual content in the film. The MPAA should place more emphasis on violence than on sex when determining which ratings to attach to films. Sex is a natural part of life while gun violence is not.

While changing popular movie content is unlikely, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) needs to put forward clearer and more sensible definitions for PG-13 and R that are more friendly to sexual content compared to violence.

The American people can see a man tortured without becoming upset, as in Casino Royale. But sex in a movie, like Black Swan, enrages some moviegoers. Those reactions are most unfortunate because there’s no immediate fix; Americans’ desensitization to violence and their highly sensitive approach to sex have been decades in the making.

While it’d be great to see the MPAA sensibly judge the amount of skin or sexual contact allowed, that remains unlikely. In the meantime, Hollywood needs to scale back its violence in PG-13 movies, or just bite the bullet and call them what they should be: rated R.