Sex and Violence

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Brad_W, Jan 2, 2002.

  1. Brad_W

    Brad_W Screenwriter

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    I worked at a video store for three years during college and one thing I came across was this (and yes, I am going to over-simplify the issue for time/length's sake):

    Adults with pre-teens/teens that don't want their children to watch sex in film, but it's okay for them to watch violence.

    Here's my problem: Though killing (typically for food) used to be natural to us and has since been suppressed by modern society (actually since the dawn of society) it is not morally right for us to kill other human beings. However, sex is completely natural between two concenting adults and, though still considered taboo by many, normal and prominate in our society.

    Which leads me to my next issue: There was a guy that used to come to my video store with his two 14 year-old sons and constantly ask me about the "action" movies he was renting. He would first ask my opinion of the film and then ask me if there was sex involved. I couldn't understand why he felt it was okay to let his sons watch 5-15 killings per movie (unatural), but be very concerned about whether sex (natural) was shown. I mean, what is this teaching his children? That violence is okay, but sex is not? I understand that because of the sometimes sensationalized and over-the-top depiction of violence that it can be construed as fake, but regardless of it's depiction, it's still violence. I am also not talking about comparing films like Predator vs. Debbie Does The Entire City of Los Angles either. I finally asked him about that and he just blushed with embarssement and never answered my question.

    When I have children and they are young, I just won't allow them to watch violent or sex involved material. When they get to be 14 and my wife and I feel it is okay for our children to watch R-rated films, sex and violence are part of that and will not discriminate.

    And I'm spent.
     
  2. Kelley_B

    Kelley_B Cinematographer

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    I agree 100%! Both me and my fiance say if we ever have a kid that we would rather them watch Sex and the City over Predator or Terminator or something along those lines, though we will not block our child's choice of entertainment as that is how I was raised and I turned out alright.
     
  3. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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  4. MickeS

    MickeS Producer

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  5. Bhagi Katbamna

    Bhagi Katbamna Supporting Actor

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    I don't let my kids watch violent movies or movies with sex/nudity(they are 9 and 6). On the other hand, I don't feel comfortable watching a movie that has sex/nudity with my parents but violent movies don't generate any discomfort.

    I am not sure why.
     
  6. MikeF

    MikeF Stunt Coordinator

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    I think the phenomenon you are describing is unique to the U.S., and to a lesser extent, Canada. You certainly don't find the same sort of aversion to sexuality in most of Europe, both eastern and western. There is much less tolerance of violence, in my experience, however.
     
  7. Henry Carmona

    Henry Carmona Screenwriter

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    Location:
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    Real Name:
    Henry Carmona
     
  8. Marty Christion

    Marty Christion Stunt Coordinator

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    You're comparing apples to oranges, as the violence in movies is always understood as fake (no matter how realistic it is portrayed), while the sex (even if "simulated") still makes the brain react as if it were real.

    If you want a serious discussion of violence in entertainment, check out the book

    Why We Watch : The Attractions of Violent Entertainment

    by Jeffrey H. Goldstein

    It's a collection of studies about this very topic.

    The best example is 9-11. We have enjoyed countless images of worse violence and destruction in countless movies. Yet, for all that, did anyone actually enjoy what they saw that day? No, becuase it was real. Our brain reacts totally differently to real images. Unfortunately, there isn't an easy way to fake nudity in a film, or swearing. That's why those things are more offensive to many people. It's not a matter of hypocracy, it's just a matter of the brain reacting differently to fake vs. real images.

    A good movie can draw us in to such a degree that the brain is somewhat fooled into caring about the "fake" violence, and we react in horror, but at our basest level of understanding, we still know it's fake.
     
  9. MickeS

    MickeS Producer

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    Marty, very good post.

    I was wondering the other day if there will be animated realistic-looking hardcore porn movies soon, that would certainly be a good area to use animation in since it would remove one of the things that a lot of anti-porn people complain about (the use of real people), yet let everything be just as explicit.

    If so, would porn become more accepted, like violence is?

    /Mike
     
  10. Mark Schermerhorn

    Mark Schermerhorn Second Unit

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    MickeS: The Japanese have a lot of "cartoon" porn movies, although I don't know if that fits your definition of realistic. I've seen a few and they're pretty ridiculous (IMO of course), but certainly have their audience.
     
  11. MickeS

    MickeS Producer

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    Mark, oops, I forgot to say that I meant photorealistic computer generated animation, like in "Final Fantasy" or "The Phantom Menace". I would bet that once that stuff comes down in price we'll see some...

    /Mike
     
  12. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Sex is not a spectator sport? Tell that to the folks at Vivid Video in the San Fernando Valley. Or to any number of ad agency creative directors.
     
  13. Richard Kim

    Richard Kim Producer

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    While people are offering psychological explainations about how we perceive sex and violence in the media, I believe we have to look at the cultural/sociologial aspects as well. As mentioned earlier, Americans in general are much more lenient in showing kids violence, while they are much more squemish when it comes to sexual material. The MPAA is more likely to give NC-17 ratings to sexual content rather than violence. Some good examples are Eyes Wide Shut and Requiem For A Dream. In Europe, the opposite is true, violence in the media is looked down upon more, while more more lenient when it comes to sex. The censors in Britain crack down harder on violent content, and strangly censor stuff like headbutts and nunchaku.

    This discrepency could be due to the fact that American society in general is sexually repressed and discourage bringing it up in public, while in Europe is more open and permissive when it comes to talking about it. For example, the customer that Brad W talked with blushed when asked why he wouldn't let his kids watch sexual material in movies.

    And then we have Japan, which has tons of sex and violence in their animation, even kids shows. But that's another story.
     
  14. Steve_Ch

    Steve_Ch Supporting Actor

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    >>As mentioned earlier, Americans in general are much more lenient in showing kids violence, while they are much more squemish when it comes to sexual material.
     
  15. MikeF

    MikeF Stunt Coordinator

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  16. Ashley Seymour

    Ashley Seymour Supporting Actor

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    So we take out the sex and violence and what are we left with? Mr. Rogers meets Barney?

    It appears that it is politically correct to condemn violence and excuse depictions of sexual acts, or nudity. Of course the issue is more complex.

    No where do I see a discussion of the reason for the inclusion of violence or sexual acts in a film or play. Violent acts are usually instigated by a criminal or sociopathic element of society, and a violent response by authorities is justified in response to the degree of violence theat is encountered. This depiction of violence is an element in the art of the play. Evil commits violence, good is justified in using violence for self protection. Vicarious violence is not regarded as acceptable or a successful plot device. I just played Grand Theft Auto III with my son and this is as close to gratuitous violence as I can describe. There is no moral in the play, just repeated acts of violence.

    Does the fact that sex between consenting adults jutify it's depiction? Sex, like violence, is depicted to tell a story. The rewards and consequences of acts of sex can be used in a play to make a moral point. Gratuitous acts of sex are no different that violence.

    Sex is a natural and healthy human activity, but I know of no society that would include children to either view or participate in acts of sex. All societies consider the inclusion of children to be a depraved activity.

    If it is not yet obvious, I consider the depiction of acts of sex or violence in plays and movies to be a legitimate plot device. Whether it is effective is what differenciates high from low art.
     
  17. PatrickM

    PatrickM Screenwriter

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    Isn't this what the South Park movie was about?
     
  18. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    Wasn't Unka Fucka a hoot? [​IMG]
    Maybe it's the prostitution angle we're not comfortable with, we don't feel like someone has prostituted themselves when they are hired to be filmed commiting acts of violence, but there is a fine line that is close to being crossed when 2 actors engage in simulated acts of intercourse for the camera.
     
  19. MikeM

    MikeM Screenwriter

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    I personally would love to see more Sax and Violins in movies these days, dag nabbit.
     
  20. Bhagi Katbamna

    Bhagi Katbamna Supporting Actor

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    "I hate all this sex on TV, I mean, I keep falling off."
     

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