Seriously, WHAT IS WITH THE VIOLENCE?
(Okay, this blog is kind of long and touches on some delicate subject matter. I’m asking you to PLEASE READ THE WHOLE THING before you comment.)
I’ll be the first to admit that some of my favorite movies are pretty violent. Kill Bill 1 and 2, Fight Club, anything where I can see Vin Diesel shirtless…not exactly films filled with people sitting around working their issues out politely.
But at the same time, I’m becoming more and more shocked by how accepting we really seem to be of violence these days.
I wrote recently about how Chris Brown, who had supposedly successfully completed an anger management class, threw a violent fit at ABC studios after he was asked questions he didn’t want to answer during an interview. Questions, interestingly enough, about his violent beating of ex-girlfriend Rihanna.
ABC’s response was not to press charges against Brown. Instead, they issued a statement “wishing him the best” and are inviting him back to perform on this week’s episode of “Dancing with the Stars.”
I also recently wrote about (and here I go, opening THAT can of worms again) Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance, someone who had in the past made statements AGAINST using violence as the answer to a problem, hell even released a song called “Teenagers” THAT WAS ABOUT NOT RESORTING TO VIOLENCE, issuing two threats of violence against people on the internet who said disparaging things about his actions.
In Way’s case, fans have continued to defend him with “But it was instigated verbally! Both of those girls said things he didn’t LIKE!”
Well, okay. So his immediate reaction is VIOLENCE? Doesn’t that seem, you know, a little messed up?
It’s to the point where violence, something done out of anger and/or hatred, is more acceptable in society than sex, something done out of love and/or a desire for pleasure. There was a HUGE deal made out of the fact that Blue Valentine, a movie starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams was being slapped with an NC-17 rating because of a scene where Williams’ character orgasms from oral sex performed by Gosling.
However, at the same time, Saw 3-D was given an R rating. Saw contained explicit scenes of:
- a woman being bisected by a table saw
- a man’s arms and jaw ripped off
- a woman burned to death
- a woman’s jaw ripped open
- a man being sliced apart by lawnmower blades
So, the MPAA is okay with us seeing people brutally killed, but not okay with us seeing a woman achieve sexual pleasure?
EVEN WORSE: in order to get sexual content past the censors, the trend is becoming to make it more and more violent, making it look less consensual and sometimes even like rape. Sucker Punch star Emily Browning has said:
I had a very tame and mild love scene with Jon Hamm. It was like heavy breathing and making out. It was hardly a sex scene… I think that it’s great for this young girl to actually take control of her own sexuality. Well, the MPAA doesn’t like that. They don’t think a girl should ever be in control of her own sexuality because they’re from the Stone Age.
I don’t know what the fuck is going on and I will openly criticize it, happily. So essentially, they got Zack to edit the scene and make it look less like she’s into it. And Zack said he edited it down to the point where it looked like he was taking advantage of her. That’s the only way he could get a PG-13 (rating) and he said, ‘I don’t want to send that message.’ So they cut the scene!
I’m torn. I want an ‘R’ (rating) because we can get a lot of cool scenes into it, but then I like the idea of younger girls being able to see it
So, um, lemme get this straight:
R rating = woman enjoying sex with a man
PG-13 rating = borderline rape
…no, really, does this seem backwards to ANYONE ELSE?
Similar problems were met when 30 Seconds to Mars released their video for “Hurricane,” which was Jared Leto’s exploration of where sex and violence meet. The violent content, including women being beaten and multiple fight scenes, was deemed okay for showing on television, but the SEXUAL content wasn’t. The shot that censors had the biggest problem with? A quick image of one woman’s hand touching another woman’s g-string clad anus.
Beating people: okay. People touching each other’s no-no places: not okay.
Hell, even the US Government isn’t helping. Look at the recent crisis in Libya. When we agreed to help, we had the option of enforcing a “no-fly zone” and giving humanitarian aid to the civilians being bombed.
Instead we’re firing missiles.
Seriously, do we have to react to EVERYTHING with violence? I’m not saying I’m innocent of it and I’m not saying we need to sit around in a circle singing “Kumbaya.” I readily admit that sometimes violence is necessary and I have absolutely no illusions that we can get rid of violence entirely. But I do think that right now excessive violence is becoming normalized and excused. And I don’t like to think where that trend could end up heading.
I mean, look at the case of Jessi Slaughter, who at 11-years-old thought it was cool or cute to tell people to shoot themselves or threaten violence against them. And as it turns out, she may have been raised in an environment of abuse where violence was the way you dealt with problems. Violence was acceptable as a means to an end.
So, really, I think we need to start looking at why we think violence is the answer to things. Maybe from now on when we react violently to something or we try to excuse a violent action in someone else, we need to sit back and think “Wait, why do I think violence is okay in this situation? Why is my first instinct to think about/defend violence? What would the consequences be if I/the person I’m defending carried out that violent threat in real life?”
I’m not saying we’ll find good answers. But I’m thinking it’s a good place to start.