In the past few years, it’s been amazing to see the wide range of movies that MPAA has designated PG-13, despite the fact that they feature: murderous sociopaths who destroy cities, murderous children who destroy children, boners. That’s why it comes as a big glaring shock when movies like Pride, “a life-affirming story of lesbian and gay activists helping miners,” and a story that features NO violence and “BRIEF sexual content” is given a flat-out, unsafe for under seventeen, R rating.
There’s approximately two sex scenes in Pride, one where a group of women find gay magazines in a bathroom (the horror!), and another that takes place in a bar where young men wear light leather (the terror! And also for me – the rash). So pardon my capitalization there, but the pattern is clear: MPAA routinely gives gay-themed movies that should be rated PG-13/PG R ratings, simply because they feature gay – aka unsafe – content. Pride, described by critics as “a movie you can laugh along and dance to” (chilling!), and a film featuring “infectious high spirits” (ebola?), was given a 15 rating in the UK, meaning that it’s totally safe for loser freshman in high school. It may be seem like an isolated incident, but Pride isn’t alone.
Earlier this summer, Love is Strange, a movie about two older gay men in a long-term relationship (beautiful/snooze), was also given an R-rating. The movie features very little sex but highly explicit gay cuddling. And while Americans have a reputation for being prurient about sex, they’re not that withholding – nearly 53.7 percent of G and PG movies couple violence with sex.
Peter Tatchell, a UK activist, says of the rating:
“It is outrageous, knee-jerk homophobia. There’s no significant sex or violence in Pride to justify the ratings. The American classification board seems to automatically view any film with even the mildest gay content unfit for people under 17.”
And from Ira Sachs, director of Love is Strange:
“I have a strong feeling that many of those same people — mostly men — are still on the MPAA board today, making these arcane decisions very out of step with our times.”
It’s gross and upsetting to me that we still live in a time when gay cuddling isn’t considered safe for teenagers – but child homicide is. Whatever. Check out Pride this weekend, and make sure to bring your handkerchief, for your wanks – or your tears.