Girls who wouldn’t be caught dead at 50 Shades of Grey drive to Fayetteville to see American Sniper on a Friday afternoon. Skip the first scene of Bridesmaids but watch Saving Private Ryan with eyes wide open. Watch Gladiator in the Mayfield basement; don’t even think about watching We’re the Millers. View Troy in class because it’s history. Titanic though? No way. Give people a warning about “that scene” in The Notebook; say nothing about The Lord of the Rings. Get Fury from Redbox but never Sex Tape. Because the name, you know.
We are uncomfortable with sex on our screens. I’m not talking about pornography. I’m talking about your five-second scene in a dark room and people in sheets. We are uncomfortable with characters alluding to the fact that they are perhaps going to have sex later or that they just did. We get nervous about the scene fading to black and then the messy hair afterwards. We fast-forward through the part where their clothes are off and they look like they’re enjoying it.
But we get all wrapped up in the action and in the battle. We sit on the edge of our seats through the combat. We enjoy it. We hardly bat an eye at more than 300 deaths in some of the most popular war movies. The slaughter of nameless civilians doesn’t leave us writhing.
“But we need to see the war!” You say. “It’s real!”
Is it any more real than people being naked together in their bedrooms at night? Why is one entirely acceptable, while the other is shameful and embarrassing? Why do Christians have no qualms about going to a war film, but boycott the movie with the sex scene and write blogs about how the sexualization of Hollywood is the downfall of America?
Why do we look away during the boob scene? I have boobs. Why do we cloak certain parts of our bodies with shame?
When I potentially someday have children, I would far rather they view sex in movies than view violence. Because, while both are real, I believe we need to be exposed to both, and I want them to perceive one as normal and the other as not. I want my children to know that, yes, they are sexual too, and everyone is. It’s okay, let’s talk about it. I don’t want them to be afraid of it. I don’t want it to mean nothing, to be stripped of meaning; but I also don’t want it to mean fear.
But I do want them to be afraid of guns. I want them to feel uncomfortable with bombs. I don’t want them to ever get used to that. Even if you don’t agree that sex should be more acceptable, then perhaps at least violence should be less so. There is a giant disparity that I don’t think should exist.
Guy is a junior majoring in psychology and family & human services. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.