Abolish the MPAA | Teen Ink

Abolish the MPAA

February 25, 2011
By SonjaPond BRONZE, Reno, Nevada
SonjaPond BRONZE, Reno, Nevada
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Favorite Quote:
\"You can\'t rate reality\" -Michael Tucker

How many times have your parents kept you from seeing a movie because of its rating? Well, you can thank the MPAA for that. The Motion Picture Association of America is the organization which rates movies. It's one thing for your parents to monitor what you watch, but the MPAA is a secret group of people. You don't know who they are. How can they have any idea what sort of films are appropriate for you? The MPAA is untrustworthy, unnecessary, and should be eliminated.

As many of you already know, there is a rating scale for movies. The mildest is G, for general audiences. The rest are as follows: PG, PG-13, R, and NC-17. Mpaa.org states that PG may require parental guidance, because of “mature themes”. PG-13 allows the use of only one expletive and any more than one results in an R rating. R-rated movies are restricted to people of 17 years of age and up, unless an adult is present. The website says that “Generally, it is not appropriate for parents to bring their young children with them to R-rated motion pictures”. How exactly do they determine what is 'appropriate' for you? If a movie receives an NC-17 rating, movie theaters will not allow anyone under 18 to see it, even with an adult. What makes NC-17 so terrible? The MPAA says that NC-17 rated films contain “element[s] that most parents would consider too strong and therefore off-limits for viewing by their children”. It also says that such a rating “should not be construed as a negative judgment in any sense”. I think that if your parents read that NC-17 was 'off-limits' to children, they may see that as a negative thing. Does it seem right that theaters can literally not allow someone to see a movie just because some mysterious people decided that 'most parents' would consider its content 'too strong'? Who are these people anyways?

I have personally checked both of the MPAA's websites and could not find anything about the people who actually do the ratings. Neither can anyone else. They supposedly represent American parents, but how can we know if they really do? They could be anyone. In his movie, This Film Is Not Yet Rated, director Kirby Dick tries to find out what the MPAA is hiding. Here are a few reports from people who Dick interviewed for his movie.

South Park producer, Matt Stone, commented that when he was producing an independent movie called Orgazmo, the MPAA gave it an NC-17 rating for overall sexual content. When he asked how it could be made into an R-rated movie, the MPAA would not give more specific notes. They claimed that their duty was simply to rate movies. Five years later, Stone produced the South Park movie with Paramount. This was also given an NC-17 rating, but this time, the MPAA was very specific about what needed to be changed in order to lower the rating. Bingham Ray is the co-founder to an independent film production company called October Films. He has seen this sort of thing and agrees that the entire film industry, including the MPAA, is geared toward supporting big production studios, and is against independent film makers.

Michael Tucker reports that his movie was given a rating of R for language and some drug use. His documentary, Gunner Palace, shows frankly and truly what a soldier's life is like. Yes, it is disturbing and yes, the movie has language- it contains the language used by soldiers, in war zones. Tucker was outraged when he received the rating because this is the truth and it is something that people need to see. “You can't rate reality.” -Michael Tucker

What it really comes down to is profits. If the MPAA was genuinely concerned about the well-being of America's youths, they would not rate violent movies PG-13. As long as there is no blood, movies that have numerous murders and death are rated PG-13. Whereas four times as many films received NC-17 for sex than for violence. What is that teaching children? That when someone is shot or stabbed that there is no blood and no consequences? That violence and murder are perfectly alright and that sex is a terrible thing? Sex is a natural function which brings life! This is somehow worse than murder?

Anyone who has children will want to protect them from harm. What parents should be protecting their children from is the MPAA. This organization is obviously not doing its job; its interests are not what is best for children, but rather what brings in the cash. Citizens have the right to know what is in a movie and they have the right to judge the movie based on their own personal standards. Contents of a movie should be displayed and available for the public, with out the biased ratings of the MPAA.

Similar Articles


This article has 1 comment.

Ryan2142 said...
on Mar. 26 2013 at 3:30 am
Very good article with legit points. I worked at a movie theater for a little less than a year (not that that makes my point much more legitimate) and I got to see most movies that came out in 2012. There were obvious prejudices in the way the movies were rated. One example the AVGN pointed out in a review of the Hammer Films Dracula series, was in a 4-pack of very similarly themed movies, one was rated R and one was rated G, as though the organization doesn't even watch older releases.