Oh, Motion Picture Association of America, what wacky hijinks will befall you next? Last week, you went out of your way to cut 'Hatchet 2' off at the knees and leave it bleeding to death at the side of the road, and now you're being exposed for an extraordinarily specific act of sexism: By specifying when a film contains "male nudity" while letting female nakedness fall under the blanket "nudity" statement.
Seriously, MPAA, you little rascal ... you should get a sitcom with all the trouble you get into! Wakka, wakka.
Joking aside, Brian Patrick Thornton's examination of this controversy-in-the-making written for Spangle Magazine is fascinating not only because this is a bizarre choice by the MPAA, but because it exposes a depressing double standard that still lingers over the world, particularly in the media. A choice quote from the article says it all in a nutshell:
"Since 2006, 786 movies have been flagged for "nudity."
Only three - all 2010 releases - have the warning of "male nudity": Jackass 3D, Eat Pray Love, and Grown Ups. Zero in five years carry a "female nudity" red flag."
That means that a movie can contain a smorgasbord of lady parts and receive an MPAA warning of "Contains nudity." However, let one man's private bits dangle into frame and the film gets slapped with a "Contains male nudity." But why is this a big deal? Go ahead and read the rest of the article. Go on. Don't skim it, read it. Okay. Ready?
It's highly doubtful that the MPAA is deliberately making sexist policy changes, but considering that the MPAA is a board made up of, well, to put it nicely, pushover hacks without an artistic or humanly decent bone in their body, they are obviously bending to societal rules that lean toward the male side of the spectrum. You know, the rules that state that women are little more than objects to be oggled at and that a man's anatomy is the ickiest thing in the world and how dare our children be exposed to that on a movie screen, for shame!
This is especially head-scratching since male nudity in film has been on a roll for more than a few years with nary a bump in the road. Just look at the collected filmography of Judd Appatow, or 'The Hangover.' Heck, 'Jackass 3D' promises male nudity on a grand scale in eye-popping 3D, no less.
If you'll allow another quote:
"But why is that different, I asked, from the 783 films of the past five years that needed no gender descriptor for their bare flesh?
Turns out, you can blame Sacha Baron Cohen. "Parents requested specifically after the movie Brüno that we provide such information," [MPAA Spokesman Craig] Hoffman says."
It's a double standard as immature as it is offensive. It's funny that 'Bruno' may be the film that caused this debacle, especially since the satire at the heart of that film was aimed straight at immature men who are terrified at the thought of another man's sex organs.
Of course, that's just one side of this issue. The one that the piece rightfully focuses on is the disgusting choice that male nudity somehow deserves special notification while female nudity is just accepted as par for the course. Hey, MPAA, women can vote now. Women are people, too. If you're going to specify "male nudity" to warn timid parents that their impressionable children will soon see what a man looks like with his pants off, you'd better go ahead and specify if the ladies of the film will be seen in a similar light too. Because, you know, fair is fair, we're all created equal and we should live in an age where neither sex is held in any esteem above the other.
The real quick fix is to just go back to the simple, plain and effective "nudity" warning and drop the specifics. Some of us go to the movies to be surprised, after all.