General Question

Eytan's avatar

Why do American movies emphasize violence over sexuality?

Asked by Eytan (10points) April 2nd, 2011

The MPAA guidelines for PG-13 and R-rated moves are largely determined by the movie’s graphic nature of violence and sexuality. Why do they give more leeway to violent imagery and heavily censor scenes that depict sexual acts?

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8 Answers

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

The US has never shaken loose of its Puritanical roots. We can, therefore, tolerate violence, but we refuse to allow scenes of love.

creative1's avatar

@hawaii_jake you are every so correct at that. We seem not to be seem to be able to handle the look of love making like they can in european countries. When I was over in Paris and England I was like wow they would never allow any of these type of tv commercials on american tv they are so more open with their sexuality over there.

Sometimes thought I think we are too easy on the violence though and can’t believe what is a pg rating in that respect.

marinelife's avatar

America has never lost its Puritan streak..

Ladymia69's avatar

First of all, whenever the US has violence or sex in its films, it is always bastardized, exaggerated, exploited, vulgarized, and made grotesque. American films have no real sensuality in them, just some vulgar and boring idea of sex, because it is a selling point. But ultimately, I think violence is championed over sex because the religious/fundamentalist/republican/evangelical/right wing lobbyists are still infiltrated in every corner of corporate America, including the film industry. America is also a family-centric society, so the consumer that is considered first will always be the family.

WasCy's avatar

“Big” movies are big business. They have to pull in the widest possible audience in order to make a return on the huge investments that are made in them. The ratings system is in place to give some kind of ‘known’ guidance to the viewing public about what they might expect to find in the film, and it’s weighted to appeal to the way most American families raise their kids – meaning that “depictions of violence are okay” and “depictions of overt sexuality and nudity” are not so okay.

As long as Americans keep supporting these kinds of “big” movies, they’ll be made the way they’ve always been made, because they sell. If you prefer foreign, independent, unrated, or more nuanced movies that are more character and plot driven, whether or not they have sex and nudity and whether or not there are graphically violent scenes in them, then you have to seek them out instead. But most of us aren’t willing to make the effort to search for or screen movies that way, or to “seek out” something that takes longer to find and is more difficult to schedule than what’s showing at the multiplex at the mall.

And most Americans still won’t let their kids see nudity, whether or not there’s “sex” involved or not. Even those who permit its depiction in their entertainment are generally unwilling to overtly acknowledge it.

So, yeah, it’s “Puritanism” at base, but it’s also economics, politics, marketing and convenience. Like everything else, it’s not a simple “here is the reason” answer – no matter how much people prefer that to actually thinking about a thing, too.

Nullo's avatar

Sex is supposed to be personal and intimate, not something to entertain the masses. Violence has no such taboos.
@hawaii_jake You fail to distinguish between love and sex. The two are not the same.

@ladymia69 Could you explain “violence is championed over sex because the religious/fundamentalist/republican/evangelical/right wing lobbyists are still infiltrated in every corner of corporate America, including the film industry”? At present, your statement is a non-sequitur. And conservative/religious/right-wing control of Hollywood! Don’t make me laugh so hard right after dinner! Most film types are liberals, and most conservatives, given the chance to dictate movie policy, would eliminate a lot – like profanity, provocative dress, drug use and references, that sort of thing.

Bellatrix's avatar


Ladymia69's avatar

@Nullo Yep, sorry, what I meant to add was that the aforementioned people (religious right, ad nauseam) are fairly comfortable with violence because they have used it for eons to make their stance and their religious beliefs penultimate in this country (and the world). But they will never be comfortable with sex, for many reasons, not the least of them being that a) it eludes them, b) religion is synonymous with Puritanism, and views sex as pretty much the root of all evil…which it does NOT do with violence, for some reason. Anyway, these people are the majority in this country, so their money is going behind the films when they view them. As far as you claiming there are no Right-wing people in the movie industry, are you kidding? Arnold Schwarzenegger is the governor of Hollywood!!!!

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