The MPAA Rates A Movie More Severely If Women Appear To Enjoy Having Sex

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This news is not particularly surprising, either as a whole, or that the movie that brought it to our attention is Sucker Punch, the dubiously characterized “female empowerment” action flick which most reviewers agree is a hot mess of stunning visuals but completely flat characters and a muddy plot.

But according to Emily Browning, there’s a sex scene cut out of Sucker Punch because in order for it to be included and still get a PG-13 rating, the sex had to appear less mutually enjoyable.

Says Browning:

I had a very tame and mild love scene with Jon Hamm. It was like heavy breathing and making out. It was hardly a sex scene… So essentially, [the MPAA] got Zach [Snyder] to edit the scene and make it look less like she’s into it. And Zack said he edited it down to the point where it looked like he was taking advantage of her. That’s the only way he could get a PG-13 (rating) and he said, ‘I don’t want to send that message.’ So they cut the scene!

There’s some kind of snarky connection here to Watchmen‘s toying with the theme of a woman falling in love with her rapist… but I’m so exhausted by trying to explain that there is something wrong with they way we’re doing things if a female action hero only gets a movie if she either appeals directly to the male gaze or is infantilized or both that I just don’t have the energy right now.

To be fair, this quote from Browning is hearsay, but it sounds far, far too much like business at usual for the MPAA, an organization for whom two men or two women kissing once is a guaranteed R rating; but a man cutting off all of another guy’s remaining natural limbs, setting him on fire, and leaving him to burn to death is PG-13.

(via The Hathor Legacy.)

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Susana Polo
Susana Polo thought she'd get her Creative Writing degree from Oberlin, work a crap job, and fake it until she made it into comics. Instead she stumbled into a great job: founding and running this very website (she's Editor at Large now, very fancy). She's spoken at events like Geek Girl Con, New York Comic Con, and Comic Book City Con, wants to get a Batwoman tattoo and write a graphic novel, and one of her canine teeth is in backwards.