The MPAA has given the drama Blue Valentine an NC-17 rating for a scene in which Ryan Gosling goes down on Michelle Williams. The Weinstein Company is currently appealing the rating, but yesterday Gosling slammed the MPAA for their double standards:

You have to question a cinematic culture which preaches artistic expression, and yet would support a decision that is clearly a product of a patriarchy-dominant society, which tries to control how women are depicted on screen. The MPAA is okay supporting scenes that portray women in scenarios of sexual torture and violence for entertainment purposes, but they are trying to force us to look away from a scene that shows a woman in a sexual scenario, which is both complicit and complex. It's misogynistic in nature to try and control a woman's sexual presentation of self. I consider this an issue that is bigger than this film.

I feel my heterosexuality crumbling in the face of this man's clear-eyed righteousness. Williams added that "the MPAA's decision on Blue Valentine unmasks a taboo in our culture, that an honest portrayal of a relationship is more threatening than a sensationalized one." (I think it also unmasks a taboo in our culture that an honest portrayal of oral sex on a woman is more threatening than an honest portrayal of oral sex on a man, since the latter is a staple of R-rated teen comedy.) Go team Blue Valentine!

Commentarium (11 Comments)

Nov 19 10 - 12:13pm
explainerguy

I've often wondered why studios just don't go around the MPAA and release films without ratings. if big chain theaters won't show unrated films then they'll go out of business, so that'll be the end of the MPAA

Nov 19 10 - 12:28pm
Me

But everybody would have to do it together, and every movie that doesn't get an unjust NC17 rating has a lot of interest in keeping the current system going.

Nov 19 10 - 12:37pm
andalso

The MPAA is run by the big studios. This Film is Not Yet Rated is an interesting and infuriating look into the censorship that is the rating system.

Nov 19 10 - 1:39pm
Vinegar Bend

Is the MPAA backsliding? I mean...wasn't there a scene like this in "Coming Home" with Jane Fonda and Jon Voight almost 40 years ago?

Nov 19 10 - 2:08pm
Me

Vinegar Bend, the MPAA is hardly consistent. They have guidelines about enforcement, but they can ignore them whenever they want.

Nov 19 10 - 2:33pm
meh

The Girl Who Played with Fire has a very explicit Girl/Girl oral sex scene, but it is rated R in the US. I guess moaning in Swedish makes it OK?

Nov 21 10 - 3:46pm
sylvia

if studios don't submit to the MPAA rating system they can't get their movies played in theaters and they don't get money for post production. This Film Is Not Yet Rated = the shit.

Nov 29 10 - 7:44pm
Jerry

More to the point, the majority of studios can't get around the MPAA not because the studios run it, but because the studios FOUNDED it. Any studio that has membership in the MPAA is obliged to submit all of its films intended for theatrical release to the ratings board. This has caused some bizarre complications in a few notable cases, wherein films that had originally been sold to studios for distribution had to be bought back by independents because of that requirement; studios that aren't members have the option of releasing unrated films, but in cases like that, wide release is out of the question because of rules that corporate exhibitors may have about unrated or NC-17 films.

Jan 05 11 - 4:14pm
RobinG

The MPAA needs to die.

Mar 15 11 - 3:37am
Walter Hudson

MPAA is an antiquated institution which serves no purpose. There's no question they're more offended by female pleasure than male pleasure, which is just bizarre.

Dec 11 11 - 11:07am
vivian

@Walter: It's not so bizarre when you consider that MPAA is mostly full of antiquated, sexist men who have interests, conscious or not, to repress female sexual pleasure. It's just another instance of institutionalized patriarchy.