Every movie-goer is familiar with the MPAA’s rating stamp that precedes a film:
*G: General audiences. All ages admitted.
*PG: Parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children.
*PG-13: Parents strongly cautioned.Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.
*R: Restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.
*NC-17: No one 17 and under admitted.
However, most remain unaware of the controversy over the MPAA’s rating system and the institution itself.
Throughout the years, the system has evolved as the content of movies has changed. A segment of conservatives and parents’ groups feel the MPAA has become irresponsible by allowing increasingly sexually explicit and excessively violent scenes in films. These groups lobby the organization to exercise more discretion and control over the content of films classified for children’s viewing.
Selected artist groups and civil libertarians accuse the MPAA of having too much control over content and of situating itself as a moral authority. Established by the film industry as a self-regulating body, they feel this structure has lead to the same restrictions that would arise from state control. As a privately governed institution, they argue that the lack of transparency and accountability to the public is highly problematic.
Do parents’ need for tools to monitor what their children listen to and watch override First Amendment concerns? Is the rating system too restrictive or not sensitive enough? Would government regulation be more democratic?
Join us this week at Café Society as we explore the mysteries of the MPAA!
For more informaiton, please contact Kristin Millikan at 312.422.5580.