Published: Nov 27, 2012 07:00 PM
Modified: Nov 27, 2012 06:18 PM
Movies are a huge part of American culture. Dating back to the invention of the first motion picture cameras in the late 1800s, and continuing until today, cinema has been one of the greatest types of entertainment of the modern era.
Movies combine three unique yet easily compatible art forms: photography, storytelling and acting. However, unlike any of the those, films receive a rating: a guideline or boundary put in place to caution or prevent youth from viewing certain movies.
If none of the contributing factors to cinema have any official type of censorship, then why do movies? There area many reasons why, but a few that stand out: movies are extremely popular, movies often leave less to the imagination than other art forms, and movies are very accessible to children.
According to the Motion Picture Association of America, (MPAA) about 600 movies are released in the United States every year. With such a large volume of movies being released, it is necessary to have an official system of rating and censorship.
Movies generally present a much more clear and vivid story and set of images than other forms of art, and they can often be very emotionally disturbing. In 2011, 96.7 percent of American households had TVs. This means that children have a lot of access to movies on television, and so a rating system is necessary in order to make sure certain movies are not on TV.
Although these are valid reasons to have censorship of movies, the current system is not ideal.
In the United States, we strongly value equal representation of all demographics. In contrast, American parents feel the need to censor certain parts of media from their children until they grow older.
How can a balance be met between censoring movies and giving a voice to the American youth? With a more balanced rating system.
In the movie rating system today, an anonymous group of parents in California gets together, watches the movie in question, and fills out a form with detailed criteria. From these forms, a rating is deduced. In this process, however, the youth have no say in the rating by which they are directly affected. The solution: have a more diverse group of people enforcing the ratings, not just parents. A group of children, teenagers, college students, parents, and elderly people. After all, it is not just parents and their kids that watch movies.
Cinema is one of the greatest art forms of our time, and it should be rated based on the opinions of everyone who enjoys it.Cal Young is from Chapel Hill and is currently attending the School for Ethics and Global Leadership in Washington D.C., a semester-long boarding program for diverse, intellectually motivated high school juniors from around the United States and the world.
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