rated PG-13 for language

I watched 300 last night. It was surprisingly non-compelling, albeit – of course – beautifully, beautifully done in many places. I was kind of benefitting less from the “beautifully done” aspect because the plot was like something a fifteen year old boy might write down on a napkin in a burger joint talking to his buddy:”OK, then they go here, but like, the queen? Back home, she has to try to convince the counsel to help, um, you know, support the king.” and etc. I think the film probably could have spent a little more of its (what looks like considerable) budget making a storyline that had a tiny bit more interest.

I always notice the rating warnings prior to the film’s opening. Sometimes it will say something like, “PG for mild peril” and sometimes something very oddly specific: “PG-13 for a written instance of adult language and a brief scene involving teen use of a moderately addictive substance”. If I can remember, I will then look for the offending scene(s). 300 told me the film was “Rated R for graphic battle sequences throughout, some sexuality and nudity.” OK, violence, sure – the film is about the battle of Thermopylae after all. And what’s this? “Some sexuality and nudity”? What does that mean? I’ll tell you what it doesn’t mean. It doesn’t mean guys. It doesn’t mean they’ll show a man’s crotch, swinging in the wind or even getting out of the bath. Probably not even a man’s backside and certainly, never, ever, a man’s sexually excited member. So what does “some sexuality and nudity” mean?

Tits. It means tits. We’ll see lots of ’em, or as many as a movie about an all-male battle can possibly find opportunity to do so. Tits in gossamer-thin togas, tits on running peasant girls, tits flopping around on gyrating concubine-whores (because you know those evil tyrant types bring their bitches along to battles), tits in dream sequences of men camped for battle.

I like breasts. They’re awesome. Here’s my problem: why are they treated the way they are? Why are they even seen as nudity these days – something “forbidden” or set aside for adult viewing, yet exploited in every possible way one could think of and in any venue we can bring them? Why are we so disrespectful of the female form yet slaver at any opportunity to bring it into view and pretend it is somehow illicit, wrong, sinful, intensely desirable yet somehow filthy? Standing in the grocery store line my children and I can daily view breasts oiled, bound, deformed, airbrushed, and set on the Versace platters of nubile startlets like a prime piece of butchery – they should put a little frond of parsley and lemon wedge as a broach. Oh look – we got so-and-so respectable TV character to wear a flimsy, wet undershirt and – tee hee! – splashed her with water, later Photoshopping the results to reveal just the right amount of areola! Yay for us! And then yes: now the public can call her a whore for giving up what we begged, cajoled her for, what she’d have to give up to meet her career aspirations.

I’m afraid my children are being raised in a world that employs very sick and sad values about the female body: an out-of-proportion reverence and the coin-flip dark desires to revenge ourselves upon it. Fortunately for me what could terrify or sicken me merely makes me feel merely sad and aware; I just wonder if in my lifetime we will evolve out of what is not merely a Judeo-Christian remnant of simultaneous worship and denigration, but seems a worldwide one that I try very hard no to lay the blame at the feet of men.

The movie delivered precisely the quantity and quality of nudity I expected. I got to see the bare outline of Gerard Butler’s moonlit backside but not even in a way that would be termed “nudity”. And speaking of, I was also surpsied to see not only did the Spartans fight in an efficient battle bikini bottom (with cape, helmet, and big-ass sheild) they apparently all treated themselved to a bikini wax before heading out on the campaign. Those Greeks and their pre-battle rituals.

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