Feature

'Male nudity': More alarming than female nudity?

Hollywood watchdog group, the MPAA, has started slapping a special warning on films containing naked men — leading some commentators to cry sexism 

Naked men have got the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) into trouble. Hollywood's ratings watchdog has begun specifically warning filmgoers that a movie contains male nudity — even though female nudity is simply flagged as "nudity." This year, the MPAA has stamped Grown Ups, Eat Pray Love and Jackass 3D with a "male nudity" warning, leading some to accuse the MPAA of a sexist double standard. The organization says parents demanded the qualified warning after discovering that some of the "graphic nudity" in Sacha Baron Cohen's gay-themed comedy Bruno was phallic. Is the MPAA being discriminatory, or just family-friendly?

Such cautions should be equal-opportunity: Hey MPAA, says Jacob Hall at Cinematical. "Women are people, too." If you're going to "warn timid parents that their impressionable children will soon see what a man looks like with his pants off," then you'd better do the same when a female character disrobes. "We're all created equal." Better still, "drop the specifics." If parents don't understand that "graphic nudity" might include men, it's their own fault."Male nudity singled out by MPAA. Is this a good idea?"

Gay-fearing Hollywood is frightened of naked men: The new warning is not just sexist, says Brian Patrick Thornton at Spangle Magazine, but homophobic, too. I suspect that naked woman are considered less problematic because "straight men are turned on by the sight, and women aren't turned off." Hollywood clearly can't stand the sight of nude men. How long before the MPAA introduces a "homosexual content" stamp? "In the classification of slopes, [this is] a very slippery one indeed.""The slippery slope of the MPAA's new ratings policy"

Parents need guidance, but this is overkill: All this spat proves is that the MPAA is susceptible to "stupidity, knee-jerk reactionism and rumor," says Cole Abaius at Film School Rejects. It's important to equip parents to make decisions, but "singling out male nudity as if it has any substantive difference from female nudity" goes too far. It's high time for a "re-evaluation" of this ratings body. "The MPAA and the two nudities"

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