MPAA – Motion Parent Association for Adolescents

I’m currently raising a tween (she’s 12). There’s a few things I was expecting like the constant talking to her friends (on her ipod and not the phone I imagined when she was born) and the difficulty in getting her to clean her room to name a couple.  And while I knew one day the whole PG-13 to rated R question would come up, it’s extremely difficult to decide what to do unless I take it on a case by case basis.  There is no one size fits all without being unfair. Also, I failed to realize I was going to have the same problem with TV shows and not just the HBO stuff.

The movie rating system tends to feel that city-wide massacres are okay for PG-13 as long as you don’t show the blood (Avengers, Batman, Transformers).  But if it gets too bloody or there’s a boob then it’s rated R.  This means decapitated heads flying in the air are okay for 13 year olds, but saying too many cuss words is rated R even if the body count is lower.

PG-13 (Lord of the Rings : Return of the King)

PG-13 (Lord of the Rings : Return of the King). If he’d said fuck a few times he would have lived to see an R rating.

Let me go on record saying I think the people who rate movies are either being paid under the table, are idiots, or choose movie ratings based on spinning a wheel. Despite being rated PG-13, there’s no way I was going to deprive my daughter of watching the Marvel movies and a few other questionable choices.  So she’s had free reign of PG-13 for years.

she was six at the Hellboy 2 screening. BTW, she still loves Hellboy to this day and even cosplayed him once

She especially loves Hawkeye. She wants to see all the Jeremy Renner movies she can. Unfortunately, Renner makes a shitload of rated R movies. To be fair, because I know that sometimes rated R movies only get the higher rating for dumb reasons, I watch the R movie and decide if it’s okay. Hence she watched Hansel & Gretel, and little else.

God Damn it, Renner, rated R again?

Which brings me to TV because, and I didn’t see this coming a mile away, is a lot harder to judge for appropriate content.  While a movie I can watch in less than 3 hours, a TV show could take me days even if I was binge watching 12 hours a day.  Her friends are watching things like the Walking Dead and Orange is the New Black and I’m left thinking, “but those are even worse than some of the rated R movies”.  Less serious shit happens in Usual Suspects than in the Walking Dead.

This is now her favorite movie. She made me watch it twice in one day. Sometimes she quotes it at school, but not the curse words. If she is saying the curse words, well, she knows enough not to get caught by an adult.

There’s a few things I’ve said she can watch when she’s 13, Orange is the New Black is one of them and I swear this girl can tell you just how long until her 13th birthday.  I had originally thought years ago that at 13 I would give her carte blanche to watch anything that was rated R, but I have since changed my mind.

mostly Scorsese’s fault. This movie should be NC-17. The fact that it isn’t I feel proves my point about the ratings board.

Now I have no idea what to do. Again, it should always be a case by case basis with what to let your kids watch. Basing it entirely on ratings boards is letting other people tell you what is okay and not okay for your children to watch. Most parents I know rebel at that idea.

The thing is, I don’t want to be overprotective because I’m afraid that’ll just make her naive.  As much as I wish a 12 year girl could remain naive for a while longer, I can’t in good conscious hide reality from her. I’m certainly not that naive anymore. No, she’ll probably never face a horde of zombies, but that’s not even half of what the Walking Dead is about.  I’m not forcing these things on her. She is interested in these movies and shows.  We sit and talk about some of the themes and about the character development.

I really don’t want to be like the ratings board and say violence is no prob as long as no one is having sex or at the very least, as long as no woman is having an orgasm. And maybe I’ve been brainwashed myself because I have a very hard time deciding what’s appropriate for her to watch when it comes to sexual situations. I think for now I can live with what I call CW sex, as in sex scenes as seen on the CW shows like Gossip Girl (another one of her faves). It’s racy sometimes, but at least it’s not a guy in a rubber suit (link really NSFW, American Horror people).

CW sex is not safe for work either but it is kind of hilarious.

7 responses to “MPAA – Motion Parent Association for Adolescents

  • natnotnate

    Have you seen This Film is Not Yet Rated? Many of the filmmakers and critics interviewed expressed the exact same sentiments about the ratings board. My thoughts – I’d rather my daughter watch any mainstream television show or movie, regardless of ratings, as long as I know she’s watching it. Tell her outright “no” will just make her watch it at a friend’s house or under the covers late at night on a tablet while we’re asleep. Granted, there are films like Hostel, Saw, and any Nicholas Sparks film I’d rather not let her see…

    • vin

      I haven’t seen the movie, but I’ve read many quotes from it. So, since your daughter is slightly older than mine, i have a few questions on your claims here. Can she watch American Horror Story then? Does mainstream include HBO? Actually, i just don’t want to watch Orange is the New Black. I’m not interested. But I don’t feel right giving her a thumbs up to watch the show when I won’t know what she’s being exposed to. At 12 she still gets kid entrance discounts. I think I might feel better saying 13 for a lot of things. By 15 I might be like “whatever girl, watch Boogie Nights if you want to.”

  • natnotnate

    I can’t give a “yes” or “no” answer. I’m uncomfortable (surprise!) explaining the darker, seedier side of sexual fetishism and the likes on shows like AHS and Game of Thrones. But I know she’s old and smart enough to see that there’s more to the story line than just those sexual elements. Another issue is her proclivity to nightmares, which sadly she got from me.

    And to be quite honest, I’d rather her watch shows like that than whatever schlock Nickelodeon is spitting out. I am so grateful she’s over stuff like that, and more interested in shows like Arrow, Once Upon a Time, and Gotham. If she wants to see AHS or GoT (she has zero interest in Orange…), I’ll watch it with her for the first few episodes, and let her watch it on her own if she’s still interested. Of course, Mom will have the final say so whatever my opinion on the matter is moot.

    • vin

      There were episodes of iCarly, Suite Life, and Wizards of Waverly Place where I staged an intervention. They had some horrible morals on those shows. Mostly about being good friends with people who treat you like garbage and then maybe dating them after they ruin your life. That’s a good point, Walking Dead has better morals than some of those Nick and Disney shows.

  • natnotnate

    I’d worry if she asks to cosplay as him.

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