Recently a friend said that she was disturbed because an
episode of The Walking Dead had a
steamy sex scene, and she wasn’t forewarned. She watches the show with her
teenage son and she thought a heads-up would have been nice. (If you watch The Walking Dead and don’t want any
spoilers, stop reading.) Although you didn’t see any body parts that aren’t
otherwise covered by bathing suits, it was clear during the scene that two
people were having sex. They were consenting adults, in love, and their
relationship was accepted and encouraged by everyone they knew. I thought it
was a sweet moment in a show that is mostly unrelenting horror and misery.
There is a huge amount of violence in the The Walking Dead. A lot of the violence
is directed at zombies, who admittedly are no longer human but still like to
eat them. But their decapitations, stabbings through the eye, and gunshots to
the head still bother me. Then there’s the 12-year-old kid who shoots a
father-figure-turned-zombie, witnesses his mother’s uterus getting sliced open
to save her baby, and then shoots his dead mother in the head to prevent her
from becoming a zombie. A man cuts off his own hand and cauterizes the wound. Humans
are eviscerated alive. All this and we’re objecting to a little sex?
We rate movies so that viewers can have guidance
about what’s appropriate for their children and themselves. But our ratings
system is heavily skewed toward violence. Years ago I watched I Capture The Castle with my preteen daughter.
It’s based on a charming novel written in the 1940’s. There are two incredibly
brief scenes of female nudity, one from a distance, both no longer than a few
seconds. For this the movie earned an R rating. My daughter was delighted and
went to school the next day bragging that she’d seen an R-rated movie.
Meanwhile if we’d watched any number of PG-13 movies we could have seen a lot
of murder, maiming, and mayhem. I think I’d rather my kids saw a bit of the
human body or two people expressing their love for each other, even if that
means explaining what sex is.