Thursday, January 27, 2011

In Which I Vent

Last night my husband and I started watching the movie "Young Victoria". I'd heard such wonderful things about this movie and was so excited to see it. I drilled several of my friends who'd seen it about if it was clean... really, clean. They know that my husband and I have really strong standards about what we will watch and what we won't. They assured me that it was rated PG and didn't have anything dirty in it. I was loving the movie and was just starting to thinking how wonderful it was until the honeymoon scenes started! Granted the actors were partially clothed, but they were still participating in movements, actions and situations that were highly sexualized and intimate.

We have a zero tolerance policy in our home concerning pornography (pornography is anything that is intended to sexually arouse) and since these scenes definitely fit into the definition of pornography we turned the movie off.

Part of me wanted to justify it away because the rest had been so good, but I couldn't. I know the damage that watching even "soft" pornography has on the soul. It had been so good. Why, why, why did they have to ruin it with pornographic scenes?

IT MADE ME SO ANGRY!

It even has a PG rating! Does that mean anything any more? Obviously not.

Ugg.

Am I the only one is the world who sees something so incredibly wrong with the fact that as a society we think it is okay for two actors to pretend to participate in one of the most sacred events on this earth? Why do we think that just because they aren't totally naked or that they don't show "too much" that it is still okay to show men and women in these sort of situations? We would never want a video camera in our bedrooms, nor would we want a glimpse into the bedrooms of our neighbors, so what makes us so willing to watch it in videos? Is it just because it is pretend? Isn't there something even MORE wrong about watching two unmarried actors participate in actions and emotions that should be sacred and intimate?

Are we so desensitized to sexuality in movies and TV that we no longer consider intimacy sacred? It it just entertainment or a quick and easy way for movie makers to get the point across that the characters are in love? Why do we have to equate love with sexuality? Really, I think most of us understand that if a couple gets married and that a baby follows a few months later... that something happened in between. Do we REALLY need to SEE it. NO, NO, NO, NO!

Now I realize that by most worldly standards and compared to other PG-13 and R movies this movie was really "clean." That still doesn't make it okay. Seeing these sort of things breaks down our ability to see such acts as sacred and beautiful. I know that if I could go back in my life and erase all the sexualized scenes I've seen I would do it in a heartbeat. They slowly eat away at parts of my soul.

Really I can't tell you how disturbed I was that this movie was rated PG, meaning that they-- whoever "they" is-- feel that sexuality-- or as they put it "mild sensuality" is okay for children to be watching.

Ugg.

Ugg.

Ugg.

I'm loosing my faith in movies and media. There are so few movies that don't have something sexual, violent or crude in them. It seems like all of them have some portion of scum in them.

Can you renew my faith? What movies out there that are really and truly "clean"... squeaky, squeaky clean? No sex. No violence. No bad language. No crudeness. Do such movies exist?

Please realize this is an emotional rant and you don't have to be offended or justify it if you liked this movie or have different standards then me. I just needed to get this off my chest.

36 comments:

  1. "Temple grandin" is a great clean movie. It has clarie danes in it. Love her.

    The remake "true grit" was awesome as well. Although there is cowboyish, western, gun slinging violence. But the interactions between each of the characters are pricelessly memorable.

    I'm so sorry "young victoria" upset you. While I don't recall the scene you are referring to, I applaud you for sticking to your standards. You are amazing. :)

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  2. And I loved How to Train Your Dragon. It has cartoon dragon violence, and fake bad language (Example: "Thor Almighty"). But other than that, it was clean.

    It's violence in movies that has really been getting to me lately. I think the effects of desensitizing to violence can be as devastating to the soul as sexuality.

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  3. I have not seen a good movie in a long time because they are all blemished in some way.

    The last movie I remember sitting through is Toy Story 3, but even that movie had a few "scary" parts. I liked the movie Up. It made me cry though.

    It's really really REALLY hard to find anything good to watch anymore, which is why I go all day without turning on the TV. My DH does not understand it, but I really don't even turn it on most days until he gets home.

    Wish I had good movie suggestions, but you know how it is!

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  4. I agree with you it is so hard to find a good movie. Even movies for kids have something wrong with them.
    A couple of movies we have see lately that I thought were great are Facing the Giants, Faith Like Potatoes, and Love Comes Softly.

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  5. I hear you and feel much as you do. Um, I don't mean to criticize what someone commented on above, but DO NOT see "True Grit." I did with my husband and wish I hadn't. It was exceedingly violent, and I think it should have been rated R. My sister and I just watched "Bright Star" about the poet John Keats. He was an extremely moral man. There is reference to people having a child out of wedlock, and the main character offers herself to John when they're engaged and he's about to leave, but he is a "man of conscience" and wouldn't allow it. It was an excellent film.

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  6. You put my thoughts into words in this post. Thank you for letting me know someone else feels the same way.

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  7. We have a Clearplay player which edits everything out (language, violence, sex). You set it to your own standards. It is worth every penny because we never stumble upon those types of scenes anymore.

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  8. There is a movie called "The Magic of Ordinary Days," that is so clean, and that teaches really important messages about what REAL love is. It's a hallmark movie, so be prepared for some cheese- outside of the 2 main characters the actors are laughable at times, but I thought the message was so beautiful (reinforces that love is a CHOICE not just destiny... touches on themes of forgiveness and repentance... give and take in marriage etc.), and there is not ONE bad scene or bad word or violent act. NOT ONE. In fact you barely get a sweet and well deserved kiss :)

    Also... Little Women. The Wynona Rider one. Love it! Family... friendship... sacrifice... romance... and also completely squeaky clean. What's not to love?

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  9. Agree. 100%. I am very upset with the amount of trash in "family" movies today. Love that blogging helps us find others who feel the same way. Thanks for sharing!!

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  10. I feel terrible now because when I watched that movie I thought it wasn't so bad. I guess I justified it because it was their wedding night.

    We saw True Grit and loved it! There's a scene with a snake that freaked me out (because I'm terrified of them) and has me holding off on showing it to my kids for a few more years. They would be very scared and probably have nightmares.

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  11. I love to watch the movies that the LDS Church puts out. Lately we watch Legacy, Mountain of the Lord, and the Testaments. There are others but these are the ones that we have.

    I also love Ever After, some place show a rating of PG-13, but the cover to my DVD says PG.

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  12. I check out the website www.kidsinmind.com for EVERY movie I watch now. That way I have to decide beforehand what I am willing to watch. I agree with your post and am about ready to give up movies completely.

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  13. Thank you for all the great suggestions! I will have to check them out. Twinmom, don't feel bad about seeing the movie. I'm not trying to make anyone feel guilty. I actually struggled a bit before writting this because I wondered if I was just over-reacting. Because as far as sex scenes go the one is Young Victoria is very mild and they ARE married-- which doesn't happen often in those type of scenes. I know that three years ago that I wouldn't have even raised an eyebrow at a scene like that... but lately I've been so much more sensitive to those things and I just can't think how destructive it is to treat such sacred things lightly. A sex scene, even a mild one, is still a sex scene. Everyone has to make the choices that are right for them.

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  14. You are right on! I just wrote a post about our tolerance level in America. You may read it here: http://beingamotherwhoknows.blogspot.com/2011/01/tolerance-plague-in-america.html

    Thank you for posting this. We need to learn to stop accepting...

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  15. Did you check the Catholic bishops movie ratings? They are more descriptive of why they rate the movie the way they rate it.

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  16. My husband and I used to be avid movie goers. We collected DVD's of all of those we didn't get to see at the theather.But we stopped going to movies 3 years ago after we joined the church. We recently watched a movie called "The Hereafter". It was directed by Clint Eastwood. It was a slow and thought provoking movie. It centered around 3-4 characters who seemed to be searching for the answer to the questiion "What happens when you die? It was an emotionally intense movie, no sex,but a bedroom scene. No nudity,just bra and panties. Not much strong language.
    I also saw Eat,Pray Love. On the surface this is a autobio of a woman,who was searching for the Love of God in all the wrong places. She was and still is looking for meaning in her life. Where are those missionarys when you need them.
    Where the wild things are, is not a movie for kids. Even though the book may be, but if your kids are watching, then you may want to watch it with them. I loved the main story of a family struggling to hold themselves together.
    I am old enough to remember when the "Big They" started to relax the standards for television and movies,etc. Something about violating our 1st Amendment rights. I suppose that with the massive infux of "reality" shows, the concensus is that surely everyone wants to see every detail of anyones life.
    We all have to make our own personal choices.
    My husband and I have changed our tastes. We look for movies that will educate us, make us laugh,we look for old movies or none at all.We are slowly banishing the TV. Thanks Heather

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  17. I know how you feel!

    I love the move Shadowland, it is kind of hard to find, but so worth it. It is the most beautiful love story, with no sex, not even a kiss. I love that move. I also enjoy Emma, Sense and Sensability, and Pride and Prejudice (doesn't matter who made it I love them all, and they are all good) Little Women was already suggested, that is good too.

    Thanks for a rant :)

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  18. You go girl! Your like Christ cleansing the temple. Righteous indignation at its best!!!

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  19. My husband and I recently watched "Fireproof". It stars Kirk Cameron and it was shown at the Christian Film Festival. It is about a couple who is about to divorce, but then the husband turns to God to change his life. It is really good and very clean, and a great movie for any married couple. A good reminder that Christ can help in all aspects of our life, including marriage.

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  20. Hi. :D A movie that I really like is "fireproof." I think I saw it at Costco while there with a friend. It is a fabulous movie that is not only clean... it also advocates staying true to your spouce, and stearing clear of pornography. IT is FABULOUS! I really think You would love it (as I do... :)

    Way to stay true to your standards!

    Corine :D

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  21. OMG! I just saw Chelsey's comment... right AFTER posting mine... Any other suggestions for fireproof in there? ;)

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  22. I recently watched the best movie I have seen in so long. It is called "Lovely, Still" with Martin Landau and Ellen Burstyn. The acting is wonderful and the story is so sweet. Very clean. I think there is one swear toward the end. My husband and my dad both loved it. I will be talking about this movie for a long time.

    Another one I loved if you like World War 2 inspiring stories is "The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler". Very good movie.

    But, everyone, please see "Lovely, Still!" :)

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  23. I really liked Fireproof as well. Another movie that I have seen recently is Flipped. It is set in the 50's and 60's about 2 different sides of a young love story. It is clean, charming and reminds us that there is more to everyone than just the surface. I agree that modern movies are really not in line with gospel standards... I like to stick with the tried and true favorites- sound of music, my fair lady, 7 brides for 7 brothers, PollyAnna etc. Thanks everyone else for movie selection ideas too!!!

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  24. North and South (BBC one, not the civil war one), Wives and Daughters, The 2006 Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, sense and sensibility (1993 and 2006), Persuasion (the new one), The thrill of it all, pillow talk, its all about eve, the long long tailor, the sandlot, heavyweights, Sabrina (old and new), Cool Running, Mr. Mom.

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  25. You are an inspiration Heatherlady! You might like Amazing Grace. It is a movie about the man in England who was responsible for abolishing slavery and how he was influenced by the man who wrote the song Amazing Grace. It is clean but there were disturbing images of slavery. So it may not be for young children.

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  26. Nice site you have here! Glad I found you! I was looking up stuff on RS & costumes. Nice job on your dress btw. Love that you are studying the women in the scriptures! Love your stance against pornography! I'll enjoy following!

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  27. I understand the heart of your "zero tolerance" policy, but I think it is flawed--in that it's not possible to uphold. I also think you are giving yourself a false sense of security. Take for example the movie "Fireproof" which a number of women have suggested. I too have seen that movie and it did have a great moral and even anti-pornography message. However the story is about a couple with a failing marriage. Half of the movie is spent with the two of them fighting. It literally made my (non-confrontational) husband so uncomfortable that he got up and did something in the other room while I watched the movie.

    So it's great to say no pornography-but what about no movies with fighting or "contention" of any kind? Because we are also told that contention is of the devil.

    A "zero tolerance policy" just seems like a phrase that sounds nice to say. I watched The Young Victoria, and yes their acted portrayal of intimacy made me uncomfortable and I therefore dropped my eyes. It's the same thing I do every time I walk past the big posters hanging in the lingerie section at Target or walk past the magazines at the checkout counter.

    Having zero tolerance for a strict definition of pornography will help your children in the home, but what will they do outside the home? We have to give our children tools not just rules. As a child we had a few family favorites that included "fast forward" parts. So I was made aware that in movies there might be times when I should get up of my seat and push FFWD. Or at a party I could get up and go get chips in the kitchen. (Whether it's for skin, or violence, or suspense.) Simply saying this movie will fit our standards because it is PG or because a friend recommended it will never work. Teach your children to drop their eyes, push fast forward or turn the page.

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  28. Oooh I just thought of another one! Amazing Grace. It's about William Wilberforce and his fight in England to abolish the slave trade. Historically acurate and incredibly moving. Also squeaky clean!

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  29. Jeanette,

    I think you are very right about needing to give our children tools and not rules about how to handle wickedness. They will be exposed to wickedness and we need to teach them how to handle it when they are exposed to it. And you are right that we each need to use our discernment to decide what is right rather than rely on recommendations or ratings.

    Still, I don't think that a Zero Tolerance Policy in my home is an unobtainable idea. You are right that I am never going to be able to control what happens to my children outside of my home, but INSIDE of my home I have a lot of control. I believe our homes are sacred spaces-- akin to temples-- and that it is our responsibility to make sure that no unclean thing enters them.

    A friend once told me a conversation with her dad in which she was feeling overwhelmed about teaching her children everything they should know. Her dad told her "You won't ever be able to teach them it all, but the Holy Ghost can. Make your home a place where the Holy Ghost is constantly, and your children will learn to feel and listen to him. He will teach them to discern between good and evil and stand up for what is good."

    The truth is... I DON'T want to teach my children how to close their eyes, walk a way or fast forward through pornography and wickedness. I want them to know that it is wrong-- in all its forms-- movies, advertisements, or on the cover of magazines-- and that instead of just turning their heads away they they need to stand up for righteousness. Wickedness only happens because we tolerate it. If people spoke out more against pornography and violence we would see less of it, but becuase we tolerate it we get more of it.

    Wicked things should not be tolerated. In WWII Germans just turned their eyes away from what Hilter was doing-- for years and years-- thinking that as long as nothing bad was happening to them it was best not to become unpopular by speaking out. It wasn't until it was too late that they finally realized they should have spoken up sooner. I think the same thing is true for our children-- we can teach them how to tolerate wickedness and turn their eyes from it or we can teach them how to stand up for what is right and bring about righteousness instead.

    I'd much rather have my children tell their friends that they think a movie is inappropriate rather than just look down or walk away from it. True, it might make them unpopular with the world or their peers. But the Lord's people have always been "peculiar".

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  30. Heather,

    I do appreciate what you are saying, and I agree that we need to make our homes sacred places. I think though, that we can give ourselves a false sense of security because we've "set up rules against all the bad things."

    My husband and I really appreciated an article from the last BYU Today magazine called
    The Dangerous Digital Vortex. It gave some great points of information for parents about helping our children in today's age. One of them being as I mentioned before that pornography is not the only enemy to peace in our homes. But another important one is that "pulling the plug" is not an option.

    We are not of the world but we are in the world. I had a number of experiences as a child leaving the room to help myself to snacks in the kitchen. And quietly doing that says very much because the other children in the room feel in their hearts that they are viewing something undesirable and they know why the other child is leaving the room and make a decision whether they will follow or stay behind. We've always been taught that leading by example is the most effective teaching.

    I believe that for my child to leave the room in an inappropriate scene of a movie will have a greater effect for good on the lives of the other children in the room than for my child to repeat a catchphrase of "zero tolerance" and tell the other children (particularly children coming from a variety of backgrounds) that none of them should be watching that movie.

    Of course there is always a balance because some movies really are more bad than good, but other movies really are more good than bad. What about high school when they show Romeo and Juliet or college when they show Glory? It's not just LDS produced movies are good and everything else is bad. The media your kids come across, even the people your children meet will not always be 100% "good" or "bad" there's a gray zone that we have to teach our children how to tread safely through. And I just don't think that saying "zero tolerance" is going to do that for my boys, nor does it sound like it would be giving them an opportunity to come to me for deeply needed help if they were to ever falter in their resolve to always choose the right.

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  31. Hi, I thought this was interesting and I just wanted to saw something. My family was and is very good about morality and standards and "zero-tolerance" and all that. Not just with sexuality but all things (language, violence, etc.) I appreciated that until I left home and went to college. AT BYU. Still, even in Utah, I was painfully and tragically unprepared for how to live in a real world (if you can call Provo real world). I did not know how to make my own decisions and think through difficulties with morality, honesty, etc. Things that were inappropriate were simply not tolerated at home and therefore I never really made the decisions. Yes, with my little friends at home I could always say, "That's not appropriate and I won't do that!" And I felt so good and righteous and "peculiar". But it was different when I was on my own. I didn't have practice living in a real world and UNDERSTANDING how to make righteous and appropriate actions and how to judge and understand others. I was a child, thinking I was a prepared, mature, and stalwart Mormon girl. But I was tragically unprepared to LIVE (i.e. live life of perceptions, judgings, decisions, understandings) away from mommy and daddy and their "zero-tolerance" policy. I was terrified and confused and angry with the world. (Remember, I was at BYU). In the end, it really seemed like my parents just wanted life easy for them. If kids don't question or even LOOK at the other side (which is necessary to learn how to CHOOSE wisely) the parents never have to worry about the CHANCE that the child might make a wrong decision. Although I hope I understand the core of what you are saying, I don't agree with the practical application of it on all levels. It's a hard question and difficult to act out. I know that my parents were trying to teach me righteous principles. But I was tragically unprepared to live like an adult away from them. I like what someone else said. "Tools NOT ONLY rules." By the time I was learning how to make decisions and think through situations (which is a necessary thing for all mature and healthy people to learn) I was out of the home and away from my parent's guiding influence. If only they had let me learn and practice and grow when I was still with them and they could have helped me! But I wasn't allowed to think or approach different ideas. ZERO-TOLERANCE. So I was all alone when I went through this, away from the help and guidance that could have saved me and spared me the anger and confusion and tragedy of years. This is the first time I've read this blog, I don't know if I'll come back, but I thought this was interesting. Good luck to all of us trying to live and figure out how to raise children in this world. Our good intentions will go a long way to absolve our mistakes in doing so.

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  32. Also, "peculiar" as used in the scriptures DOES NOT mean "different, set apart" etc. I have degrees in linguistics (from BYU) and this is always the prime example for word meaning change through time. Peculiar TODAY means those things, but THEN it meant "OWNED". Meaning that we belong to the Lord. He owns us and will take care of us. We owe everything to him, even ourselves. I know that today we all like to think that we're so different and so unique and so "peculiar" but really, the scripture just means that we belong to the Lord. Same with "virtue". In scriptural language, it means power. Not moral and sexual purity. "Virtue went out of Him" when the woman with the issue of blood touched Him is the prime example. Power went out of Him and healed her. Virtue meant power.

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  33. Virtue, from the Latin vir, man, refers to specifically male power.

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  34. So, I have been mulling over this post for about a year now. (!) I am very inclined to agree with you in every way. But I am also curious about how to teach children about sexuality in general. I told a friend of mine about your perspective on this movie and she said "I disagree, I want my daughters to have a good experience on their wedding night." Not that you have to view "soft porn" or any such thing to have a good experience, but when we view sexuality as "bad" it can be hard for our children to get the message that, between husband and wife, it is very very good. I know so many LDS women who have had a difficult time transitioning from "don't have sex, don't think about sex, don't do anything to arouse those emotions" to "enjoy it and become one with your husband." I mean, it took probably 10 years for my mom to not feel guilty after she was married. And I know many women feel the same. So I guess my question is, how to we "live in the world and not be of the world," but at the same time teach our children to view intimacy in marriage as sacred and right? I even have an aunt who isn't active who thinks that the LDS Church views sex as bad in any form!
    Good post, you gave me a lot to think about this past year, and I'm still praying and pondering how to keep the Spirit in my home and not allowing worldly influences to penetrate. In general, I view sexuality in movies as completely inappropriate, but I do allow a little more leeway when intimacy between husband and wife is portrayed, but still avoid suggestive material.

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    1. MommyD- thank you for your words. I believe I fit in this exact category. I am not married yet, but I know that when I get married I am going to struggle being intimate and not feeling terrible.
      My entire life I have thought of sexuality purely as "evil" and "bad." I'm not sure now how to bridge the gap and think that being intimate with my future husband will be ok.
      It is a fine line to teach our children this. My mother did not want me to even think that it was ok in any way, shape, or form so now I have a very strict view on everything sexual. I hope that when I get married I will not have to struggle so badly with this and I will be able to communicate with my husband. If you have any suggestions when that time comes, I would love to hear how people make this transition.

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