There has been an increase in the level of sexual content, violence as well as the usage of profanity in cinemas during the cinemas that came out during the ten year period of 1992 to 2003 (Thompson and Yokota, 2004)…
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There are various different genres of movies that show an increased sexual content and violence. For example, horror movies, crime based movies and war movies have increased levels of violence and similarly romantic comedies have been bordering towards showing increased sexual content. Additionally, movies that are considered to be avant-garde and cult, instead of mainstream also have an increased display of both sexual content and violence. Even though the Motion Picture Association of America’s Classification and Ratings Administration has set down the various ratings that determine suitable viewing, it is important to understand that the level of acceptance of violence and sex is much higher (Abraham and Basuroy, 2004).
To illustrate, movies like Stuart Gordon’s unrated Re-animator (1985) and the films of Larry Clark have received criticism for being extremely violent and for showing excessive sexual content. It is also interesting to note that how the levels of acceptance among the audience have also been increasingly slowly. For instance, when the young audiences watch a movie like The Exorcists, instead of being terrified and shocked, they watch it more like a comedy movie (Curti and Selva, 2003). Therefore, the definition of what is considered to be extreme and what is considered to be acceptable keeps on changing generation after generation. Effects of Sex and Violence on Movie audience The high level of sexually explicit content along and violence does indeed have an effect on the audience. It is a universally accepted fact that movies have the capacity to influence people and their actions. In this scenario, it is necessary to highlight some of the negative influence that both sex and violence in movies have on their audience. 1. Desensitizing – Constant exposure to violence as well as sexual content can reduce the sensitivity among the viewers. This can create a notion that such behavior is acceptable in the society. In some cases, it can result in the distortion of world view. Therefore, crimes related to sex or violence may lose perspective as real crimes in the vision of the people (Williams, 1995). By increasing the extremity of the element of violence in movies, the tendency would be that the audience will not react strongly if and when they encounter or hear about such instances in real life. Therefore, increasing the realism of movies to make it extreme by adding higher sounds and bigger screens such as in the beginning of the movie Saving Private Ryan (1998), does have a tendency to desensitize the audience. In today’s society, that is replete with increasing instances of violence and terrorism, it is very important for individuals to be sensitive and to understand the impact of such acts. Therefore, it is really unfair to desensitize an audience. 2. Negative effects on children and youth – The categories of individuals that get most affected by acts of violence and sex in the movies are children and youth. For them, everything that they see on the big screen is glamorized and is something that they can imitate in their real life. Extreme scenes of violence as well as high level of sexual content can attract the youth and make them imitate it as a part of their hero worship. For some others, witnessing such scenes can have traumatic experiences and affect psychologically. The genre of movies that came to be known as the slasher movies like I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997), and Urban Legend (1998) were criticized for
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