Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Graphic Nudity

I've noticed something a little disappointing about movie ratings recently: if you see the words "graphic nudity" in the ratings advisory for an R-rated film, it almost certainly isn't referring to female nudity. It means you're going to see a wiener. And to me, this is disappointing for two reasons: #1, I like seeing naked women, and I don't like seeing naked men. And #2, it suggests a lingering fear and taboo of male nudity, coupled with a permissive attitude toward female nudity, which indicates an undeniable and disturbing societally approved homophobia running rampant in American cinema (bearing in mind that most of our movies are made by and for straight men). And yes, I'm aware that there's a whiff of hypocrisy when you contrast my #1 and #2 reasons, so you don't have to point it out to me.

You don't see the graphic nudity tag often. But when you do, it almost always means a man has gotten naked. We're used to naked women in movies. You have to get pretty extreme for a woman's nudity to earn a "graphic." (Though it does happen every once in a while, as in Babel or Broken Flowers or Dr. T and the Women, none of which, to my knowledge, feature any male nudity. And how the hell is Dr. T's fleeting, barely visible nudity "graphic," anyway?) But for some reason, a man's nudity is so inherently shocking and disturbing, it demands being labelled "graphic." Check out this brief list of films, all of which acquired "graphic nudity" status due to the visibility of male genitalia, and almost all of which use that nudity for humor rather than sexuality.

Walk Hard: Rated R for sexual content, graphic nudity, drug use and language. Don't expect to be seeing Jenna Fischer's lady parts. What this means is you get to see a close-up of some dude's wang behind John C. Reilly as he talks on the phone.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall: Rated R for sexual content, language and some graphic nudity. Think that means a naked romp involving Kristen Bell and Mila Kunis? Nope, it means you'll be getting up close and personal with Jason Segel's bait and tackle. Twice.

Sex and the City: The Movie: Rated R for strong sexual content, graphic nudity and language. Frankly, it's a wild guess on this one, since I haven't seen the movie. Not because it hasn't come out yet, but because I would rather die than see it. But my powers of deduction tell me that since this is a film made by and for gay men (and maybe a couple of women), and since no female nudity on the TV show could ever have been described as "graphic," the rating suggests one or more naked dingalings. Prove me wrong!

Angels and Insects: Rated R for strong sexuality and graphic nudity. This is going back a ways -- 1995 -- but it's a notable film for the fact that it may be the first (and possibly the last) theatrically released R-rated film to feature an erect penis.

Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay: Rated R for strong crude and sexual content, graphic nudity, pervasive language and drug use. I have yet to see it, but apparently it features a dong or two.

Fur: Rated R for graphic nudity, some sexuality and language. I haven't seen this, nor has anyone else who wasn't in it, probably. But I understand there are a couple scenes set at a nudist camp, at which some bare dorks are visible.

Borat: Rated R for pervasive strong crude and sexual content including graphic nudity, and language. Sure, Pamela Anderson's in the movie. I can't blame you for thinking this means she'll be recreating one of her Playboy layouts. What it actually means is you'll be treated to a view of every single inch of Ken Davitian's body.

Damn, America, why you so afraid of willies? Of course, some of these films also contain female nudity, but that's not what earns them the "graphic" label. Somehow, male naughty bits are just more graphic than female naughty bits. So watch out for that "graphic nudity" label: it more than likely doesn't mean what you want it to mean. (Assuming you want it to mean what I want it to mean.)

Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com