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The Ethics in Parenthood and Art

The media plays a significant role in the society. More often than not, they set the agenda which the public follows. The media, in whatever form, has a great impact to the society. They have the power to make and unmake things and to even change the culture and tradition that one has grown to accept. In the past decades, news, television shows, radio programs and movies have all contributed significantly to the present society. They have considerably contributed to the formation and spread of the values and traditions the present society is living out.

However, while this is the case, it cannot be said that the relationship of the media and the viewers is one way. The media and the society can be likened to the symbiotic relationship of man and his environment. As the media holds the power to set the agenda that the people will follow, the society also has the power to set what will be shown in different communication and entertainment mediums. While many people in the media world realize the importance responsibility involved in the presentation of information to people, there are also some who neglect to see the huge impact of their shows to the public.

These people see movies in particular as a mere form of entertainment; thus, they think that such type of media would not make a huge impact on everyday living. However, it must be realized that it is very difficult to detach movies from the viewers. It is the attachment and interaction with the movie that lure viewers to spend money and watch it. In 1966, the American society faced a significant change. The streets and campuses were filled with rioting individuals, and the women presented a more liberal view. Perceptions on marriage and family life were also crumbling.

These changes were well mirrored in the movies during that period. Violence and reluctance to follow norms and traditions were presented in the movies. Suddenly, the guidelines which used to bind movie producers went haywire and were no longer visible. Thus, people in the movie industry and the government tried to find a remedy to the growing lawlessness in the media (Valenti). In 1968, the United States Supreme Court promulgated a decision calling for the need to provide protection for the children against movies and books which are readily available to adults (Valenti).

The growing chaos as well as the Court’s decision to provide for protection for children from such movies all led to the creation of a body which will regulate the kind of films that are released and determine their appropriateness for the viewer considering his or her age. Hence, on November 1, 1968, the voluntary film rating system was introduced. There are four categories in this rating system. Among these categories are: G for General Audiences, PG for mature audiences, R for Restricted, and X for adults only.

A G rating means that the movie may be watched by all people, regardless of age. The PG rating means that people from all ages are admitted to watch, but the younger audiences should be guided accordingly by a parent or guardian. R rating restricts children aged 16 and below from watching the movie without an adult companion. Finally, rated X ultimately restricts children below 17 years old to enter the movie houses. By the year 1984, another rating was introduced: the PG-13, which means that movies receiving such rating are sterner than those receiving PG rating only.

The X rating was also changed to NC-17. This means that no one 17 years old and below are admitted (Motion Picture Association [MPA]). Over the years, this has been the mode of rating established in the film world which has been embraced by people in the motion picture industry. However, through the passing of years, another innovation was introduced in the way movies are introduced to audiences. The ratings only limited the entry of the young in the movie houses. However, this does not mean that they will no longer see the movie.

The rise in the use of DVDs as well as the proliferation of internet sites offering free viewing of certain movies have all provided the younger audiences with the opportunity to watch the movies which they were banned from watching in movie houses. Moreover, there are also many movies which, despite being labeled as a cartoon film or something for general patronage, contain scenes that are not morally enticing to the youth. The recent decade has witnessed the introduction of films that contain sex, violence, and the utterance of foul language.

Thus, many parents became alarmed with the kind of movies that their children are watching and the possible effects thereof to them as they grow older. In order to address the desire of parents to have a safer film for their children, movie sanitization was introduced. A group of entrepreneurs have engaged in the business of removing violence, love scenes, the use of brutal language, and nudity in the films. Movie sanitizers make the movie more palatable and ethical for parents and their children to endure. However, while this type of movie may be acceptable to many parents, film critics as well as movie producers are going against it.

True enough, it is good for the children, but this is not entirely enticing for the movie producers, writers, actors, and directors. Movie sanitization in a way changes the concept and story line of the movies. It also affects the way the movie was creatively presented by the producers, directors, and the actors. Altering certain parts in the movie without the consent of those people involved in the production thereof is like unduly stepping on their copyright on the film, and it also unduly kills whatever message the movie is trying to convey and reduces, if not removes, the consistency in the film (Farhi).

Movie producers and directors have filed suits against film sanitizers and vice versa (The Associated Press [AP]). A clamor in Congress called legal protections for the technology that parents utilize to protect their children (American Press Institute). With regard to the rating system, many film markers are limiting themselves mainly to the production of PG-13 films, the audience of which has the greatest pull in watching movies. According to the President of the Lions Gate Releasing, Tom Ortenberg, film makers want to please the audience which has the greatest pull in the market; thus, they the focus on PG-13 movies.

This is not entirely helpful to the production of quality movies since the humor needs to be toned down and the scenes also need to be softened in order to fit in their target market. This process greatly affects the kind of movies that are produced and the quality that producers desire to create (Rich). The current dilemma with film sanitization and creation of ratings is whether or not films should be unduly edited in order to cater to the needs of parents and children.

Will the need for decent films erase the creative juices presented in films and eventually kill the humor that make movies entertaining and violate copyright laws? Movies are created for entertainment. While it is true that through the aid of technology, movies have become so available to everyone, such availability should not be used as a cause to ultimately kill the fun in entertainment and also authorize one to violate the rights of other people.

Laws are created for people to follow, and Acts which tend to promote the violation of such law or the infringement thereof should not be supported. It is understandable that parents only want the best for their kids, but this should not serve as a license to violate the rights of other people and unduly trample upon the creative works of people who labored months and shed millions of dollars just to produce a movie. It should be the parents’ responsibility to duly train their children to appreciate and understand the movies that they are watching.

They should instill in them the proper values and make their children understand the value of movies. While it is true that they cannot ultimately prevent their children from watching the movies that they want, they have the power to give proper training to their children in order for them not to be easily swayed by what they see and hear. Through this, the children will be able to accurately discern what is right and wrong eventually decide on what they think is right. Works Cited

American Press Institute. Movie-sanitizing Technology: Clean Flicks or Dirty Trick?. 22 Apr. 2005. 19 June 2009. <http://www. americanpressinstitute. org/pages/resources/2005/04/moviesanitizing_technology_cle/>. Farhi, Paul “Now on DVD: The Sanitizer’s Cut. ” The Washington Post. 18 April 2009. 19 June 2009. <http://www. washingtonpost. com/wp-dyn/articles/A61565-2005Apr17. html>. Motion Picture Association. “What do Ratings Mean?. ” Motion Picture Association of America. 2005. 19 June 2009. <http://www.

mpaa. org/FlmRat_Ratings. asp>. Rich, Joshua. “The PG-13 Effect. ” The Entertainment Weekly. 2009. 19 June 2009. <http://www. ew. com/ew/article/0,,1068475,00. html>. The Associated Press. “Battle Intensifies Over Film Sanitizing software. ” First Amendment Center. 3 Feb. 2003. 19 June 2009. <http://www. firstamendmentcenter. org/news. aspx? id=3008>. Valenti, Jack. “How it all Began. ” Motion Picture Association of America. 2005. 19 June 2009. <http://www. mpaa. org/Ratings_HowItAllBegan. asp>.

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