Evan Rachel Wood launched a series of (rightfully) angry tweets at the MPAA last week, after discovering that they had forced director Frederik Bond to edit out a particular scene in his new film, "Charlie Countryman," in which Wood receives oral sex from her male co-star, Shia LaBeouf. Had the scene been left in, the film would have received an NC-17 rating, something that many filmmakers try to avoid as it seriously limits their audience and the film's distribution. Complying with the changes, Bond was able to secure an R rating.
Here's what Wood said of the edits:
...censor a womans sexuality once again. The scene where the two main characters make "love" was altered because someone felt that seeing... — Evan Rachel Wood (@evanrachelwood) November 27, 2013
...a man give a woman oral sex made people "uncomfortable" but the scenes in which people are murdered by having their heads blown off... — Evan Rachel Wood (@evanrachelwood) November 27, 2013
...remained intact and unaltered. This is a symptom of a society that wants to shame women and put them down for enjoying sex, especially... — Evan Rachel Wood (@evanrachelwood) November 27, 2013
...when (gasp) the man isn't getting off as well! Its hard for me to believe that had the roles been reversed it still would have been cut.. — Evan Rachel Wood (@evanrachelwood) November 27, 2013
...OR had the female character been raped it would have been cut. Its time for people to GROW UP. Accept that women are sexual beings... — Evan Rachel Wood (@evanrachelwood) November 28, 2013
...Accept that some men like pleasuring women. Accept that women don't have to just be fucked and say thank you... — Evan Rachel Wood (@evanrachelwood) November 28, 2013
...We are allowed and entitled to enjoy ourselves. Its time we put our foot down... — Evan Rachel Wood (@evanrachelwood) November 28, 2013
…Thanks for listening. — Evan Rachel Wood (@evanrachelwood) November 28, 2013
If you saw the 2006 documentary, This Film Is Not Yet Rated, you know that the MPAA is made up of a group of representatives from six different movie studios whose identities are kept secret. These anonymous people decide what constitutes as 'R' and what constitutes as 'NC-17,' and the rulings are as politically charged as they are arbitrary.
According to the Huffington Post, the MPAA will give a film an R rating if it has:
-Decapitation via chainsaw
-Two heterosexual people naked in the military position
-A 55 year-old man masturbating in the shower
And these things push the film over to NC-17:
-Two homosexual people making out
-A teenage girl masturbating with all of her clothes on.
Blue Valentine (2010) was initially rated NC-17, (also for a cunnilingus scene!) until the producers fought to change it, so it looks like we're back to our puritanical ways as a society. Clearly, there are many injustices here, and it's reassuring that Wood spoke out about it. Let's hope her tweets have an impact on the future of censorship.
Image via NC Film News