Censorship is a difficult issue. On the one hand, we want to encourage creativity and we supposedly believe in freedom of speech and belief, but how far do we go when it comes to especially films? Do we allow anything or should we set standards, if so whose standards? Take the issue of sex for example. Most films seems to have at least one scene of a sexual nature. My question is, do we really need it as part of the plot and what does it say about relationships – is sex the main deal? Then there is violence – do we need to watch it in detail; are there other ways in dealing with situations where violence is the norm? Where do you draw the line between it being what actual happened (if based on a true story) and just having it for dramatic effect? And when it comes to swearing, I just wonder about the language skills of the screenwriter when it just demonstrates laziness as far as I am concerned, especially when there are thousands of good descriptive words to use instead.
The excuse for using sex, violence and swearing because that is society wears thin. Films are there to challenge or entertain not simply follow the so-called ‘crowd’. If films did not have swearing, over time, people would see it is not necessary. If sex was not prevalent, relationships would be seen as where people care for each other and share one another’s interests as well learning to communicate with each other through active listening. And with violence being not so common, people will not except that it is normal and there are other ways of dealing with issues.
This is where film censors can play a crucial part. But, because they are human and have a variety of views, we maybe need to develop a software that can view films in a consistent way and categorise accordingly. This is necessary when you look at what some 15 films show – some you wonder why they are not 12 or 18.
So, here is a tentative criteria for a piece of software:
Each criteria is given a scale based on 1 to 5, with 1 being low and 5 high, based on the number of times there is an occurrence.
Violence – physical
Violence – verbal
Obviously, work needs to be done on each of the criteria so it can clear and specific, otherwise the software will not work. Then, the censors will need to decide what scores will determine what age groups can see a particular film. The criteria scores under each category would need to be published so members of the public are fully aware of the film’s content.
Any comments on how to develop such a system would be most welcome.
I would also make a plea for screenwriters to write in more positive aspects of certain characters like pastors, include more actors who are Hispanic and Native Indian (American films) and create women characters who are not always so emotional and men who are more emotional!