"There is difference and there is power. And who holds the power decides the meaning of the difference." --June Jordan

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Getting Head

Both SlashFilm and the Entertainment Weekly blog Popwatch reported last week about the MPAA's decision to ban the first poster for Kevin Smith's upcoming film Zack and Miri Make a Porno. (There was already a controversy in which Smith had to challenge the MPAA to downgrade their original rating of the movie from NC17 to R.) Here's the poster the MPAA found so offensive:


And here's a poster the MPAA didn't ban:


So, an unclad, satisfied-looking Dane Cook receiving a blow job from a faceless, nameless woman functioning merely as a prop is somehow more appropriate than two fully (even conservatively!) clothed characters getting the same treatment from each other with quirkier, less "pornified" expressions on their faces?

Popwatch mentions that simply the word "porno" could be partly to blame for the poster's banning. Dan is convinced it's because the MPAA has a long-held grudge against Kevin Smith. Those reasons may be totally true, but I'm going to weigh in with an additional reason that this particular poster might have been banned while the even raunchier Good Luck Chuck poster was given a free pass.

The biggest difference I notice between the two posters? In the one for Zack and Miri, the dude and the chick are BOTH gettin' oral sex.

It's well-documented by double-standard experts that while we're quick to welcome female nudity over male nudity (that whole male gaze phenomenon), we prudish Americans are WAY more uncomfortable with female sexual pleasure than we are with male pleasure. The former is considered dirtier, non-traditional, or deviant; the latter is regarded as run of the mill. And if you've ever seen the movie This Film Is Not Yet Rated, you'll remember that particular bit about how the MPAA has always been more inclined to slap a higher rating on films that show women receiving oral sex or having orgasms than on films in which those gender roles are reversed. Based on sexuality content alone, a film with a violent rape scene is likely to have a more lenient rating than one that shows a woman actually enjoying herself.

When I look at these two movie posters side by side, one of them is OBVIOUSLY offensive and inappropriate, and it's not the one the MPAA banned.


Jamie Bougher said...

I really liked this post!

(I have nothing insightful to add. Sorry. =/ )

Tracey said...

Thanks! I checked out your blog and added it to the blogroll. Hope you don't mind.

I love meeting fellow feminists who can laugh at infant blood and baby-infused donuts.

Anonymous said...

Is it my imagination, or does Seth keep on getting fatter? That's so awesome.

Tracey said...

You can tell just from that picture? I guess people are usually made to look thinner on their movie posters, so it would be pretty obvious if he looked bigger.

lindabeth said...

great post and good catch!