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Study: PG-13 Movies Have More Gun Violence than R-Rated Ones; Sex Still Taboo

Study: PG-13 Movies Have More Gun Violence than R-Rated Ones; Sex Still Taboo

On the heels of yesterday’s story about Judi Dench and Harvey Weinstein’s battle against the logo-phobic pearl-clutchers at the MPAA comes another example of the rating board’s skewed priorities and indefensible inconsistencies. In its December issue, the medical journal Pediatrics will publish a study that shows popular PG-13 movies to contain more instances of gun violence than their R-rated counterparts. 

The researchers examined 945 movies, counting the appearances of overall violence in each five-minute segment of a sampling of films that ranked among the top 30 at the domestic box office from 1950 to 2012. Perhaps not surprisingly, the results — reported by Brad J. Bushman of Ohio State University, and Patrick E. Jamieson, Ilana Weitz and Daniel Romer of the Annenberg center — showed that violence in American films had more than doubled in that time.
But the authors also found that episodes of gun violence in PG-13 rated films had been rising since the rating was introduced in the mid-1980s, and it now surpasses the violence in R-rated films, which are technically not open to young viewers unless they are accompanied by an adult.
The ratings system needs revising, concluded the authors of the study. One researcher also noted the MPAA’s puritanical stance against sex compared to its lax standards for violence. “We treat sex as R,” Romer said. “We should treat extreme gun violence as R.” Amen.

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