From The Guardian UK: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/nov/04/blue-is-the-warmest-colour-shocking
There’s been plenty of outcry in the US over lesbian sex in Blue is the Warmest Colour. Brutality onscreen, however, is fine
If you bothered to listen to the Parents Television Council, you would think that New York‘s tiny IFC Center was evil incarnate when the theatre decided not to enforce the NC-17 rating for the film Blue Is the Warmest Color. The Parents Television Council called the move “shocking” and fretted that this meant “minor children” would be allowed to view graphic sex scenes (because they’ll no doubt be camping on the street to see a three-hour French drama). Though its “stern warning” was not widely reported, it may very well have contributed to the film’s strong box office results thus far.
Everyone is entitled to their beliefs, but here’s where the fury of the Parents Television Council breaks down: these conservatives are so obsessed with sex, but seemingly care far less about violence.
While the Council was wailing about the possibility of a teenager seeing a lesbian film, a gunman opened fire at Los Angeles airport, resulting in one death and a number of injuries. That might have been a moment for the PTC, which ranks violence after sex in its list of evils it seeks to regulate on the airwaves, to deplore the shooting and, perhaps, note that there is some credence to the calls for stricter gun control laws (or, at least, less violence on screen and in video games). Real-world violence, however, tends to have little resonance with cultural scolds. It is certainly not worth mentioning when there is cinematic sex to condemn.
The fact that Blue Is the Warmest Color is even rated NC-17 in the first place makes it yet another entry in the discussion, most recently illuminated by Kirby Dick in his documentary This Film Is Not Yet Rated, about the hypocrisy and arbitrariness of film ratings, particularly where sex is concerned.
Sex, female nudity, female enjoyment of sex, and especially female enjoyment of lesbian sex, tend to draw the strictest ratings. Violence, however, is given much more of a pass. Even gory violence will be rated R, whereas a women’s sexual pleasure is NC-17.
What’s so scary about sex and the female body? And why is it so much scarier than violence – including violence committed upon the female body?