In an epic Twitter rant yesterday, Evan Rachel Wood slammed the MPAA for cutting a sex scene involving oral sex out of her upcoming movie, Charlie Countryman, because it made some people "uncomfortable"—though the film's more violent scenes, including a man getting his head blown off, remained untouched. The tweets:
After seeing the new cut of #CharlieCountryman I would like 2 share my disappointment with the MPAA, who thought it was necessary to...— Evan Rachel Wood (@evanrachelwood) November 27, 2013
...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
Really, it's a situation we've seen many times before in Hollywood: Scenes involving a female character receiving oral sex can be difficult to get past the MPAA, and if it does, the film could be given an NC-17 rating—something that generally doesn't happen if the male character is the one receiving oral sex.
For instance: Back in 2010, Derek Cianfrance's Blue Valentine was given an NC-17 rating by the MPAA for a scene involving Michelle Williams' character receiving oral sex from her boyfriend, portrayed by Ryan Gosling, though the scene was hardly graphic. The film ultimately received an R rating when they wrote to the MPAA to appeal the decision, but the important part here is this great point that Gosling made in his letter:
"You have to question a cinematic culture which preaches artistic expression, and yet would support a decision that is clearly a product of a patriarchy-dominant society, which tries to control how women are depicted on screen. The MPAA is okay supporting scenes that portray women in scenarios of sexual torture and violence for entertainment purposes, but they are trying to force us to look away from a scene that shows a woman in a sexual scenario, which is both complicit and complex. It's misogynistic in nature to try and control a woman's sexual presentation of self. I consider this an issue that is bigger than this film."
In essense, it's the same situation—it just remains to be seen whether or not this backlash will prompt the MPAA to reverse their decision about Charlie Countryman as they did Blue Valentine. Either way, this situation says something deeply sad and sexist about Hollywood: That scenes involving abuse, rape, and explicit torture of woman are viewed as more normal than scenes involving a woman as the sole recipient of pleasure in a sexual situation.