By Taylor Wallace
I love Stephen Chbosky’s “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.”
It was my coming-of-age novel, realistically portraying parallels to my high school years.
The book was written for a mature audience. However, a film adaptation of the novel was released last October with a PG-13 rating due to violence, nudity, sensuality, language and other adult themes.
I recently watched the film with my entire household, including my parents and three siblings, the youngest of whom is 11.
I felt extremely uncomfortable watching it, even though I thought I knew what to expect.
However, I did not believe so much of the novel’s content would be included in a PG-13 movie. It’s one thing to read about a situation. It is entirely different to view it. The fact that my siblings watched it worried and terrified me.
I do not want them to have the idea that the film’s presentation of high school is what those years are like for everyone, especially since my youngest sister starts her freshman year this fall.
Although I find that censorship blinds readers and viewers, I also think youth shouldn’t be exposed to so much graphic material.
After the credits rolled, I compared what PG-13 content consisted of during my pre-teen years to what it is now. I found that more vulgar language and nudity are allowed in this rating category today than when I was growing up.
When I was 13, “Superbad” was given an R-rating for “pervasive, crude and sexual content, strong language, drinking, some drug use and a fantasy/comic violent image — all involving teens,” according to the Motion Picture Association of America’s guidelines.
The 2012 adaptation of “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” earned itself a rating of PG-13 for the “appeal for mature thematic material, drug and alcohol use, sexual content including references, and a fight — all involving teens.”
The same content was present for two different ratings by the same association.
Yes, there are truths in both the novel and movie about the darker side of the high school experience. However, those features should not be so explicitly displayed without highlighting its positive facets, such as establishing life-long friendships, figuring out who you want to become and, above all, the great memories you will reflect on years from now.
The restricted content of R-rated movies is finding its way into what will presumably be acceptable to younger audiences in the future.
More realistic ratings would keep this explicit material from slipping through the cracks.