Categorized | Opinion

We’re all 13 or older

Until we all turn 13 here at Indiana Wesleyan University, we cannot go to the movie theater without parental guidance. Recently, the Globe Theatre unveiled its schedule for the fall. All but one movie rates PG — and it’s G. This seems like a recurring theme for the Globe. These are mainly children’s movies presented to college students and faculty. When will a movie’s overall content trump ratings?

According to Jim Taylor, Student Center manager, the Globe’s mission is to feature educational and entertaining films that engage students in cultural awareness, provocative stories and media analysis and appreciation. This year, Taylor hopes more provocative stories will come to the Globe. I feel like they still have much to change until such films arise.

Movies accepted from student staff of the Globe and other IWU students are screened through different websites such as Screenit and Pluggedin Online to determine language, suggestive scenes, etc. Taylor encourages students to send in their ideas for movies, but it seems the reviewing process does not favor students.

Taylor does not want the movies to conflict with the university’s “Christ-like” vision. I understand why the university thinks this way, but I think that completely disregarding any PG-13 movie with a mild amount of profanity does not reflect reality.

According to the Motion Picture Association of America, “Raters feel that most American parents would believe that a PG-13 rating is appropriate because of the context or manner in which the words are used or because the use of those words in the motion picture is inconspicuous.” If most of our parents allowed us to watch PG-13 movies at home, why does it differ here?

After the Globe staff comes up with a line up of movies, student development checks again and reveals the final list. What ultimately determines the acceptance of movies?

“They lean more towards the language and some of the scenes that might be in the movie,” Taylor said. “They want to see the cultural enrichment and the media analysis tools being used, it’s just that the other side is looked at heavily, definitely because we want to stay with being Christ-like at the university.”

Taylor hopes to show PG-13 movies that have mild language through software programs. He hopes to get one that eliminates the language but keeps the overall provocative story. I feel like this would harm the overall content because of the censorship of words and disruption of the flow of the film.

According to Taylor, some of the rejected movies this year were “Thor,” “Captain America” and “The Help,” all PG-13. Of the three, “The Help” most recently came to theaters. It explained the viewpoint of African-American maids during the civil rights movement, which I had never seen nor heard before. I believe this movie fits the Globe’s mission as an educational film of the history of civil rights by promoting the culture of African Americans, and provoking thought in a way that viewers can appreciate. However, language has once again prevented student viewing.

According to the Pluggedin Online review of “The Help”: “The only fly in the shoofly pie is that there’s just enough profanity, including s-words and harsh misuses of God’s name, to put off viewers who might be interested in engaging with this powerful, inspiring story.”

I do respect Focus on the Family, owner of Pluggedin, very much, since I started listening to “Adventures in Odyssey” as a young child, but it seems like it overgeneralizes its Christian audience. Do we have to agree with everything that the so-called “Christian culture” tells us?

Other than the Globe, Film Society serves as an alternative way to view movies throughout the year. It shows critical-thinking movies that fall into the ratings of PG-13 as well as R. Last year it showed “Gran Torino” (R), and this year “The Tree of Life” (PG-13), among others. Afterward, Film Society leads discussions to make the presentation more interactive and thought-provoking.

I would like to say that I do love IWU and what it stands for as a university, but as a student I am obligated to offer constructive criticism when I feel like something should change. As a movie fanatic, I would appreciate if for once content can overshadow language someday here because filtering out aspects of society like language won’t necessarily allow us to grow as Christians loving the world around us.

This post was written by:

- who has written 67 posts on The Sojourn.

Ben Middelkamp is the managing editor of The Sojourn. He's a senior this year and a convergent journalism major. Ben enjoys watching and writing about sports as well as a good TV show. Follow him on twitter @ben_middelkamp.

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9 Responses to “We’re all 13 or older”

  1. Rachel says:

    I am so surprised that Captain America was rejected. I saw it in theaters and it was a great movie, and I learned a lot from it. I understand that the school is trying to follow a Christ-like image, but creating a bubble isn’t going to make that happen. Some very educational and enriching films have harsh language in them. The real world isn’t rated PG, and watching “Honey I Shrunk the Kids” doesn’t necessarily prepare us for that.

    • Historian says:

      What in the world did you learn watching Captain America?!? Not only was that a terrible movie in terms of story, it was an absolutely horrific movie in terms of historical accuracy. If at all possible, please forget anything you think you “learned” from it!

  2. Katelyn says:

    I totally agree, and honestly, more students need to understand what is going on here in order for this to change. Many replied to a survey online about movies we would like to see, and some are doing what you are doing – writing. The problem is that what is best for us is not being decided by us. Now, if we were young children, this would be more understandable. As it is – I don’t need my pampers anymore. This isn’t Talyor’s fault – he is trying. The issue is above him. Thanks for putting this article out there, but I challenge you even, if you care, to write something more provocative and to the point to get some people riled up. We need to be challenged – and media is becoming more and more a means for offering challenge. Where are films like The King’s Speech? Or as you stated, The Help? No – instead of these films, we get to be challenged in patience and judgement during Mr. Popper’s Penguins. Dumb.

  3. Mathew says:

    If we can rent all of these movies from the student movie store, why can’t the school show them on a larger screen? One of my favorite films, The Social Network, is rated PG-13 for mild drug usage, sexuality and violence; however, the premise of the film accurately captures our entire generation. Monumental films like this (that can be rented at the IWU video store), King’s Speech, The Help, etc., should be the film’s being shown in The Globe theater, because they address the culture of today’s society and depict a less family oriented version of the direction of media in today’s society. As the author of the article eloquently put it: we’re all 13 or older.

  4. Andrew says:

    You vote with your money. If the school is creating intolerable policies that do not reflect a progressive role of Christianity, but rather a dogmatic and politicized version of it, the best thing to do is to transfer. By choosing to give the school your tuition, you are promoting their behavior (which doesn’t seem to change no matter how many articles or petitions or student organizations are made). There are plenty of Christian schools in the country-schools that do not believe you need to have a curfew, or believe you’re allowed to watch PG-13 movies, and understand that Christ’s message, one of love, has nothing to do with what political side you align yourself with, or what movies you watch. The school can only continue on with this bull-headed approach and binary thinking as long as they are receiving tuition and as long as students still go there thinking they’ll get a great education. Truth is, unless you are a nursing major, you probably will have a lot of employers and grad schools asking you “is that that online school?” anyway. Get the best education you can while you can. All of you deserve better than to spend any of your time fighting a 13 year old’s fight. You’re adults. Don’t keep defending it, just be it and go to a better school. You won’t regret it.

    • Katelyn says:

      I realize this is a long delay period in response, here, but bear with me. I don’t read the Sojourn online very often.

      I will have to disagree with your solution. Transferring doesn’t solve issues. It trains you to ignore them and go somewhere were you aren’t being poked in an uncomfortable way. I don’t think that the administration looks at each pay check and thinks, “Gee. They gave us this money. Looks like we can keep showing crappy movies!” And I, and hopefully the rest of my friends here, don’t decide on things like higher education based on 2 dollar movie selections. I’m glad that you are happier now than you were here, and you are not alone in that. But your solution is not everyones, nor is it always appropriate. Truth is, I know I am getting a good education, and I firmly believe that it is the student’s job to take advantage of learning, and to make it their own. My employer will not look at my resume and say stupidly, “Is that that online school?” We don’t go to Harvard. That doesn’t mean we live in a cave.

  5. Todd says:

    we have a movie theater?

  6. Kat says:

    Yeah… Because Kung-Fu Panda is so cultural. We can learn a lot from animated, talking animals who defy all laws of physics and slurs cultures with stereotypes.


  1. [...] all 13 or older,” entitles an article from an issue of IWU’s campus newspaper, The Sojourn, last school year. The article’s author, [...]

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