The MPAA won’t allow teens to see educational film on bullying

Ok, this is it. The MPAA is so messed up. This group’s values are totally off. Yet, one tiny band of people has a huge effect not only on what our kids are allowed to see but what America considers acceptable for children.

So the MPAA has decided that “Bully,” a documentary about the epidemic of bullying in America, a film that the Weinstein company was planning to show to middle and high schools kids in America, will have an R rating, meaning those kids won’t be able to see it. Why? The bullies in the film use use coarse language.

Are you kidding me?

The MPAA couldn’t be more out of touch about what is beneficial and what is dangerous for kids.

You know what’s not so great for kids? The slew of animated films where female characters are consistently stereotyped, relegated to sidekick roles, or have gone missing all together. See stats from the Geena Davis Institute and Reel Girl’s Gallery of Girls Gone Missing From Kids Movies in 2011 to get an idea of how prevalent gender stereotyping is in animated films.

At the very least, parents should be warned before they take their kids to yet another movie where the few female characters are going to be sexualized or mocked for being ugly or fat. Yet, to the contrary: the MPAA seems to think that cartoon sexist stereotypes are totally cool. Just one example: Animated characters in G movies are as likely to wear revealing clothing as female characters in R movies.

I wonder if the MPAA even notices that when one of the only females in “Pirates! Band of Misfits” is ogled and hooted at, it’s not funny. What do they think kids are getting out of that scene? Or if the MPAA understands that when kids go to the movies where males always star and females never do, both genders learn that boys are more important than girls. Hey, MPAA: that’s a really bad lesson for kids. This kind of bizarre disconnect about values, what is okay and what isn’t, is the whole reason why I started my blog, Reel Girl: to call out Hollywood when it relentlessly perpetuates damaging stereotypes “for kids”

Katy Butler was twelve years old when she was bullied in school. Last year, when the Michigan legislature was considering a problematic bill to address bullying, Katy and another Michigan teen started a petition asking the legislators to improve the bill. Now Butler has another petition going: she wants kids to be able to see “Bully.” Please tell the MPAA to get its values right, give “Bully” a PG-13 rating so kids can learn from this film, and sign Butler’s petition

Questions to ask when considering a movie for your kids

These are questions considered in Reel Girl’s rating system when deciding how appropriate a movie is for kids. Reel Girl rates kids media with 1 – 3 S’s for Stereotyping and 1 – 3 G’s for Girlpower. Obviously the male dominated MPAA has different standards.


Is the movie titled for a male star?

Is the movie centered around the quest of a male?

Are the females in the movie helping the male achieve his goal?

Which character goes through a transition?

What is the ratio of males to females? Main roles? Crowd scenes?

What are the females wearing? Does their clothing expose belly buttons and other body parts?

How many lines do the female characters have?

How many of the females’ lines have to do with what they’re wearing, what they look like, romantic relationships, or shopping?

How many of the males refer to the females only in reference to romance and how they look?

How do the females in the movie interact with each other? Do they interact at all?

How are female friendships depicted in the movie? Are there any?

Is a female character rescued by a male character?

Does a female character make a rescue?

What heroic acts or acts of bravery do the female characters perform?