Blood, Sweat And 18 Ratings: Have We Become Desensitised To Violence?
One of my favourite film director interviews is with Quentin Tarantino in relation to the Kill Bill film. When the interviewer asks “Why is there a need for so much gore and violence?” and he responds with “BECAUSE IT’S SO MUCH FUN!” I kind of agree. But is this because I have grown up with violent content that is so readily accessible and viewable, so much so that it no longer affects me?
I first questioned my own desensitisation to violence when I was watching Kill Bill (great film by the way), really not being that bothered about a man’s head being chopped off and held up at a table of speechless spectators.
Of course we see violence in every day life too, not just in films and television shows. Another suggestion as to why we may feel desensitised to violence is because we see it flash up on our TVs, pop up on Facebook or trending on Twitter.
Violence is all around us, real and fiction. Therefore it is really hard to protect young people and children from growing up without being witness to it. Video games like Grand Theft Auto not only feature violence, but also let you play as the character carrying out these violent acts.
Despite this, I would argue that viewing violence and gore on a screen is miles away from witnessing it in real life. I would like to think that the majority of people, even young teens, could distinguish between real life and fantasy. Of course, when content is rated 18, it is rated 18 for a reason. Not that everyone obeys those ratings (we all watched 18 rated films when we were younger, don’t deny it) but it gives a guideline as to what you are viewing and whether you are mature enough to watch it.
Fictional gore and violence can add an element to a cultural output that it may have been lacking, and for that I can appreciate why it is used. I think some people have a tendency to wrap their children in cotton wool when it comes to content with violence and gore, and I can understand why. However, I feel that it is important for children and young people to experience and understand how the world works and everything it includes. I wouldn’t say this is desensitising as such, but more like giving a generation a balanced and honest view of the world.
Besides, a bit of fake blood and guts never hurt anybody.