Do we really need the F-Word?


Many teens and young adults have no idea what types of content are displayed in the movies that they are planning on viewing. (Photo courtesy of Wiki Pictures)

In the world of movies, ratings are everything. They dictate what the language, action and circumstances of the movie are. The f-word is one of the affected words in ratings and it is a controversial one. It is a term that is used in TV, movies, songs and podcasts, but at what cost? 

“I feel like some PG-13 movies show too much sexual content, language, and horror for the young age of 13,” said Senior Luke Mulcahy.

Parental Guidance-13 movies are made for teens of the age 13 and up with the approval of a parent or guardian. In PG-13 movies, the F-word can be used only one time. But, why once? If a teen hears it once what is the harm in hearing it again? It all comes down to exposure and context. The PG-13 movies can only use the term once, even though a silly rule; it uses its power. This word has influence and must be used wisely. Although many other profane or slang words can be used in movies without constraint under this rating, the F-word cannot. Some may say that if it can only be used once, why  use it at all; and some producers of PG-13 movies feel that their movie does not have the need for the word and choose to exclude it. 

“R-rated movies should be the only movies that include the F-word because children should not be exposed to language like that,” added Mulcahy. 

Restricted movies are movies that anyone under the age of 18 must see with an adult or guardian. These movies have explicit content and derogatory language that is only allowed by companies to be seen as an adult. Some movie theatres also choose for children under the age of 13 to not be let in even with the presence of an adult or guardian. R-rated movies can use any amount of harsh language, adult themes, and persistent violence. This gives free range for movie companies to include whatever they want in any sort of fashion. 

“I think that the G, PG, and R ratings of movies are pretty spot on to be honest. It’s just that PG-13 covers such a large variety of movies. The Pg-13 rating can be added to a movie that I definitely wouldn’t think a 13 year old should watch,” said Junior Brendon Maness.

In the late 80s and early 90s, movies seen as PG were explicit and not to be watched as a child or young teen. The movie 16 Candles is a great example of how ratings have changed. Then teens, adults now say that it was seen as a more young adult movie, not meant for teens. It includes harsh language, adult and racial comedy, and alcohol. Sixteen Candles would now possibly be categorized under the restricted rating because of its use of language, sexual innuendos, and adult comedy. 

Movies have changed a lot and so have the language teens use. Rating and content on movies can have an overall influence on teens and the language that they choose to use. The changes in rating and what is allowed may seem silly, but it’s there for a reason. 

“All of this is tricky because it is about personal preference. Some things are just more extreme for some than others. It is all about you and your personal beliefs,” said Junior Madeline Martinez-Perez.