There’s recently been a sudden surge of my old high school friends coming home from missions trying to get used to being around other old friends who’ve “changed.” It’s still difficult for them to resist urges to shake hands and shove blue books into people’s hands, so they socialize more passively with “guy’s night out,” which is essentially when guys foreswear association with any relations to the fairer sex (be they casual girlfriends or wives of several years) to assert “maleness.” And the best way to do this, apparently, is to sit down and watch action movies.
What I’ve noticed is that, in an attempt to appear hip with the times, play along and not “be that guy,” most of these otherwise devout Mormon returned missionaries will cheer and laugh at the violence during movies – or at least appear apathetic towards the amount of bloodshed on screen. Yet when the beach scene comes on and all the girls in bikinis start dancing, or when the muscular hero wipes the glistening sweat from his face as he leans in for a passionate kiss, these same guys will turn their heads or become conveniently distracted by the living room coffee table.
This is a misplacement of moral priorities. The typical action movie will likely be full of guns, blood and boobs, and choosing to watch an action movie is choosing those things to be your entertainment for the evening by placing a recreative value on sex and violence. And you participate in this visual economy of recreation regardless of the film’s actual rating. So to value guts and gore on Saturday night only to value reverence and divine life Sunday morning is hypocritical.
When I watch a movie, I usually object to how rampant the decapitations are sooner than I avert mine eyes during the sex scenes. If one’s morality must factor in during entertainment, one should weigh in how the sanctity of life is handled with the following sensibility: sex is often a magnification of life, while violence is often a magnification of death. To shun the former and take pleasure in the latter seems strange to me for members of a religion that preaches love and peace.
Now I’m definitely not saying that sex cannot ever be pornographic and violence cannot ever be moderate. What should matter in your choice is to the extent to which a film will mock or abuse sex and violence. I believe a film that celebrates gratuitous amounts of violence is distasteful while a film that celebrates sex is emphasizing human life and love – whether the hero is married to the girl or not.
If when you want to select a movie “with the guys” but so desperately want to shun any semblance of femininity that you can’t stand to watch a sex scene . perhaps you should find something else to do.