About 80 years ago, America introduced a brand-new thing: The Motion Picture Production Code (otherwise known as movie ratings). Fast forward to 2016, and many movie goers know these rules by heart. You can go to G movies with your 1-year-old cousin. You can see PG-13 movies by yourself as soon as you get into high school, and sometimes you get turned away at the booth for the latest R-rated movie.
The Motion Picture Association of America has had these rating rules for almost as long as movies have been popular. Throughout time, the code has been changed as new discussions are brought up. Concerned parents created the PG-13 category after movies like Indiana Jones and Gremlins exposed young children to violence and gore. The ratings we have today are nothing like those of the 30’s.
As society evolves, aspects, such as this code, need to shift as well. In the past few years, there has been leaps and bounds made with mental health awareness in America. With these new and exciting developments, there needs to be a new case to bring to the Motion Picture Association of America: trigger warnings.
For those who don’t know what a trigger warning is, it is when something unexpected happens and a person with anxiety or PTSD is triggered into a panic attack. Common triggers in movies are scenes with gun fights, rape, or gory murder, however there are many more triggers out there.
Movie production companies, such as the MPAA, should petition to make the trigger warning section in ratings possible. Why? Those with any kind of mental illness may have trouble with going out to see a movie to begin with. Whether it be depression or social anxiety, going out in a public place can be stressful for some. That stress can already make a person feel on edge and a trigger can make them tip over the edge. One of the main appeals of movies is the escape from reality, but if a person is in a state of extreme panic after being triggered, then that escape isn’t enjoyable for anyone.
With all this said, there NEEDS to be change. Simply including common triggers in the caption of a rating could immensely increase the lives of so many individuals. Movies can have a severe impact on people. A lot can be said about a person based on their favorite movie, and with a trigger warning system implemented, it will make it so much easier for people to find their movie.