Evan Rachel Wood Bisexual Lays A Twitter Smackdown On The Patriarchy, MPAA

Evan Rachel Wood Bisexual is starring in a new movie called Charlie Countryman, but before most of the nation has even had a chance to see it, the patriarchy is already trying to get in the way. Keeping in line with its long history of censoring sex (and specifically sex being enjoyed primarily by women) above all else, the Motion Picture Association of America put pressure on the film’s director Fredrik Bond to edit a sex scene in the film in order to get the film’s rating down to an R instead of NC-17. Wood wasn’t having any part of that, and on Wednesday she took to twitter to let the world know how screwed up the MPAA really is.

Wood first pointed out that the MPAA has a long history of doing this and that their actions are rife with hypocrisy.

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She also highlighted the fact that this problem isn’t limited to just the movie industry. Society as a whole often seems to have a problem with women’s sexuality.

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If you’ve seen the documentary This Film is Not Yet Rated (available to stream on Netflix), all of this might seem familiar to you. Many of the decisions made by the ratings committee seem flawed, arbitrary and without oversight. For example, when director Jamie Babbit submitted But I’m a Cheerleader to the board, they initially gave her film an NC-17 rating. This would have not only meant that many of the most popular theater chains wouldn’t show her movie and the most popular stores wouldn’t sell it, but the production company might not have even released it. She was able to get the film down to an R only after editing a scene where Natasha Lyonne’s character masturbates, over her underwear and while fully clothed. Babbit points out that this was at the same time that the preview for the far raunchier film American Pie showed Jason Biggs’ character (a man) masturbating into a pie, and that movie had no trouble getting an R rating. Other films were threatened with the NC-17 rating for reasons ranging from “a woman’s orgasm lasting too long,” “a glimpse of a woman’s pubic hair” and a three-way sex scene in a movie that also featured gruesome ax and chainsaw murders (those violent scenes weren’t seen as being as objectionable as the sex).

This current situation is also calls to mind to the outcry after Blue Valentine was originally stamped with the dreaded NC-17 rating back in 2010 because of an emotionally intimate scene where Ryan Gosling’s character performs oral sex on Michelle Williams’ character, who is his wife. In the case of that movie, the filmmakers appealed the rating and eventually got it overturned without having to make any edits. At the time, Gosling (in true Feminist Ryan Gosling style) called out the MPAA in much the same way as Wood.

You have to question a cinematic culture which preaches artistic expression, and yet would support a decision that is clearly a product of a patriarchy-dominant society, which tries to control how women are depicted on screen. The MPAA is okay supporting scenes that portray women in scenarios of sexual torture and violence for entertainment purposes, but they are trying to force us to look away from a scene that shows a woman in a sexual scenario, which is both complicit and complex. It’s misogynistic in nature to try and control a woman’s sexual presentation of self. I consider this an issue that is bigger than this film.

So, while it looks like the MPAA is going to keep on propping up the patriarchy in this respect, some actresses and actors are willing to stand up and speak truth to power. If more people are willing to call out the ratings board like Wood did, hopefully we’ll see a change in the system sometime soon. By going after the MPAA like this, she’s letting them know that women have it just about up to here with their patriarchal and arbitrary double standards. And to top it all off, even while standing up to this storm of sexism, Wood was able to remain eternally gracious.

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Mey is a lesbian, Latina trans woman living in Idaho. Her areas of expertise include comic books, trans* issues and pop culture. She has an English Degree, a cat named Sawyer, a tumblr that she uses a lot and a twitter that she only uses occasionally. She's a selfie princess and Nerdy Bruja Femme.

Mey has written 92 articles for us.

71 Comments

  1. Thumb up 13

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    Welp, I’ve used up a lot of my “yes”s for the day on this article alone. I love when actors/actresses and artists alike voice some socially progressive smack. But then…you realize how shitty it is that seeing a woman as a being that enjoys sex is a “progressive” idea. Baby steps? *fist in the air*

    Just realized how much I like the phrase “fist in the air”..

  2. Thumb up 1

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    Wow, that is seriously messed up. Good on Evan Rachel Wood for calling the MPAA out.

    I’ve heard that, in Canada, the film ratings people tend to give violence a higher rating (as in, less appropriate for young viewers) and sexual stuff a lower rating, whereas it’s the opposite in the States. Does anyone know if this is actually a thing?

  3. Thumb up 2

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    I fail to understand why the author of this article (or the page editor, more likely) felt the need to title the article as they did. Is bisexual now part of her name? This article is about her as an actress standing up for her art and has absolutely nothing to do with her bisexuality.

    • Thumb up 24

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      It’s part of an Autostraddle inside joke that emerged after an outpouring of enthusiasm following her coming out as bisexual. I think ongoing allusions to that nickname are a playful wink to straddler fans of hers – although I totally get why this would seem wierd if you’re not in on the story.

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          Not entirely sure why identifying an out, self professed bisexual as such is extremely offensive, as bisexuality is totally rad, and this is after all a website written by queer women for queer women more often than not about queer women, and the title of this article didn’t serve to dismiss her comments bc “ugh she’s just one of those bisexuals” or condense her identity down to some bisexual chick with no other markers or elements of her personhood, and it’s really just an old AS reference but you do you

          EVAN RACHEL WOOD BISEXUAL 5EVER

        • Thumb up 25

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          yup, what all these tigers said! joke started by readers on the post mel linked to, lovingly employed, et al. it’s also a way for us to laugh at our overall inability to achieve any kind of search engine optimization (sites owned by corporations have SEO on lock, leaving the rest of us with tiny crumbs), like maybe if we say EVAN RACHEL WOOD BISEXUAL enough, one day we’ll be the top search result when people search that. as it stands, we’re still losing to the same two sites that kill all our other search results — buzzfeed and huffpo, those wiley beasts. DAMN THE MAN, SAVE THE EVAN RACHEL WOOD BISEXUALS

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        I’m gonna make a gif, that’s like a certificate for a really well-spelt bisexual flamey comment, because I feel like people should be positively rewarded for the things they do really well, even when they are contributing nothing to humanity (although this would not apply here, where it just looks like a case of confusion over the Evan Rachel Wood Bisexual Mini-Meme).

  4. Thumb up 0

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    I’ve always appreciated Evan Rachel Wood not being afraid to tell it like it is. Also, is generally interesting how Europe’s media is an inverted version of the US model (sex: non-issue / violence: much more censored). Heaven forbid they show a woman who is sexually empowered. * rolls eyes for emphasis *

  5. Thumb up 0

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    “Evan Rachel Wood Bisexual” – or full blown gay? Everyone knows that nowadays, actresses have to label as bisexual instead of gay or else they’ll be limited to certain roles. That had been discussed in the Michelle Rodriguez “coming out” article. But I digress. lol

    • Thumb up 13

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      evan rachel wood is super outspoken about her bisexuality and is currently married to a straight cis dude — they either just had a baby or she is pregnant, i’m not 100% sure because i’m not great with celeb gossip and i’m too lazy to google right now (sad but true). anyhow just thought i should mention this because even though some actresses may call themselves bisexual as a means of circumventing hollywood/society’s homophobia, bisexuality is indeed a real identity and in this case, evan rachel wood really truly is bisexual!

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          this is really excellent news.

          also SIDENOTE her husband is the dude who played billy elliot in the movie (jamie…bell? seriously guys my brain has a weird aversion to googling celeb gossip idk what my problem is but clearly marika is an enabler because now i assume anytime i mention not wanting to google something a cute queer will just step up to the plate and do it for me but ANYWAY) and he is so so so cute. so i bet their baby is SUPER DUPER cute is what i’m saying.

  6. Thumb up 2

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    Bisexuality does rock. But when you write the article title that way, it dehumanizes her. It’s no longer “Evan Rachel Wood: actress, person, who is also bisexual.” Instead, it is as though that is the only important thing about her. It would be like saying “Tegan & Sara LESBIANS go on concert tour.”

  7. Thumb up 2

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    I am so glad to see Wood calling this behavior out. The MPAA really shows itself when it gives R ratings to movies like American Pie, but slaps or threatens movies like Blue Valentine with an NC-17 for showing oral sex performed on women. The MPAA reflects a desire to suppress the expression of female-centered and non-straight sexuality.

  8. Thumb up 23

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    This also reminds me of something Chelsea mentioned in the first American Horror Story Recap, about a gang rape scene — “I also don’t understand why the TV-MA parental warning readily gives warnings for language, nudity, and sexual situations, but never for rape and sexualized violence.” I’d never noticed that before, actually, but it says a lot about our culture that female sexual pleasure in movies is censored and on television, a scene where a woman is raped is given the same ‘sexual content’ warning as a scene where a man has consensual sex.

  9. Thumb up 1

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    The MPAA is a massive pile of bullshit and fail. I did watch ‘This Film Not Yet Rated’ and it just enraged me. We desperately need a new system.

    Also, whenever the MPAA comes up, does anyone else immediately think of that quote from ‘Cecil B. Demented’ where that one kid uses “Hey hey MPAA, how many movies did you censor today?” as a kind of code phrase? Just me?

  10. Thumb up 12

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    SEO fun: I opened an incognito tab in Chrome because I know google sometimes gives me results from websites I visit a lot. Currently, if you google “Evan Rachel Wood Bisexual” in quotes, AS is hits 5, 6, and 7, whereas if you google without quotes it’s hits 6 and 7. NOT BAD FRONT PAGE.

    Also seriously it is really weird to me that oral sex on ladies somehow implies an NC-17 rating, all the time. Having just seen Blue is the Warmest Color (again) I feel like I’d rather my hypothetical 15 year old see that movie than something incredibly gory and violent?

    except then I’d have to explain rimming to my hypothetical 15 year old and said hypothetical child is not ready for that conversation BUT STILL YOU GET MY IDEA.

  11. Thumb up 6

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    Besides the fact that Evan Rachel Wood is awesome and smart and I have so much respect for her calling out the MPAA like that, as a rather prolific texter myself, I really appreciate that it took her seven tweets to get her whole message out.

  12. Thumb up 5

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    I just don’t understand how a show like American Horror Story can have an episode where one of the main characters gets GANG RAPED and yet a movie that includes a scene with a woman receiveing consensual oral sex gets slapped with an NC-17 rating.
    Let me repeat… a show on network television is allowed to show a pretty graphic rape scene but god forbid we show a woman enjoying some consensual cunnilingus… GRRR ARGH!

  13. Thumb up 1

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    MPAA has changed dramatically over the years. As a pre-teen, I saw “The Graduate” (PG) for the first time, and it had way more sex and adult content than I could deal with. There was nudity and at least one sex scene, if I recall. Now even a boob makes it R (except for Titanic, which had significant ties to the MPAA board).

  14. Thumb up 6

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    I’m frequently all, oh a celebrity did/said a thing, I don’t care, what did somebody cooler/smarter/better do? But in this case I think it’s so important that it is the actress involved, and that she said this in such an accessible way. Like, I probably don’t give a shit what you think about Iran or drones, but I do love that you’re speaking up about these things that affect your art and your industry in such a negative way.

    Does that make me sound like a dick? I just meant that lots of celebrities who champion causes, particularly in the foreign affairs department aren’t necessarily well educated on those issues, they just have a natural soapbox so some people listen and it gets on my damn nerves. Dunno why I ended up on this ranting tangent, I’ve just had a lot of feels lately. Clearly I need to comment more so I can release the feels on more related articles.

  15. Thumb up 6

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    My head silently adds the word “Bisexual” every time it hears the words “Evan Rachel Wood”.

    Which is great, it means I never forget she’s on the team. Unlike Anna Paquin, who, for reasons unknown, I’ve been surprised to hear was bisexual at least four or five times. My brain just refuses to retain it. Fear not ERWB, I see you!

  16. Thumb up 0

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    I think that the original screening of Natasha Lyonne masturbating (regardless of whether she’s fully clothed or otherwise) caused a chain reaction of spontaneous combustion throughout the androsexist audience due to an overload of “hey girl, you’re Natasha mothafuckin Lyonne doing sexy stuff”. Of course this caused an outcry from the MPAA because female sexuality is obviously a deviation from heteronormativity, and, come on, WHO DISAGREES WITH THAT?*drippingwithallthesarcasminthequeersphere*

    This has been a quick look into my adult make-believe.

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    If you haven’t seen that documentary yet, it’s out there on Netflix (or at least was a few months ago; things change). It’s very worth seeing. More people need to be speaking out about the MPAA, because they have WAY too much influence, and it’s a big secret who the members are and how they make decisions.

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