Why Sexuality and Nudity is Down in Movies

Although it might be hard to believe, sexuality and nudity is actually going down in movies today.  And a number of Christian organizations are taking the credit.  Some raise money based on telling the public they work in Hollywood “consulting” the studios, and others say they boycott or apply pressure from the outside.  I don’t need to mention them, but they jump to the forefront when statistics indicate that sexuality in movies have dropped over the last number of years, and are the first in line to take credit.  But the truth is, that’s bunk.  Want to know the real reason movies don’t show as much nudity and sexuality as they used to?

Wal-Mart.

That’s right.  In 2007, the major Hollywood studios made $17.9 billion in DVD sales.  The catch?  $4 billion (nearly 25%) was made from selling to Wal-Mart, the largest retailer in the world.  But Wal-Mart actually has a policy that forces any movie with high sexuality and nudity away from the areas of highest visibility in their stores.  They take those DVD’s and put them in an “adult” section that’s much harder for customers to see.

Why do they do it?  They don’t want to offend moms.  They know mothers are there to get family oriented DVD’s for their kids, and they represent a huge market for Wal-Mart.

So Hollywood gets it, and responds with less sexuality in mainstream movies.  As I’ve said many times before, Hollywood isn’t trying to destroy American families or corrupt our youth.  They’re just in the business of making money.  That’s why boycotts, name calling, or appealing to moral or spiritual values just falls flat.

Is it religious ministry organizations making the difference?  Nope.  Studios are discovering that it’s simply good business.

This entry was posted on Monday, May 31st, 2010 at 5:37 pm and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

  • Jon

    Good article. It’s not the boycotts causing things to change, it’s the desire to make money. The only reason why things like “Fox Faith”, or Sony distributing Fireproof, is because these companies see a large, mostly untapped market for “moral” films. Yes they have their own interests (money) in mind, but Christians can use this for the right reasons in getting media distritbuted. If we can’t appeal to Hollywoods sense of morality, appeal to it’s greed.

  • http://www.lightquestmedia.com Chris

    OK, so you are saying that the studios are actually changing content because it is better for business, profits, and share prices?  I guess this might be true, but how can a nonprofit raise any money with that story? 

    I can see where this whole profit-motive thing could catch on though.

  • @pAbolding

    Jack – I followed you train of thought and feel you are right on point. The “shit” aka the egg, could have only come from the “idiots” aka the chickens. Though, lets not keep ourselves from thinking outside the box. The church should get some credit here, but it is merely secondary, it is neither the chicken or the shit or egg or whatever (help me here, jack). Could it not be simply because there is a growing trend that parents are being more concerned with what their kids are exposed to? Due largely in part to there being more to which than can be exposed to? With the godless generation that I am part of, new parents realize the impact of media(s) exposure and thus are reverting to censoring more of what their children take in, as hopeless of a battle it is. So, sure, the church helped but it doesn’t get to put its flag on the hill just yet.

  • http://www.graymedia.tv Gabe Harris

    Phil, this was so informative. Thanks! Always love the knowledge you share with us. Your comment about honest complaints prevailing over organized boycotts/protests is helpful. I’ve been meaning to write a letter to FOX about a particular show but didn’t know it would be read. Now I think it will. Thanks.

  • JimmyB

    Are we certain this is a current topic?
    Most of what was referenced I read in an article on Slate.com from August 2005.

    http://www.slate.com/id/2124498

  • Phil

    I don’t doubt it.  Reality is reality, and this isn’t a daily newspaper.  But much more detail can be found in:

    The Hidden Financial Reality Behind the Movies
    by Edward Jay Epstein
    Melville, (2010) 240 pp., $16.95

  • Brian

    Great article!!! I saw another site with similar themed gratuitous or graphic nudity detailing the same thing in other movies, books, apps, etc… (www.graphicnudity.biz) its amazing how many times nudity crops up in main stream media!

  • Sickofit

    I see it is as a feminist thing. Hollywood has to acknowledge that women make up more than half the viewership (and consumerism). We don’t want to sit there and watch the men being pandered to while our interests are not even being addressed. It’s insulting.

  • Jett

    I agree.  I have been to Wal-Mart many times, and seen their array of films.

    Just about every store that sales movies doesnt split up the R-rated and the family films.  I have only seen them split into Comedy, Horror…etc.

    Many movies have incorperated “adult” content into family movies and shows.  I havent seen a store show moral obligation in hiding the R-rated movies at all. 

    They just simply don’t sell porn, but honestly they might as well because some of the movies are getting closer to porn-oriented than family-oriented.

  • http://rickbeckman.org/ Rick Beckman

    Walmart doesn’t have any sort of “adult section.” You can find “unrated” and rated-R movies laden with nudity (think your “American Pie” series, for example) right out on the shelves next to family movies. Walmart tends to organize movies in sections like recent releases, $13, $9, $5, seasonally-appropriate, cartoons, and TV shows… more or less (there are plenty of exceptions). But there’s no hidey-hole for adult movies, nor does Walmart shy away from showcasing the Rated-R films right along everything else. Perhaps you’re thinking of Family Video rental stores?

  • http://rickbeckman.org/ Rick Beckman

    Actually, come to think of it, even Family Video’s shelves are filled with “must be 18 to rent” videos, despite typically having an “adults only” room for such things.

  • Jett

    I absolutely agree with you on the basis of content in movies.  Many people I know don’t go by the bible when it comes to films, and the need for morallity in them.  I have heard many excuses for it.  From “Its not a big deal because they are just acting.”,  to “So and so goes to church and seen the movie and and loved it.”  Like they don’t have a mind of their own.

     

    The fact is that people laugh when I tell them I don’t watch R-rated films, but as we are told by Jesus,  ” The World will  hate you.”  I am ok with that as I don’t want to be a part of the world …I want the Kingdom of God!  So many people try to fit into the crowd, and copy what everyone else does….vulgar or not.   

     

    I have been told before that Christians are fake.  Hee hee, then why are we so different than all the people trying to fit in with everyone else?  Because we are real and we can see through the lies they inflict on us with the media, music and their immoral illusions.

    I am also offended by dirty jokes.  I see no good in them or humor for that matter.  I don’t want to fake a laugh when in my heart I know it doesn’t please God. Its just a desire to please the world.

     

    You can’t be “normal”  when you are following God and not the world.  “Normal” is all kinds of wicked these days.

    I am a child of God and nothing you can do or say can change that.  :)

    God Bless you all, and may God keep you.

  • Arlene Regnaert

    What is so upsetting to me, is that I know so many Christians, that go to movies with that type of material in them.  They tell me “Oh, you must go see such and such”  I look the content up online and am appalled.  I will always remember ” Dave Wilkerson, a true prophet of God” , he wrote in the Book, The Vision, written shortly after God gave him a vision in prayer in 1974.  He said among so much that has come true, was that he saw movie houses filled with Christians sitting there watching sex, nudity, and vulgarity on the screen.  We are seeing that in the last 20 years, Christians doing that. 

    We wonder why the Church is weak, powerless, very little healings, miracles, and conversions, because “The Church is filled with garbage in their minds, and will”

  • Tabz

    Now if only TV would do the same… :D

  • Ed

    Well, maybe the threats don’t work directly with Hollywood, but apparently they work with WalMart and other companies, which means they’re indirectly affecting HW. Phil, you’re saying that WalMart doesn’t want to offend moms, which means they’ve probably gotten their fair number of complaints from moms over the years, which means that taking a stand DOES work … it just doesn’t work with Hollywood.

  • Phil

    I think the difference is honest complaints versus orchestrated campaigns.  A writer and executive producer of network TV dramas told me that when networks get giant packages of Xeroxed forms with signatures, they just toss them in the trash.  But when they get a sincere, handwritten letter, they notice.  Besides, I’m convinced that most ministry “boycotts” are really about fundraising anyway…

  • http://www.a-e-m.org Joel Pelsue

    Phil

    I agree with you in part .  . . It gets tiring hearing some organizations taking credit for things as if they are the only real factor in the game.  Naturally. . the distribution channel is extremely powerful.  But I wonder what the stats are for downloads of movies via Itunes, views on Hulu, etc. . . do they follow the same trajectory?

    Regardless though . . . no ministry impact, Phil?  . . you use the same type of hyperbole you criticize.

    How many Churches are in L.A?  How many Christians in the Industry? Are you really saying the salt and light have NO IMPACT? should all the churches and ministries shut down and withdraw any impact they have? 

    I get your point, but you commit the same error you criticize

    Walmart is not the only factor, nor is one particular ministry. . .it’s never that simple.

  • Phil

    Joel – you misunderstand my point.  Boycotts have little or no impact.  The other options you mentioned – Christians working in the industry, LA churches reaching out to the industry, and others ARE making a difference.  The Bible’s mandate for salt and light is the answer.  Not standing on the sidelines and criticizing. 

  • Wayne Choisnet
    Post hoc, ergo propter hoc. The chicken or the egg …?

    Your article is interesting, though its conclusion flawed, Phil.

    The “good business” that Hollywood studios is discovering at Walmart is precisely because those conservative parents that represent a huge market successfully complain to get Walmart’s attention. See More

    Walmart also seeks “good business” – from the mothers and fathers inside and outside of religious organizations. Both absolutely do make a difference.

    I appreciate your thought provoking commentary.