By Mia Lukic
I recently watched a movie entitled “Ma Vie en Rose” or “My Life in Pink”. The 1997 film follows Ludo, a young transgender girl in a time and place where being trans was not understood nor accepted. Ludo understands the world and her situation through her favorite children’s show “Le Monde de Pam” or “Pam’s World”. The show takes place in a bright colored fantastical world where people can fly and the magic of imagination controls all. Ludo figures that when God was tossing X and Y chromosomes out of the sky to determine a baby’s gender, the second X that would have given Ludo the female sex at birth must have gotten blown away in the wind. Unfortunately, the adults in Ludo’s life and her peers do not think Ludo’s situation is nearly as simple. She is forced to dress like a boy and labelled as gay, also a huge taboo in the film, when she says she wants to marry a boy in her class. Life for Ludo and her family gets very complicated and difficult as Ludo refuses to stop wearing dresses and expressing herself as the young girl she is. A great movie, available to watch on Amazon, “Ma Vie en Rose” brings up many important conversations.
When the movie was first released in the United States it was given an rating of “R”, for having “adult themes” and IMDB cites “brief strong language” for the rating. All of the streaming services the movie is currently on, have it listed as an R rated movie. I am by no means an expert on the rating process, but as someone who has seen many movies, I can confidently say from my experiences that the movie does not compare to other R rated movies I have seen.
Mental Floss explains that the organization Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), has a division called Classification and Ratings Administration (CARA) that focuses on giving ratings. These ratings used to be controlled by the Hays Code, a code meant to control the morals of films, created by a Jesuit priest. The code, influenced by the morals of one religion, was used to evaluate films created by and featuring people of all religions and backgrounds. Today, CARA is “funded through fees paid directly to them by producers and production companies to have their films reviewed; their methods have been questioned by industry professionals and movie-lovers alike” (Mental Floss).
Currently the R rating is as follows:
“R—“Children Under 17 Require Accompanying Parent or Adult Guardian… May include adult themes, adult activity (author’s note: stuff it’s not legal for kids to do), hard language, intense or persistent violence, sexually-oriented nudity, drug abuse or other elements… Generally, it is not appropriate for parents to bring their young children with them to R-rated motion pictures.””
Ma Vie en Rose has no drugs, no nudity, no intense violence, the language is very brief and is subjectively not “hard”, but that word is very vague and open to interpretation.
PG (formerly M, then GP)—“Parental Guidance Suggested. Some Material May Not Be Suitable For Children… The more mature themes in some PG-rated motion pictures may call for parental guidance. There may be some profanity and some depictions of violence or brief nudity… There is no drug use content.”
When we take a look at the PG rating it not only allows for “some profanity”, which matches IMDB’s description and my analysis, it allows for “brief violence and brief nudity”, which the film does not have. I would like to stress that I am not an expert but when comparing the ratings and their breakdowns to the movie, something does not add up. The transphobia and over sexualization of the vary topics of gender identity and sexuality seem to outweigh the written breakdowns of the ratings and logic itself. Children deserve to see films with representation of a variety of people and trans children need to be a topic that we can talk about openly without sexualizing them or making it into a taboo. Trans girls deserve to not only imagine but live their lives in pink.