Maybe with adults, but I believe in the value of presenting children with moral instruction via art. You may now assail me to your heart's content.
I've used films that way with my younger brother on occasion. Time was I had mild concerns about him wrt racism and drug use; nothing serious mind you, just trash talk with friends for the most part that he'd as likely as not have grown out of anyway, but a potential issue. So in both cases I nipped it in the bud by sitting him down with American History X
and Requiem for a Dream
respectively, age advisory tags be damned.
That was a 'shock and horror' approach, though. If the attitudes and behaviour of a child or teenager can be altered by mere osmosis in the form of exposure to a few novels depicting less than healthy relationships, then there mustn't have been much in the child's head in the first place, either wrt relationships specifically, or more underlying values. I'm no expert on parenting, but rather than forbidding children and teenagers to indulge their curiosity or base interest in stuff like Twilight
, I'd seek to ensure that they were also presented with alternative examples and messages in the form of other fiction, real relationships, subtle parental guidance, and so on.
Re: adults and trash. I once read a document by a feminist author arguing, amongst other things, that the reason men like lesbian pornography is because they place themselves in the scene and fantasise about converting the women to heterosexuality via the sheer power of their penis. Needless to say, this is a classic case of overthinking the problem; but it's not difficult to understand how the author arrived at the idea. The notion that lesbians are women who simply haven't met the right penis is
out there; in its most harmful form giving rise to so-called 'corrective rape'. Depending upon its form of expression, the idea can be absurd, distasteful, or abhorrent. But in any case, it's not a nation to be enjoyed
So when it cropped up in Sin City
(Marv: "Lucille's my parole officer. She's a dyke, but God knows why. With that body of hers she could have any man she wants.") I should've been offended. Or disturbed. Or something. But I wasn't, because it was too goddamn funny. From the picturesque lipstick lesbians with breasts glistening in the moonlight, to the protagonist's rough growl of a voice, it was all so knowingly, gloriously masculine that it transcended offensiveness to come full circle around to being awesome again. Male power fantasies are everywhere; but rarely so unabashed and exuberant as Sin City
. And that very quality allowed me to enjoy it; to indulge in attitudes and behaviours that in most other contexts I find distasteful. In being so clearly
a fantasy, I was able to treat it as such and disengage my faculties for the duration. It wasn't moral, or enlightening, but I doubt I came out of it any worse
a human being than I was going in.
In the same way I expect girls and women can enjoy Twilight
without having their attitudes wrt relationships and sexuality warped in the process.
I've watched "Manos: Hands of Fate"'s MST3K version dozens of times. I wouldn't call it my favorite movie.
I haven't even seen most of my favourite
films that many times.