Also posted on Allison the Writer.
I might as well come out and say it. I’m prudish and very proud of it. I don’t like exposing myself to materials containing inappropriate content. I don’t listen to most modern music, I don’t watch movies rated PG-13 or more unless there’s a good reason, and I especially, especially, especially do not read books with excessive vulgar language or sexual content.
It’s been 3 years since I made that self-righteous declaration. Things have changed a little.
First off, “inappropriate content” is either a very generalizing term which suggests what isn’t appropriate for me is universally inappropriate for all. Either that, or it’s a euphemism for, y’know, stuff (which is what I actually meant, I hope).
In the past three years, I’ve learned to express my feelings with a bit more sensitivity to other people’s preferences. After all, if you’re a young adult who has no qualms reading swear words in your books, that doesn’t make you a pervert, so I’ll try not to use language which implies it does. And of course, being prudish certainly doesn’t make me saintly. (I’ve been known to swear like a retired sailor’s sheltered grandchild’s parrot if riled up enough!)
Time has passed, so naturally, I’m older. I’ve become less sensitive to certain subjects that made me alternatively blush or indignant as an eleven year old. I realized this as I was reading Jelly Bean Summer in May; as an older reader, I wasn’t bothered by the fleeting puberty-talk or the couple of times the protagonist said “d*mn.”
I don’t listen to most modern music.
That was a dumb thing to say. It’s true, as social norms change and loosen up, so do the guidelines for what’s acceptable to say in music, and there are plenty of contemporary songs that make me blush. But if you look carefully, you can still find plenty of amazing, contemporary artists and acts who, for the most part, compose and perform wholesome music. I’m glad I did.
I don’t watch movies rated PG-13 or more unless there’s a good reason.
Guess what? I watched The Matrix, and that’s rated R. And there was a good reason for it. The violence and the grossness and the Lady in the Red Dress thing definitely bugged me, but that was a more “gentle,” “tame” R-rated film that wasn’t all nasty and creepy. (I’m not going to watch the sequels a) because I’m told they got pretty stupid pretty quickly and b) they’re unfortunately not as tame.)
I would not have been able to handle that movie three years ago, mostly due to the violence, but I’ve learned to appraise movies based on their redeeming and detracting values and decide for myself, based on my preferences and maturity level, whether watching it is worth it.
Not all movies are rated R because they border on being pornographic. Sometimes it’s because someone uses strong language on par with Samuel L. Jackson’s rather infamous repertoire – if that’s easy enough to mute as it comes up, and the rest of the movie’s a-okay, I can deal with that.
I especially, especially, especially do not read books with excessive vulgar language or sexual content.
That is unchanged. 😛
Well, that was me then – here is where I am now:
I’m prudish. That means, in my case, that I am uncomfortable consuming media with excessively vulgar or sexually explicit content. I wondered if I would grow out of this, but it seems that I have not and won’t be doing so anytime soon. This rules out most R-rated films and these days, most PG-13 films as well, but there are exceptions and I will watch many of those exceptions. Same goes with Young Adult (YA) fiction – I have to look carefully for books at my reading level which do not trigger my sensitivities, but these days, I welcome the challenge.
In these past three years, as I changed, I worried that I was being hypocritical to myself and to everyone I’d convinced that I’m a self-proclaimed, so-called prude. I’m still prudish, but like everything else in beautiful nature, I’ve continued to change over time. I’m a prude who grew up and still remains prudish – this is just a more open-minded, grown-up kind of prudish.