Elaine Ee-Meyers: Singapore needs to sort out its rules on gay movie scenes

Elaine Ee-Meyers: Singapore needs to sort out its rules on gay movie scenes

All mixed up, Elaine Ee-Meyers questions the MDA's contradictory guidelines on how gay relationships are portrayed in movies

With the Academy Awards around the corner movie fans in Singapore will be heading to the cinemas to watch the contenders and decide who to root for.

Many will have already seen neck-and-neck favorites for Best Picture Darren Aronofsky’s "Black Swan" starring Natalie Portman as a ballerina who’s dark obsession releases her evil doppelganger and Tom Hooper’s "The King’s Speech" where Colin Firth masterfully plays the stammering King George VI.

But while "Black Swan" and "The King’s Speech" are both enjoying long runs in local cinemas, another serious nominee for Best Picture, which has been wowing audiences in the United States, will only be screened here for one short day on February 24.

That is "The Kids are All Right," a movie about two women (Annette Bening and Julianne Moore) in a lesbian relationship raising a family together.

The reason behind this film’s brief appearance in Singapore’s box office –- and its R21 rating -– is that it makes gay relationships appear socially acceptable and therefore contravenes the Media Development Authority’s content guideline that "films should not promote or normalize a homosexual lifestyle."

Implying therefore that portraying the homosexual lifestyle as deviant, or an aberration, is preferable.

And I have to say, that even as a tolerant, open-minded, left-leaning liberal, I have to, for once, agree with them.

Because, let’s be honest here, if we’re going to watch a film about two women in a relationship, do we really want to be watching two middle-aged women working hard to raise a family and dealing with all the relationship issues and growing pains that this throws up? 

That, for many, is simply reality.

What we really want is, not ‘normalized’ girl couples, but some sizzling hot, socially unacceptable, totally deviant girl-on-girl action with chicks that you would never bring home to meet your mother. Now that’s entertainment.

So in this respect, the MDA and I are actually on the same page.

It does puzzle me then that in "Black Swan," the sex scene between Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis was cut. But why? It didn’t normalize same-sex activity, it didn’t say it was okay for two girls to be attracted to each other. In fact, it was suitably deviant.

After all it had the right naughty elements, rebellious girls who go out clubbing the night before a big performance, getting high on party drugs, Portman having a psychotic episode, she and Kunis ripping each other’s lingerie off in bed.

Why was this not deviant enough? Would a pair of handcuffs and a greasy pole have helped?

Given our society’s inability to accept mainstream same-sex unions, maybe the people who stand by this belief should make up their minds. 

If same-sex couples here (and in many other places) can’t do what most of the ‘normal’ human race desires –- get married, raise children, leave their legacy for future generations -– then they should, at least, be allowed to play.

Catch "The Kids are All Right" at Cathay Cineplex Cineleisure Orchard on February 24.

The opinions of this commentary are solely those of Elaine Ee-Meyers.

Elaine Ee writes about Singapore, the city she lives in, covering the arts, events, personalities and social issues. Her stories have appeared in Time Out SingaporeTatler HomesFood & Travel and Jetstar Asia. She’s also an editor at publichouse.sg, a Singapore community-driven website run by socially conscious denizens. When she’s not at her laptop, she practises Bikram yoga, spends time with her three kids and makes it a point to keep trying something new. 

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