+

There are no scenes depicting graphic violence, nudity, or drug use in "3 Generations," a film starring Elle Fanning, Namoi Watts, and Susan Sarandon.

Yet, incredibly, it has an R rating. Why?

Actors Elle Fanning (left), Naomi Watts (middle), and Susan Sarandon (right). Photo by George Nicholis/The Weinstein Company.


LGBTQ rights advocates have an idea.

The film follows the story of Ray, a transgender teen — and his gender likely explains its restrictive rating, if you ask Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of GLAAD.

Ellis penned an open letter to executives at the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) — the organization responsible for rating films in the U.S. — slamming the group for what GLAAD considers an unreasonable assessment of who should be able to watch "3 Generations."

An R rating means, without adult supervision, no one under 17 years old will be allowed to see the film in theaters.

"The Motion Picture Association of America should represent all Americans, including transgender youth," Ellis wrote. "Your decision to give 3 Generations a restrictive 'R' rating sends a dangerous message to this already marginalized community."

Although the film has been under fire for not casting a trans actor to portray Ray — trans actors are too often overlooked for complex, consequential roles, and casting cisgender actors to play trans parts can actually be harmful — most LGBTQ advocates say "3 Generations" still brings much needed representation to the big screen.

"A parent’s unconditional love for their child is not a story that should be restricted," Ellis continued. "In fact, it is a story that could help parents and young people across this country and around the world."

"3 Generations" receiving an R rating is disappointing. But — considering the MPAA's past blunders — it's not all that surprising.

The MPAA has been criticized before for discriminating against LGBTQ-themed films by deeming their content as less appropriate for children and teens — just because of characters' sexual orientation or gender identity.

Many called foul, for instance, when 2014's "Love Is Strange," starring John Lithgow and Alfred Molina as the loving lead couple, was given an R rating. The sole contributing factor? Scenes with two men kissing, some argued.

This discrimination has also bled into more modern entertainment mediums like YouTube. The social media giant drew fire in March for unfairly categorizing much of its LGBTQ content as "restricted" — even though the videos lacked anything that should be considered inappropriate for children.

YouTube since apologized for the "confusion" and said it's looking into the issue after many vocal influencers in its LGBTQ community spoke up.

Similarly, the executives and stars behind "3 Generations" are hoping their own outspokenness will spark some change as well.

Elle Fanning in "3 Generations." Photo by George Nicholis/The Weinstein Company.

Harvey Weinstein, whose Weinstein Company is behind "3 Generations," publicly slammed the film's R rating earlier this month, claiming it needlessly bars many people who should see the film from being able to: “The fact that an R rating would prevent high school students from seeing this film would truly be a travesty,” he said, Variety reported.

The film's leading ladies have also made public statements decrying the MPAA's decision. Watts claimed the film "doesn't have a bad bone in its body," while Sarandon noted "3 Generations" is an "important movie for everyone to see" and that its R rating is "ridiculous."

At a pivotal moment for transgender rights in the U.S., more young people need to be seeing films like "3 Generations" — not told its content is for adults only. The rest of the country is evolving on LGBTQ rights, and it's crucial the film industry helps lead the way.

A breastfeeding mother's experience at Vienna's Schoenbrunn Zoo is touching people's hearts—but not without a fair amount of controversy.

Gemma Copeland shared her story on Facebook, which was then picked up by the Facebook page Boobie Babies. Photos show the mom breastfeeding her baby next to the window of the zoo's orangutan habitat, with a female orangutan sitting close to the glass, gazing at them.

"Today I got feeding support from the most unlikely of places, the most surreal moment of my life that had me in tears," Copeland wrote.

Keep ReadingShow less

RumorGuard by The News Literacy Project.

The 2016 election was a watershed moment when misinformation online became a serious problem and had enormous consequences. Even though social media sites have tried to slow the spread of misleading information, it doesn’t show any signs of letting up.

A NewsGuard report from 2020 found that engagement with unreliable sites between 2019 and 2020 doubled over that time period. But we don’t need studies to show that misinformation is a huge problem. The fact that COVID-19 misinformation was such a hindrance to stopping the virus and one-third of American voters believe that the 2020 election was stolen is proof enough.

What’s worse is that according to Pew Research, only 26% of American adults are able to distinguish between fact and opinion.

To help teach Americans how to discern real news from fake news, The News Literacy Project has created a new website called RumorGuard that debunks questionable news stories and teaches people how to become more news literate.

Keep ReadingShow less
Family

A mom describes her tween son's brain. It's a must-read for all parents.

"Sometimes I just feel really angry and I don’t know why."

This story originally appeared on 1.05.19


It started with a simple, sincere question from a mother of an 11-year-old boy.

An anonymous mother posted a question to Quora, a website where people can ask questions and other people can answer them. This mother wrote:

How do I tell my wonderful 11 year old son, (in a way that won't tear him down), that the way he has started talking to me (disrespectfully) makes me not want to be around him (I've already told him the bad attitude is unacceptable)?

It's a familiar scenario for those of us who have raised kids into the teen years. Our sweet, snuggly little kids turn into moody middle schoolers seemingly overnight, and sometimes we're left reeling trying to figure out how to handle their sensitive-yet-insensitive selves.


Keep ReadingShow less