By Nick “Novel” Gabanski
“Oh, what’s that red stuff coming out of my body? I got scraped, and now this strange liquid is oozing out. Am I going to die?”
Okay, in all honesty, I’m sure kids these days don’t say or think those things, but let’s be honest. Movies and TV shows go out of their way, way out of their way, to avoid showing blood. It’s like the sight of this naturally-occurring fluid will instantly traumatize or mentally-scar any child under 13. Even nose or lip bleeds are a rare sight in most kid-oriented pop-culture media. Why is this?
My first thought turns to Soccer Moms. Good lord, those women do everything in their power to protect their children from EVERYTHING. One of the main things that seems to be evil in their eyes is violence. Or anything that could result in injury that would cause one to, oh I don’t know, bleed. But let’s get back to violence. Violence is good, but not essential, in conflict. And as we all know, conflict is the main driving force behind stories. Now, say the conflict can be solved peaceably without fists and weapons. There is nothing wrong with that. Those kinds of stories teach children valuable lessons on how violence does not solve everything.
As to the types of stories that focus on fighting or include it in the storyline, as far as movies and shows intended for child-audiences, there’s no blood. What is so terrifying about seeing someone leaking red fluids? Granted, we’ll never see a character getting their throat slit and gallons of blood fountaining out Tarantino-style in a kid movie, but if a cut or scrape happens, what’s wrong with that? The funny thing is there are movies, like “Beauty and the Beast” and “Tangled”, that do show blood. And those were stab wounds! Strangely enough, no child was traumatized by this apparently horrific sight.
I grew up with “Beauty and the Beast”. Know what my 5-year-old-self did when I saw Beast bleeding out from Gaston’s knife-wound? Nothing. I didn’t scream or cry at the sight of blood. I just sat there sad because I thought Beast was about to die (but Disney faked us out, as they are wont to do). I grew up seeing blood and violence and dark content in my movies and shows. I turned out fine. I never freaked out when I saw my own blood; I just screamed and cried because I was in pain and hadn’t learned how to swear yet.
Here’s the main problem with today’s kids and what they’re exposed to, or more poignantly, not exposed to. Parents, especially Soccer Moms, feel the need to create a perfect little world for their child. And that usually involves blocking off everything that could possibly harm them or teach them something that the parents don’t want them to learn. But then how will they grow? How will those sheltered kids better themselves as they mature? That’s the problem with how absurd this censorship of natural aspects of the body has become. By preventing kids from seeing the grittier side of life, even in small increments, you deny them growth and learning essential for their development. You’re not saving them from possible traumatization by preventing them from seeing blood. You’re building them up for trauma and mental-scarring when they see it in real life for the first time and freak out because they don’t know what it is.
Let the children grow and discover and learn. It’s all part of childhood and growing up. Let them see wondrous things. And let them see dark and scary things. A sheltered child grows the least.
Edited by Melissa Brooks