Author and blogger Sarah McCarry and I have pretty much nothing in common, but last night we both went to see Skyfall.
In Sarah's post about her viewing, she shares a personal issue she has watching violence, even fictional violence, particularly against women. She describes her intense and visceral reactions as being "not normal", and it's true that I for one did not have the same reaction at an emotional level to the Skyfall shot in question even if it did disappoint me from a critical standpoint for the same reasons.
I do, however, have a similar issue with children. Any time I hear a story about a child coming to harm through malice or neglect, I am undone. I hear the story and the scene starts playing in my head in IMAX 3D. I am there, watching, helpless, feeling the pain and the fear and the need. And then the hopelessness and the anger and the sadness and the bitterness And then the scene repeats and it keeps repeating. Eventually my own life mixes with the images and I sort of come back, though I never unsee these little movies.
So I think I can relate to Sarah a little, but I am lucky. I've learned how to mostly avoid such stories from real life (with some help from my husband), and I am also forced to observe that popular entertainment does not, as a rule, feature harm coming to children except in sanitized stories actually written for children.
But why do you suppose this is? Are we spared the glorification of violence against children as a matter of traditional values, or because a significant proportion of viewers are like me, so genuinely repulsed by it that the shit just wouldn't sell? And do we tend to be more repulsed by children coming to harm than adult women - or men - out of biological instinct or simply because we are more inured to the latter?
My guess is that a lot of parents, possibly mothers in particular, are biologically hardwired to protect children, and the more the children seem like our own children the more intense the instinct. I think if we could be inured to it, if it could sell, there would be such movies being made left and right already. I sincerely hope we never see that day.