Trigger warning: this article contains mentions of sexual assault.
As one of the most popular shows in most recent years, “Euphoria” has quite the grip on popular culture and social media.
When the show was airing its second season, every week I’d see multiple trending topics about it on Twitter. Naturally, that piqued my interest as I had never seen the show before and I wondered why it was so special.
After looking into it, I felt less than compelled to keep going. Call me crazy, but the nudity of high schoolers, even if they’re played by adults, isn’t appealing to me. Whether the actor is actually underage or not doesn’t matter; you are still portraying a minor in a fashion that is a step below porn.
Remember: “Euphoria” is written by a fully grown middle-aged man.
“Euphoria” isn’t born from the perspective of a fellow teenager or young adult, but a 37-year-old industry plant named Sam Levinson.
Levinson, the son of Academy Award-winning director Barry Levinson, did in fact have substance abuse problems in the past. That I can see and can accept as appropriate. However, I doubt Levinson had problems being a cam-girl while still in high school.
Even for the men, the amount of graphic sexual scenes we see is too much. You can still have a locker room scene of high schoolers without the copious amounts of genitalia present. Every single scene that includes nudity and sex is uncalled for. The show can have the same storyline by simply implying the sex without explicitly showing it to the millions of adults watching it.
Another prime example is “13 Reasons Why.”
Shaking the pop culture world in 2017, “13 Reasons Why” debuted on Netflix and shocked viewers with depictions of suicide and sexual assault, and may I add, quite graphic ones. The show was one atrocity after another, and yet again, was developed by a 40-year-old dude who probably has not experienced half of these tragedies in his real life.
It all boils down to asking one question: why is all of this necessary? How does showing the rape of a 17-year-old girl add any value to the show when it could’ve been simply stated that it happened? Why did millions of viewers need to witness it?
I believe these Hollywood screenwriters and executives just want another outlet for their sexual deviances and fantasies. I think they must sincerely enjoy the suffering and sexual lives of minors for them to be recreating these fantasies over and over again in media.
When it comes to minors, we can leave certain elements out for the comfort of the viewers and minors everywhere.
I am only 18 years old. I graduated high school less than a year ago. With that being said, even I feel disgusted about seeing 16- and 17-year-olds being depicted in such a graphic way. Real things other young people and I have experienced feel like they’re being exploited as sick fantasies for Hollywood executives.
As a film and television major at Montclair State University, I hope to contribute to an industry that portrays the real lives of people who are young and going through real issues, all without making it dark and twisted. I hope to help these kids feel like they’re not alone and have something they can relate to while not exploiting them or their pain as sexual fantasies.
Hollywood, do better when it comes to how you portray minors in television and film.