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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

With the rise in popularity, the second season of Euphoria occupies the topic of most conversations between many people. The Emmy award winning show that highlights the events of teenage lives, has once again been under fire for its content which comes as no surprise.

It’s no shock that Euphoria contains much explicit content such as nudity, depiction of drug abuse, sexual violence, etc. To be fair, the show’s theme is to show the reality of these issues which are very common among teenagers. However, social media users and TV critics beg to differ, arguing that these scenes are too explicit to be portrayed by adults who are playing the roles of high school students.

This criticism doesn’t seem to have made an impact on Euphoria’s ratings, considering that the second season’s viewership drastically increases with each released episode. Since the premiere of the new season, the viewership has increased more than 100% from the first and does not seem like it will change any time soon. In addition, Euphoria has been renewed for a third season.

The main question that has lingered within many viewers due to this criticism is:

Does Euphoria sexualize minors?

The main characters are played by adult actors who portray high school students. That alone sounds a bit odd but even more when you’re aware that this show displays straight nudity and sex scenes. The use of explicit sexual scenes has raised the topic of oversexualization of minors. Although the actors are adults, they are portraying minors and are considered minors in the show.

The entertainment world is no stranger to oversexualizing minors. A few examples of such shows are Riverdale, Pretty Little Liars, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, etc. These shows show an overbearing amount of sexual content which have a common cycle: all the actors are at least in their 20’s portraying high school students.

Though, Euphoria is a great show that represents the realities of many issues that teens can face, it does not refrain it from being criticized for its oversexualization of teenage women.

are the sexual acts necessary?

Coming-of-age shows have a theme of portraying sex, drugs, and partying into their storylines. As we are all aware, these acts are common among high school students especially as they are navigating a new part of their lives. With growing up, comes maturity and life changing decisions that can make or break someone’s teenage years. These decisions can include exploring one’s sexual life, falling into the bandwagon of trying drugs or alcohol and such more.

Euphoria does a great job at exploring each of these events through the lives of each character. For example, Rue represents the journey and life of a drug addict who is struggling to overcome her troubles. Cassie looks for validation in men and therefore, oversexualizes herself in order to feel loved. Kat overcomes bullying and fat-shaming in a not-so-healthy manner by taking back the power and treating men the same way.

However, the main concern lies with the sexual scenes of the show. Are they necessary to the development and importance of the plot? Would it take away from the show’s plot and interest if they did not portray sexual scenes?

The answer is, NO. The sex scenes are not necessary.

We all are aware that teenagers have sex and usually develop and explore their sexuality in their teen years. There is no need to depict this in a show about high school, especially when actual high schoolers themselves cannot watch this show because it is rated MA. The message of the show can be just as relatable if the scenes were not included. It is not to say that these scenes are completely inappropriate and should not be portrayed on television. These acts are completely normal among teens and adults. However, there are various ways to portray the message without having to show nude high schoolers.

Conclusion

Despite the entertaining plot, amazing cinematography, and on-point acting, Euphoria does lay in the same category as coming-of-age shows that display sexual acts when it comes to oversexualization of minors. Instead of taking into account that this is a show about 15–17-year old’s, the writer takes the old route of portraying typical sex scenes.

One question to ask yourself is: What does the sexual scenes add to the plot? A raw portrayal of reality for many teenagers? Or just another typical factor that every high school show should have because it has been normalized by Hollywood? Another approach is, do we need a visual portrayal of teenage sex in order to understand that it exists?

For a show about teens, it can be too much for even teens to watch.

Mariana Razo

Winthrop '24

Hello, my name is Mariana, and I am an English major. I hope to become a high school English teacher. I love horror movies and rarely watch anything that isn't within that genre. I've always been into entertainment and usually keep up with anything music, movies, or celebrity related.
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