If you have been even remotely active on social media within the past few weeks, chances are you’ve seen the buzz surrounding season two of HBO’s hit show “Euphoria.” The show has captivated viewers by showcasing troubled high-schoolers wearing flashy outfits and bright makeup, dealing with controversial issues such as sex, violence and drug use.
And with the season finale that aired last Sunday, Feb. 27, more people are talking about “Euphoria” than ever before.
Like any other form of media that covers these topics, the chaotic and sexual content of the show has generated discourse over whether it could potentially be harmful to the viewers tuning in every week, specifically to younger audiences.
Though all of the actors playing these teens are of age, certain characters are depicted to be as young as 15-years-old. This can be disturbing to think about considering that the creator of this show, Sam Levinson, is a 37-year-old man, and a decent portion of the content in “Euphoria” is inherently sexual.
Levinson, who is the sole writer of the show, has reportedly experienced issues working with actresses on the set of “Euphoria,” some of whom claim there were creative differences pertaining to the direction Levinson was taking the show.
Sydney Sweeney, who plays one of the main characters, Cassie, has recently spoken out about having to ask Levinson to remove topless scenes that she thought were unnecessary. This is surprising when you see how many sex scenes involving Sweeney’s character make the final cut (hint: it’s a lot).
Sweeney isn’t the only actress on the show to speak out about the excessive nudity. Actress Minka Kelly, who played the mother of a child that Maddy (also a main character) is babysitting, spoke about a scene that was written to be more risque than what made it to TV. Kelly says that, in the original scene where her character asks Maddy to unzip her dress, Levinson originally wanted her to fully undress.
The over-sexualization of women is certainly not uncommon in Hollywood. However, the graphic scenes depicting underage women are especially frequent in this show, which many say is the sole reason as to why it gained traction so quickly.
Because of young audiences watching shows like “Euphoria,” girls are being thrown into a society where toxic masculinity is normalized and their bodies are seen as only there to fulfill the desires of men. Most of the time, we mindlessly consume media without thinking of the effects it may have on us and, more specifically, the way we think.
The objectification of women in media is oftentimes disguised as “empowerment,” yet almost always still play into male sexual desires, which leaves viewers with unrealistic standards for how women should act.
The reality is, sex sells. And when you take into account the young audience that this series appeals to, it leads to young women believing that they must objectify themselves if they want to garner attention from men.
While shows like “Euphoria” may be entertaining, directors like Levinson have a massive influence on a very impressionable audience. When playing into the objectification of women in a show with millions of weekly viewers, the impact is significant.
By supporting female artists, directors and content creators, we have the ability to change the way society views women.
Kaitlyn Chronowski is a fourth-year Media and Culture major. firstname.lastname@example.org