Author: Owen Salmon, YAV
Photo: HBO Max’s Euphoria
On June 16, 2019, HBO Max released the hit series, Euphoria, featuring famous actors including Zendaya, Jacob Eldori, and many more. With now two seasons and over six million views, Euphoria remains one of the most-watched shows by many teens. “It [Euphoria] is really popular and all of my friends watch it. A lot of teens have HBO Max which in turn leads them to watch Euphoria, a show about people their age,” an Anonymous High School Senior said. Euphoria showcases high school students involved in abusive relationships.
One prominent example is seen between two characters, Nate and Maddy. Nate abuses Maddy when she leaves him and in turn she suffers physical violence from him. Although this happened, Nate is still seen as “overprotective” and “supportive.” In the eyes of many viewers, characterizing this individual with the prior traits makes his actions excusable and valid. “I’ve heard a lot of my friends say [Nate Jacobs] was attractive…they considered him just protecting Maddy.”
The abuse has been glamorized as well. Nate’s violence is seen as attractive and “what a real man should be” by many misinformed viewers. He is portrayed as masculine and seems to stand up for his partner. furthermore, abusive relationships do not just affect the person in them. “When Nate Jacobs smacked Maddy in Euphoria, it really put it into the perspective of what teens can face on an everyday basis in a relationship and how this abuse not only affects the people in the relationships but the people in their lives,” said Anonymous High School Senior.
Overall, the media has to shift this narrative and move toward bringing awareness to people who are suffering and trapped in abusive relationships. “I hope that media in the future strays away from the themes seen in these shows, as this is damaging to many young impressionable audiences,” High School Senior said.
Owen Salmon is a high school senior who is a part of the Youth Against Program (YAV) program at STAND! For Families Free of Violence. He is passionate about working toward eliminating stigma surrounding teen dating and domestic violence.