A nonpartisan media watchdog is raising concerns over the growing rate of sexualized content geared towards young audiences.
Parents Television and Media Council (PTC) has just released new research that describes a "disturbing" increase in sexualized TV, movie, and streaming content that is geared towards younger viewers. It cited the HBO series "Euphoria" as an example, arguing that the show's first couple of episodes in its new season feature fully nude images of over 30 high school aged boys.
According to the Christian Post, the report found that the HBO show "Euphoria" depicted an adult male "putting a condom on his erect penis as he prepares to engage in anal sex with a teenager," as well as a high school teenager "offering to perform oral sex on an adult male." The show also featured over 80 uses of the "F-word and other obscenities," the media watchdog group reported.
Hidden Remote reported that the HBO series is rated R for mature audiences, while IMDB lists it as TV-MA, which means it is only intended for mature audiences and therefore is unsuitable for audiences 17 years old and below. In fact, the show's star Zendaya took to Twitter in January to remind audiences, "Euphoria is for mature audiences. This season, maybe even more so than the last, is deeply emotional and deals with subject matter that can be triggering and difficult to watch."
Given the rated R rating, it is no surprise that the PTC found that "Euphoria" "frequently" depicts adult and teen characters engaged in sex. The problem, however, is that it also includes statutory rape and "normalizes pornography" as industry reports suggest that the HBO series is the "youngest-skewing drama series on the streaming platform, the PTC warned. Back in 2019, the PTC denounced the show for "overtly, intentionally, marketing extremely graphic adult content," including sex, violence, profanity and drug use.
PTC President Tim Winter highlighted how the show's creator, Sam Levinson initially promoted the HBO show by saying, "Parents are going to be f-ing freaking out."
"[Levinson] heralded how many penises he was able to put into one scene. This seemed to be a rite of passage for this guy," Winter told CP. "It really seems to be now shock value. Where's the entertainment integrity? Where's the storytelling?"
Winter also rejected the notion that the trend of showing such scenes was a response to the #MeToo movement in Hollywood, where people fought back against sexual mistreatment of women throughout the decades.
Winter questioned why the solution to "longstanding grotesque sexualization of women" was to "escalate its sexualization of men," describing it as "laughable if it wasn't so tragic." Away from the HBO series, PTC is also finding that mainstream platforms like DirecTV are "increasingly featuring sexually explicit references in movie titles that are viewable by anyone."
Winter warned, "We are reaching a tipping point, and it has severe consequences." These consequences are evident in research from Thorn that revealed how children as young as nine are now increasingly posting nude photos of themselves on the internet or sharing them with their peers.