By: Alayna Smith
As a very base rule to protect minors and keep our youth safe, it is illegal to produce or consume any media where a person who is under 18 is involved in a sexual act. However, in direct contrast to these laws, it is perfectly fine for someone to pretend to be a minor and do the same sexual acts with no repercussions to them or the producers. In fact, explicit scenes featuring characters who are teenagers is a tactic used to make public television more interesting in shows, such as Euphoria and The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.
The target audience with explicit scenes, according to television guidelines, is not meant for minors, so this means that overtly sexual teenage characters are meant for adult viewing. While it is unrealistic to act as if teenagers would never do something like that, it is unnecessary to glorify it in front of an audience that it should barely apply to.
Granted, the rating of a TV show has never stopped young people from finding ways to access it. If sexual acts with teenagers are painted in such an intriguing way, it is inevitably more appealing to people in the age group, even if it is illegal or under no circumstances okay in the real world. For example Kat in the popular show Euphoria creates an account on an adult video website despite being only 17 to stream explicit sexual content. She also goes on to engage in sexual activities with strangers and adults to gain confidence in herself and her bodytype, a character arc suggesting to teens with similar body image issues that this is what they need to do to be liked. The mindset that shows like this introduce to teenagers surrounding sex is sickening.
Scenes depicting such “taboo” things (like teenagers engaged in sexual activity) are often meant to intrigue new audience members with something other than the storyline. The fact that so much graphic nudity is shown in so many films implies that they are meant to appeal to the audience member’s sexual nature even though the characters are minors. People are drawn to things they cannot have.
But it’s okay because the actors aren’t really minors, right? Portraying teenagers engaging in explicit sexual activity so obviously sexualizes them. People naturally see things done on TV and use that to validate real life actions. Public TV shows constantly depicting teenage sex scenes normalizes it.
As a teenage girl, it is disgusting to think that adults might believe that I would do the things portrayed on screen. It is disgusting to know that the association is there. And it is terrifying to know that they are justifying their actions to the point of normalcy because they saw it on TV.