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From ‘Elite’ to ‘Euphoria’: adolescent sexualities, relationships, feelings and concerns

_Euphoria_ (HBO, 2019). What series do teens watch on Netflix? What are these series about? Do they talk about sex? Of drugs? From alcohol consumption? These are some of the questions that many parents ask themselves in the current media ecosystem in which we live. With the arrival of platforms such as HBO, Amazon Prime Video or YouTube, among others, we have been able to observe how the forms, devices and spaces of media consumption have diversified and modified. Consumption has moved from the living room of the house to other more intimate spaces such as the bedrooms and even the bathroom. Also to public spaces. In fact, it is not difficult to find teenagers watching a series on the subway or watching YouTube videos with their friends while spending time in a park. For its part, the television has been replaced by other devices, such as mobile or laptop, and other platforms. The small screen of the mobile phone is not an obstacle for adolescents and, in return, allows them an individual and personalized consumption, through video on demand platforms (we will talk later about algorithms and the importance of the user ). The transition to adult life and representation All these changes, in some way, generate uncertainty and questions, such as those discussed above, among fathers and mothers. Again, what do sons and daughters see on video platforms? In his latest book, Joan Ferrés points out that “screens, like mirrors, only have value insofar as they reflect the person who interacts with them”. That is, they only make sense to the interlocutor when he is represented in them. It is logical, therefore, to think that adolescents are looking for youth products that speak to them about themselves and this necessarily implies talking about the transition to adult life and the search for the ‘I’. These are series, films and videos where the first experiences in the love and sexual sphere are reflected, but also relationships with friends and parents, the consumption of alcohol and other substances, the use of social networks, etc. . So, answering the questions that started this article: yes, these series talk about sex, drugs and, also, much more … For 13 reasons: suicide and rape culture The plot of the series For thirteen reasons (Netflix ), for example, revolves around the suicide of a teenage girl and, through listening to 13 tapes and the flashback resource, we will get to know this girl and her day-to-day life at an institute in the United States. A routine where micromachismo and bullying will stand out. It should be noted that For Thirteen Reasons it has not escaped controversy. In fact, the press echoed some concern about the possible incitement to suicide that the series could promote among vulnerable adolescents and young people. On the other hand, there has also been a discussion about the culture of rape that can reinforce the series through the blaming of the victims. Debates that, in one way or another, lead us to talk about adolescent suicide and depression, the culture of rape and re-victimization of women who have suffered rape, among others. Elite: risks and marginality The Spanish audience success series Elite (Netflix) is also an interesting example in this regard. Elite tells us about corruption, xenophobia, homosexuality, social class and marginality. And he does it in a complex and risky way, both in terms of thematic treatment and staging and aesthetics. It presents us with a youthful suspense thriller with touches of film noir (it is inevitable not to highlight the interesting construction of the adolescent femme fatal of Carla’s character) that manages to immerse and hook the viewer in the narrative. Perhaps the most interesting point is the series’ attempt to destigmatize a disease still closely linked to marginality, HIV. And he does it through Marina, a heterosexual, upper-class teenage girl. Elite (Netflix, 2018). Euphoria, sex and drugs Finally, it would be impossible not to talk about one of the adolescent series that has caused the most stir: Euphoria (HBO). It is, surely, one of the series that can most scare or scandalize parents, but that can help us to work and understand current concerns of adolescence. Euphoria presents the conflicts and problems experienced by a group of teenagers from the USA. Through its protagonists, it tells us about adolescent anguish and depression, drug use, gender violence, acceptance of one’s own body, stigma attached to the loss of virginity, consumption of porn, etc. He does all of this by introducing us to new masculinities and feminities and, surely the most interesting point of the series, with the experiences of a transgender teenager: Jules. With a fast aesthetic, in continuous movement, dynamic and colorful that seems to want to represent the stress and transfer that growth can entail, ceasing to be a child, Euphoria speaks to us about topics that, until now, were difficult to find in a adolescent narrative. The success of teenage themes As we can see, Netflix or HBO, along with other platforms, offer teenagers multiple youth products. And many of these, like the series discussed here, have had great audience and critical success (but have also sparked controversy). This is not new. More than a decade ago, the Physics or Chemistry series (Antena 3) was already defined as an “adolescent phenomenon”. And just a few days ago we were able to witness the importance it had for a whole generation, since FoQ: the Reunion has once again been a hit with the audience 12 years after the broadcast of its first season. The role that these series have for adolescents is important. These are youth products featuring adolescent characters who present the interests and concerns of young people. Therefore, knowing the audiovisual products they see also means getting to know them, understanding a little more their concerns and their worlds. For this reason, it can be interesting to be participants in these experiences. It may be difficult, but it would be interesting to overcome individualized media consumption and try to promote a collective viewing experience (fathers and mothers with sons and daughters, for example). This can help us to get closer to the adolescent world and its concerns, through debates and conversations that awaken the narratives of the series themselves. And if not, at the very least, it will serve to share family entertainment time.This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original. Maria-Jose Masanet does not receive a salary, nor does she work as a consultant, nor does she own shares, nor does she receive financing from any company or organization that can benefit from this article, and she has declared that she lacks relevant links beyond the academic position cited.

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