A Quick Thought: We Were All Maddy Once.
TW: Domestic violence
Cards of the table, I’m a queer writer who writes about the intersections of queerness and blackness, but I am also a fan of Euphoria and a massive fan of Maddy Perez.
Much has been said about Euphoria. About fashion, the makeup, the music, you name it. Not a single part of this show hasn’t been picked apart by its millions of fans. But the conversation that keeps being brought up the most is how unrealistic the show is. From the outfits to the absurd amounts of sex and nudity on screen, this show is unrealistic.
Except when it comes to one thing. Kinda.
In the midst of one man’s writing being painfully ridiculous in places (seriously how many times does Maddy have to say the r-slur?), he ended up displaying one of the most gut-wrenching depictions of the kinds of violence that women of color get inflicted upon them from cis straight white men from their quest to be seen as “real white men”.
While last season showed a domestic violence incident between her and Nate at the carnival, there is no doubt after this season that the moment she found out about Cassie sleeping with her ex (and open sociopath) Nate that her Moment was coming. The way that Cassie’s mother referred to Maddy as “an animal” for having a very normal reaction to finding out her best friend was screwing with her ex in episode 5 of this season confirmed it for me.
Let me explain.
I have yet to meet a woman of color who grew up in the suburbs or other majority-white spaces that haven’t dealt with the violence and negligence that comes with predominantly white spaces. From the men who view our bodies as experiments or outright ugly to the women viewing our bodies as competition and our very presence as a threat.
Every single one of them can detail the moment the script flipped on us. For black folks, it was our Black Moment. When we realized how violent white society can be to us. There are little microaggressions here and there, people touching our hair and calling us exotic, but then there’s the Moment. The Moment is a time of acute psychological and/or physical harm that is inflicted upon us by white society that tells us that no matter how we act or behave, we are the other. And the other can be destroyed by whites for whatever reason, whenever and however they so choose.
There’s a warning shot given before we experience the moment. The warning shot is an act of racial violence (sometimes combined with other forms of bigotry) that comes our way, but by then we were entrenched. We’d heard of this violence, but we believe that things will be different, that what happened was the worst of it. We might’ve even believed that we were different. For Maddy, it was last season at the carnival when Nate brutally attacked her and when she got confirmation that Cassie was sleeping with Nate.
But when she was held at gunpoint? That was her Moment.
Usually, shows will give their characters of color trauma and then leave them in the lurch or boot them off the show (a tradition that Euphoria continued with McKay). Thankfully, the show prepared for this with Maddy, by giving her a mentor figure in the Samantha, woman she babysits for. It’s no secret that Maddy aspires to be a wealthy woman who doesn’t do much of anything besides looking pretty, which is fine. My hope for Maddy is that this is the moment that she finally wakes up to what she truly wants outside of men so that when a man comes into the picture he won’t be abusive.