Today, I wanted to write about the ever so popular show, 13 Reasons Why, and why I wasn’t the show’s biggest fan. Enjoy!
Yesterday, I finally finished binge-watching 13 Reasons Why. Beforehand, I heard so many great things about the show. All my co-workers, friends and social media were practically exploding over the show. Now, I’m not the one to watch the show everyone else is watching but I decided to give this show a shot. I wanted to see what all the talk was about. And let me just say that it wasn’t as amusing as everyone made it out to be.
I found many issues with the show. Some things had to do with characters, others with plot and others with the way it was written/directed. For the sake of this post, I’m going to talk about the major issues I had as I watched the series.
For those of you that are not familiar, 13 Reasons Why features Hannah Baker, a teenage girl who commits suicide. Hannah leaves behind 13 tapes stating the 13 reasons that led her to take her own life. Each tape features a certain person in her life whose actions Hannah feels led to her death. Since Hannah is already dead, the story is told from her friend’s, Clay Jensen, point of view. The story starts with Clay receiving the tapes and processing every reason why Hannah killed herself. The show features graphic scenes and mature content as they talk about rape, suicide, self-harm, bullying, and underage drinking and drugs.
- The biggest issue I found with 13 Reasons Why is how suicide is portrayed. The show makes it seem as if Hannah Baker is only important because she committed suicide. It romanticizes her suicide and makes it seem ‘cool.’ Hannah is only remembered because she committed suicide. This sends a terrifying message to teenagers going through the same thing Hannah went through: the way to popularity is to kill yourself. Not the message we want struggling teenagers to get.
- Another issue I found with her suicide was the fact that it was a ‘revenge’ suicide. I absolutely hated this. Suicide was how Hannah got revenge for how the bullies treated her. That’s not a message teenagers should be receiving. The tapes were meant to mentally destroy the bullies to get revenge for everything they did to her. Unfortunately, the idea of suicide as ‘revenge’ is already in many suicidal teen’s minds and it should not be glorified.
- The other issue I had with her suicide is the fact that the show does not give Hannah any other option. It seems that Hannah’s only option to stop the pain and suffering is to kill herself. She talks to her counselor which ends up being no help at all, she doesn’t have any friends to rely on and she doesn’t even attempt to talk to her parents. Suicide is Hannah’s only option. This is a scary message to send to teens who may feel the same way. They watch this and reaffirm what they (mistakenly) believe: that there is no way out of pain other than to end your life.
- The last issue I found with the show was the graphic nature behind it. Hannah’s suicide scene is extremely graphic. The girl takes a blade, slices her wrist, and sits in the bathtub until she bleeds to death. The scene is very graphic and can certainly trigger an already suicidal teen. The rape scenes in the show are just as graphic and can also lead to major triggers for rape victims.
Overall, I found 13 Reasons Why to be more hurtful than helpful. I understand that the show was meant to open up audience’s eyes about these issues however, they failed in doing so. While I do think it’s a good start to opening society’s eyes, the show really needs some major improvements on how they go about portraying these sensitive topics. What do you think of the show? Did you enjoy it? Did you find it helpful? Leave your comments and opinions down below. Thank you!