My Take On ’13 Reasons Why’

I decided to finally watch the anticipated Netflix series 13 Reasons Why which aired on March 31st. I remember reading the book a few years ago and enjoying it.

Now I realize, I was enjoying it for the wrong reasons.

News was circling around how graphic the show was and I was curious if I remember the book at all. After watching all thirteen episodes, I understood what everyone was saying and many questions starting with:

What was the creators of the show’s target audience? Did they really take account the sensitivity of the topics?

The Star Tribune and countless other media outlets said it best:

The much-talked about death scene brazenly ignores the American Association of Suicidology’s guidelines for how the media should safely and effectively discuss suicide. Experts in the field of suicide prevention — including people who survived their own attempts or lost a loved one to suicide — came together to say: This is the right way to address suicide in the media. The producers of “13 Reasons Why” responded with, no thanks, we’ve got our own ideas.

I  watched the final episode and cried my eyes out. It was painful to watch and it left me mentally and emotionally exhausted. Personally, it took me a few days to watch the show because it was just a lot to take in at once.

Aside from the graphic suicide and multiple rapes, I found this show to be a wake-up call to a new target audience. However, I found most people cared about the ‘romance’ and the idea of the tapes.

So let me spell it out for you:

13 Reasons Why isn’t a love story.

13 Reasons Why isn’t a meme.

Many individuals have gone through depression. Many individuals have taken their own lives and yet people want to focus on the ‘chemistry’ between Clay and Hannah or treat this series as Pretty Little Liars.

If you’re confused about what you should learn, here are six themes that left an impression on me:

  • The Graphic Depiction Of Sexual Assault/Rape
    Episode 9 and beyond was hard to watch. I’ve never seen a sexual assault depiction on television before. It made my stomach churn and there was a few times I just had to look away.
    According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center:
    – One in five women and one in 71 men will be raped at some point in their lives.
    – 63% of sexual assaults are not reported to police.
    – Rape is the most under-reported crime.
    The fact that people like Bryce exist, where they don’t know the difference between consent and rape, angers me.
  • Representation Of White Privilege
    Bryce is the number one example of white privilege. He’s a rich athlete who believes he can do anything he wants. I couldn’t understand why the group would stand behind someone who repeatedly raped women and got away with it.
  • The Importance Of Mental Health
    I can’t stress enough how important mental health awareness is. Hannah Baker was struggling. Most of the characters on the series showed signs of negative mental health. 13 Reasons Why is important for individuals to know there’s outlets they can depend on. Whether it’s a hotline or journaling, there is a way for you to gain positive mental health.

    Here are some things to keep in mind created by National Alliance on Mental Illness:

    Screen Shot 2017-04-18 at 9.04.37 PM

  • Who Are Your Actual Friends
    I’ve written a blog post before about my take on friends and this series proved how important it is, especially for younger people, to figure out who’s a friend and who’s not. These characters were the worst characters for any one to ever come across. They shouldn’t be trusted. Period.
  • Say No To Bullying. No, Seriously. 
    It’s no surprise that bullying exists and bullying can be the cause of depression, suicides and more. It’s even more prominent now with the internet being an easy access for anonymous people, viral views and more negativity promotion. This isn’t the first show to touch upon it and it isn’t the last, so why is the number still increasing?
  • Social Perceptions
    I’ve mentioned how I despise practically every character in the series. I agree some characters dealt with worst hardships then others (Jessica deserved better), but that doesn’t excuse how most of them were just TERRIBLE PEOPLE and yet they cared more about what others thought about them then how they treated Hannah. A. Girl. Killed. Herself. and yes, it was ultimately her decision to take her life, but each person had a role in her reaching point. So people like Tyler, Marcus, Justin and Bryce I don’t excuse them. Not. At. All.

    So did I like the series? Yes. Should it have another season? No.

    I believe the story was told and we shouldn’t focus on other individuals because it would take away the importance of the major themes portrayed on the show.

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