If you’ve been around social media and Netflix during the past month you’ve probably heard about 13 Reasons Why and the controversy surrounding it. In case you haven’t heard of it, let me just fill you in (spoiler alert!): 13 Reasons Why is the story about the high school student Hannah Baker who was driven to committing suicide due to a series of different reasons. Befor her death, she records thirteen different audio tapes explaining the whole story of why she committed suicide. She reveals every secret, every incident she experienced and calls out all the people who had something to do with her decision. She then gives them to a guy who makes sure that every person who is part of the story gets the tapes and hears why she killed herself.
Overall this series is very graphic and deals with a lot of different social issues. And ever since this series came out tons of organisations are talking about the controversy that is suicide and how they think especially young girls should not be watching this because it glorifies and romanticises suicide. And as someone who literally just finished watching the last episode, I would like to share my thoughts on this topic.
First of all I would like to say, yes I think the series is really graphic and yes I feel like young girls (as young as 10-12 years old) should not be watching this. But do I feel like it glorifies suicide? Certainly not. The topic of suicide is such a taboo in our society, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. In fact it’s said that every 16.2 minutes one person decides to take their live. Shocking isn’t it? Yet suicide is still a topic that’s just not talked about. Not much anyways. And since when has not talking about something made it better? Right, never!
Of course some of the scenes are very graphic but I don’t think it glorified suicide in any way. If anything I feel like it was super deterrent. And besides try seeing it that way – it’s very real! I personally think this series is super important. There are so many people who choose to end their lives this way, but we as a society choose to just not talk about it. So if this series get people talking and communicating with each other I feel like it has done everything it should. And besides, if you’ve read the book you’ll know that in the book Hannah kills herself with a whole lot of pills, so you can be certain that they made a choice and wanted to make sure that it didn’t look like and easy choice or a quick way out.
And looking beyond the topic of suicide this series covers much more that just suicide. The abuse of social media, bullying, slut shaming, rape and silencing victims are just a few of them. And all of these topics are super important. Because these things happen to people every day, girls and boys. I just recently watched a whole documentary about the rape culture in American colledges and they talked about incidents where a student who has been raped, were silenced by a school counselor just because the guy was an athlete who was important for the school. I mean seriously?
So I’m saying instead of bashing the series and saying it glorifies suicide, I feel like this series (or the book) should be a mandatory course or subject in any school. People, especially kids, can be cruel and the truth is they don’t care (or at least most of them don’t). Which is why I feel like that it’s our job as adults or teachers to talk about these things and explain how they can affect other people. I certainly wish there was someone when I was thirteen who told the people in my school how damaging it could be to treat me the way they did.
In situations like these we all like to hope for the best possible outcome – but more often than not that’s just not the case. Of course all of the people in this series misbehaved in ways that ended up to be extremely tragic and children might get the wrong idea, but that only happens if we choose to not talk about it. So if you happen to have a young sibling or cousin or friend who watches 13 Reasons Why don’t tell them to stop. Sit down with them and have a conversation. Allow them to ask any question they want and try to answer them to the best of your abilities. Let them be curious and try to use their curiousity for something good.
I would love for you guys to open a discussion and tell my if you’ve seen 13 Reasons Why and if so what you tought of it? Do you think it glorifies suicide? xo, Marie