13 Reasons Why

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13 Reasons Why

Sidney Patterson, Staff Writer

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Hey, it’s Hannah, Hannah Baker.

No, not really, but if you’re one of two readers you either understand the reference, or have read enough articles that you’re going to cave from curiosity and watch the show, then that phrase will make more sense. We’re talking about the Netflix Original Series 13 Reasons Why. Is it a good way to shine light on a growing problem? Or is it illuminating the theme of killing yourself when life gets hard?

Incase you didn’t know already, the plot of the show surrounds a teenage girl named Hannah Baker, whom of which after transferring to a new school undertakes a great deal of bullying in almost every form. Each hurtful occurrence is retold by Hannah through a series of audio tapes that is passed down to select students. It is here where she also addresses the person most heavily responsible for each incident, and why it contributed to her decision to inevitably kill herself in the last episode. The story follows Clay Jensen, a mutual friend and coworker to Hannah who is amongst the 13 people who “killed” Hannah Baker.

After watching the show, many people stormed social media saying the show “glorified” or “romanticised” suicide, but, did it? I can understand young viewers maybe seeing it and thinking suicide is an easy source of attention, can you blame them? Hannah Baker’s character went mostly unnoticed throughout the course of the show and stayed that way until she died. 13 Reasons Why presents sensitive content through the eyes of a teenager, therefore it’s not going to be as family friendly as a high school health textbook. Moreover, the content is provided in an exaggeration, it’s supposed to be dramatic, it’s a show.

I entirely agree that this show can be dangerous to certain audiences, but to be frank, it’s rated for mature audiences, not children, maybe not even young adults unless they’ve been properly educated on suicide and it’s effects. In my opinion, the show completely turned off suicide. To watch people deteriorate physically and mentally over a death they may or may not have been partially responsible for isn’t “glory” in my mind, nor do I think it would be to a lot of people. Hannah’s intentions may not have been rueful, but parts of the show make it seem that way.

The writers of the show knew what they were doing, and with a topic like suicide and the events leading up to it, it left many uncomfortable. 13 Reasons Why broke through boundaries and shown light on subjects we all know to be true, yet divert attention from to avoid uncomfortable conversations.

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