5 things wrong with 13 reasons why
While the media has been raving about the new Netflix series 13 Reasons Why, co-produced by Disney star Selena Gomez and her mother, and urging people to watch the series, making it the most watch series on Netflix, one can’t ignore all of the factors that the series gets wrong.
Now, I’ve watched the series twice. My first time watching was mainly out of curiosity, I wanted to know what all the buzz was about and like any other viewer, my first thoughts were that everyone must watch this series. But when I decided to re-watch the entire series, my whole point of view was completely flipped. I started picking up bits that didn’t quite make sense or were ethically or logically wrong.
So here are 5 the thing that I think are wrong with the series:
- The Tapes
What happened to Hannah was awful, we admit that, what happened to her was horrible. No one should be subject to the kind of mental and physical trauma she goes through. She was objectified, sexualized and raped, all of which led to her breaking down mentally and eventually suicide. But how justified is leaving behind a stack of tapes to name everyone and everything that led to her suicide? It comes out as a rather vindictive game.
She got bullied and battered, Hannah Baker was tossed and traumatized in ways that left her scars but what she did in return is not seek help but record 13 tapes and bully back the people who hurt her. Some of them deserved it, yes, Bryce and Tyler deserved to be named because what they did to her were both crimes, rape and invading her privacy. But did the others such as Jessica, Alex, Zach or even Clay deserve to be on the same series of tapes as a stalker and rapist?
Another thing that bothered me was how there were only tapes for people who hurt Hannah (except for Clay, of course). How Hannah didn’t leave behind any kind of closure for her parents is kind of bizarre on her part. So the people who are allegedly the reasons why she took her life deserve the closure they got from these tapes but not her parents who are struggling each day to find out exactly what led to their daughter to taking such a step.
- Hannah’s Mental health
While the show’s producers proudly endorse that they wanted to bring up mental issues, they failed to actually explain or discuss Hannah’s mental health. It was clear that she was traumatized by everything that had happened to her but never once was her mental state talked about to brought up which is important because a bad state of mental health is what eventually lead to her suicide.
The fact that the series misses a great opportunity of bringing into light or talking about depression or anxiety in an open form, or promoting how seeking help is important for these mental states is deeply saddening.
- The Graphic Suicide
We get it, the show’s director wanted Hannah’s death to be graphic so that it impacts the watcher but was it necessary to actually show someone picking up a blade, slitting their wrists and bleeding to death? While it’s important that real world bullies learn a lesson from it, what about those who already struggle with suicidal tendencies and depression?
Honestly, the whole series and especially Hannah’s suicide scene can be extremely triggering for those with poor mental health as it as. I would personally warn anyone going through any kind of mental trauma to not watch the series as it can deeply affect them and bring to surface the issues they’re trying to get past.
- The Glorification and Romanticization
To be honest, everything from Hannah recording those 13 tapes and leaving them behind for her alleged reasons for suicide to hear to her very graphic suicide screamed glorification of one’s mental distress. In the book by Jay Asher, Hannah overdoses on sleeping pills which is way less dramatic but the producers chose to replace it with slitting of the wrists and bleeding to death in a bathtub just to garner some shock value.
It almost seems like the suicide and the tapes all together gave Hannah some kind of control or power. It’s only after she commits suicide and leaves those tapes behind that everyone gets her point and finally respects her, she finally becomes relevant, which gives out a an extremely wrong message to the viewers if you ask me. It’s like proving that making sure the people who hurt feel extreme guilt and shame is worth taking your own life.
On the other hand, making it seem like the suicide could be prevented if only Clay Jensen had admitted his love for her when she was alive with complete romanticisation of the act of suicide. By the time Clay listens to his tape, he’s forced to believe that he’s one of the reason Hannah died, that she dies because he couldn’t love her. The truth is that love can’t save lives. Nothing could’ve prevented her from taking her life but herself, and her will to work toward leading a positive life.
- What Hannah Didn’t Do
We know what Hannah did, she ended her life because she was hurt in unimaginable ways but we can’t ignore the one simple thing she didn’t do; try. When her friendship with Jessica and Alex fell apart, she didn’t try to talk to them or put their friendship together. When she found out that Tyler has been stalking her and secretly taking her pictures, she didn’t even try to report him or take any action against him. When she realized she loved Clay, she didn’t try to tell him. When Bryce raped Jessica, she didn’t try to stop him or confront Jessica about it while she was alive. When Bryce raped her, she froze, while that’s something one might end up doing because of severe trauma but that’s what she would’ve learnt from the time Jessica got raped, she should’ve tried to fight her way out of it.
In actuality, there’s never anyone to blame for suicide. Hannah Baker didn’t die because of the 13 people she put on the tapes, she died because she couldn’t try to save herself.