Caution: This post is rated R for the use of derogatory terms and profanity.
There was a lot of good and bad buzz about the Netflix series, “13 Reasons Why.” There is no denying that it was a popular show, at least one of every 3 people I talked to had watched it. The argument throughout the negative buzz is that the show is dangerous. Mark Henick, a writer for CNN explains in his article “Why ’13 Reasons Why’ is Dangerous.”
I am going to have to disagree with ya, Mark.
As entertaining as this show was, entertainment was not the main goal of it’s production. The show was created to open the eyes of adolescents to something very real. It strives to push the point that you may never know what is going on in someones life and how something you consider a small joke can be the breaking point for someone who is on the ledge. Bullying is real and the situations that the main character, Hannah Baker, faces in high school are accurately displayed and extremely damaging. I myself could relate to some of the situations she had to push through to get through each day of high school. Gossip, rumors, degradation are all very REAL and prevalent in high school. Rumors of untruth are hard to face, how do you face the school day when untrue rumors are going around the halls about you losing your virginity, or when boys yell, “nice ass,” in front of their friends and say you have “DSL‘s?”
When your small world revolves around high school because that is where you spend your days, how can an adolescent mind think of the bigger picture when they feel trapped in this world? Do you remember high school? I know at the time we thought that everything in high school mattered: how popular you were, how many parties you went to, what you wore, who your boyfriend or girlfriend was. These were the important things in most high schoolers lives. My sister for example, she is 17 and I don’t think she knows a world exists outside of hers, her existence only matters in school. Not all adolescents are like this, but it IS common.
Mark’s argument is that the show is too explicit in the way it shows the actual act of suicide. I completely disagree, why not show the truth? I will admit that it was a chilling and difficult scene to watch, however, I do feel like the show hit that point of empathy for me. I felt her pain. They showed her fill a bathtub, sit in it and cut each of her wrists while sobbing. Another argument that has been made is that the show, “glamorizes,” suicide. How can that be true with a scene as real as the one shown in the show? It was terrifying, I even said outlaid, “I could never do that.” I can’t imagine a persons frame of mind to watch that scene and think to themselves, “Oh, that’s a good idea.”
Another claim in the buzz is that teenage suicide is, “contagious.” Well that claim is stupid, not supported, and in my opinion, offensive. I have known families that have dealt with suicide, I have had friends of friends commit suicide, I have known spouses left behind due to suicide – none of which are connected and none of which resulted in more suicide. The last thing that the people surrounding suicide is thinking is thoughts of suicide, that’s not to say that they aren’t experiencing deep pain and even depression but that is not considered a “contagion,” of suicide in my opinion.
In conclusion, I disagree with Mark and I disagree with all the negative buzz. This show was well thought out and entertaining enough to keep the viewer listening long enough to understand the point behind it. However, I will say that I wouldn’t suggest any children under the age of 15 watch this show.