13 reasons why ’13 Reasons Why’ is a dangerous, ignorant series

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13 Reasons Why has taken the Netflix world by storm. But it’s dangerous. Here are 13 points to consider.

This content is so, so dangerous if not handled well. And lets be clear: It has not been handled with any nous, emotional maturity, consideration or indeed intelligence at all. It’s one of the most ill considered things I have ever seen on a screen. And I’ve watched White Chicks.

1. Depression is not actually explored in the series at all.

It’s just open knowledge that bullying made someone depressed. Depression isn’t always a product of your environment. Its a condition that some people are susceptible to and it can manifest itself in many ways. Yes, it’s nice to know that 13 Reasons Why is spreading the “everyone should be nice message”, but honestly, it’s skipped through so many more important points.

2. It opens up the door for people to think that suicide is an option after being bullied or when you are feeling low.

I’ve met so many people who’ve been at that point in their lives when it was a strong consideration for them, only for them to be on top of the world a few years later. This isn’t to dismiss the pain they are feeling at the moment as it can sometimes be unbearable. But I wish 13 Reasons Why had put a message of “this too will pass” rather than skip straight to – I was bullied so I committed suicide. It just makes it more of an option in young peoples minds and works directly against teams like Beyond Blue and AreUOk?

13 Reason Why doesn’t actually explore depression at all. It’s a revenge story. Source: Netflix

3. Ironically, after committing suicide after being bullied, the tapes that Hannah Baker produced are, in themselves a form of bullying.

Bullying from the grave if you like. You only need to watch Clay’s face through half of the series to realise the pain he must be in. Rather than being a story of grievance and mental health awareness content, it actually is more like a tale of revenge, which is likely to make this idea acceptable to others who might be struggling.

4. A lot of the characters that made this “revenge” list were going through troubles of their own.

Sometimes people say stupid stuff, and sometimes it hurts other people. While Hannah was definitely suffering, this series ultimately comes down to finger pointing and guilt trips. And this is not okay. In fact, you could argue that Courtney Crimson was struggling every bit as much as Hannah too, and yet she’s on the list at fault for causing a suicide. It’s a bit hypocritical.

5. As touched on before, it doesn’t go into any of the nuances of depression or suicidal thoughts.

The tapes are entirely focussed on placing blame. It’s a bit twisted and the series doesn’t even mention the word depression.

Clay didn’t actually do a lot wrong. Punished for inaction and being a nervous, awkward teen. Source: Netflix

6. The suicide scene comes disturbingly close to a how to guide to suicide.

Given this series is marketed to teenagers who undoubtably are having trials and tribulations in their lives, it makes me scared stiff that they may try to replicate this, rather that trying to get help – which again is barely mentioned in the series. In fact, the counsellor becomes more of a detective than someone who offers any wisdom, experience or knowledge in this area. But, great, the counsellor can break up fights. Whoopdy fucking do. Brainless TV making and a horrendously graphic scene on a platform that is very hard to lock down from younger viewers.

7. This show is doing nothing for suicide prevention.

There’s nothing to learn here about how to help your own struggles. It’s really ill considered and had the potential to be something of substance.

8. 13 Reasons Why doesn’t offer any other way to deal with the problems that Hannah Baker goes through.

It certainly raises awareness of the angst our youths can go through these days, but apart from suicide it doesn’t give a lot of avenues. And the thing is, there are plenty available, which should have been a core point of the show. It’s irresponsibly handled its own primary concern.

Clay believes we are all bad people. Source: Netflix

9. It makes the suggestion, that through suicide, a sort of “justice” can be achieved through guilt.

Which is ridiculous, and I would hate for anyone in a similar situation to Hannah Baker to be thinking like this. The show actively promotes this whether it means to or not.

10. A lot of the bullying is through sexual judgments and perceptions, and not once is a point raised that actually nothing that Hannah had done sexually (or not) should be felt guilty about.

The fact that this bullying is shown and no alternative viewpoints are offered would make anyone watching the series feel like if they have had sexual experiences that they are opening themselves up to being bullied. It shouldn’t even be an issue so the show should have offered some other perspectives. Men and women of age are allowed to have sex.

11. The show could be accused of glorifying suicide.

The suicide scene is graphic and detailed. Source: Netflix

12. Clay is on the tapes because he didn’t act.

He’s a socially awkward teen who simply didn’t know what to do. Like most of us his age. So now the socially awkward teen who didn’t kiss the girl when he had the chance should now be bullied after his friend’s death? Did Clay cause manslaughter by not being confident enough to act romantically with a girl? No added pressure next time for teens going in for their first kiss now huh?

13. The strongest moral message coming through from 13 Reasons Why should have been that if you are struggling, then talk about it.

Instead we have a post suicide revenge story which verges on making suicide more trivial.

Naturally this is very, very subjective content and I am sure lots of people will have differing opinions. There are a lot of great things about the show. But the above really, really concerns me.

If you need some help, or just want to talk, please visit: Beyond Blue if you are an Australian reader or AreUOk? if you’re reading from elsewhere. They are both very, very good.

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