There are a lot of people hating on the series ‘13 Reasons Why‘ on my feed at the moment, and I’m not sure why.
In case you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t heard of ’13 Reasons Why’ yet, the series tackles various sensitive subjects. The main topic that the series revolves around, though, is the death of Hannah Baker. Hannah Baker kills herself by slashing her wrists with razorblades and bleeding out in a bathtub. Suicide aside, the series also tackles the topics of bullying, homosexuality, drunk driving and rape.
From what I’ve gathered from the comments on my feed, some people hate the series because it might give kids ideas. Others think that it mocks depression by failing to touch on it properly. Still others think that it’s a shallow portrayal of suicidal tendencies. I disagree on all counts, though.
If you watch ’13 Reasons Why’ from beginning to end, you will see that it doesn’t glorify suicide in any way. It doesn’t tell people that “suicide is beautiful” nor will it make you want to take your own life just because Hannah did it. On the contrary, it actually touches on the pain of the people that Hannah left, like Clay and her parents, and how affected people tend to be by the loss of a loved one.
On one of the downest points in my life, I remember telling someone that I wanted to kill myself because I felt like everyone in my life would be better off without me. That someone reminded me of all of the beautiful things that I should live for and all of the wonderful people that I would let down and leave behind. I remember him telling me that “suicide would be selfish” and interestingly enough, that’s exactly how I felt after learning more about Hannah’s decision and watching Clay and her parents struggle throughout the series.
Also, a lot of beautiful movies have already tackled attempted suicide (‘Girl, Interrupted’) and actual suicide (‘The Virgin Suicides’) and I don’t remember people ever bashing those movies this much. Shouldn’t we be glad that people are finally talking about this? Shouldn’t we be glad that the youth is taking an interest in a series that talks about so many real issues that they might face in the world? Why all the hate?
I didn’t think it was a shallow portrayal, either. In fact, I found it all to be on point. From the thoughts that she had to the little events that eventually all piled up to the overthinking to the conversations that she had, didn’t have and wish she had; it all hit close to home.
Then again, these are all just some personal thoughts on a show that I personally deem to be relatable. Coming from someone who has thought of killing herself more than once during her lifetime, ’13 Reasons Why’ made me feel understood. It made me feel like I wasn’t shallow or stupid. It was dark and heavy and graphic at points, yes; but if it wasn’t, people wouldn’t be discussing it so much – and discussions on these topics is exactly what I feel we need right now.
Aside from that, ’13 Reasons Why’ serves as a great example to show people what should be done. It shows schools how important it is to have some sort of anti-bullying campaign in place. It shows teachers to care more about the students who seek for their help. It shows parents to listen to their children better. It shows bullies how important it is to be kinder. It shows people with suicidal tendencies that other people will be affected and damaged by the loss, even if it seems like they don’t care.
Most importantly, it reminds people to listen – really listen… and really be there. It’s easy to brush off someone who seems ’emo’ or ‘desperate for attention’. When someone posts a sad Facebook status, you’ll be surprised what wonders a simple private message that says “You okay?” can do. Be there. The world needs more people who give a shit.