Is it 13 Reasons Why or Why Not? I told my girls I needed to watch this series. Both said to me, "no, Mom don't." With a bombardment of messages and questions to me on my opinion I needed to find out more. I've read numerous reviews and opinions with my conclusion that there is a love/hate relationship with the series.
The positive being this series is evoking a lot of conversation on mental health issues. The negative being the graphic nature, the lack of facts surrounding illness that usually is attached to death by suicide.
Personally, I've opted out to watch. If you've watched the series, I would love to know your thoughts.
Here is a blog that Maddie Woodrick wrote expressing her feelings on the topic.
If you own a netflix account or partake in different forms of social media such as facebook or twitter, you have probably heard of the television show known as 13 Reasons Why. This television series is the topic of conversation amongst not only its target demographic that consists of teenagers, but it is also the topic of conversation amongst various people. This is so because 13 Reasons Why is controversial, it is controversial in the best and the worst way. That is also why 13 Reasons Why is important. Whether viewers have been directly affected by suicide or not, this show is making you think about it. This show is making viewers question suicide and understand the effects it has on the victim's peers and family; regardless of anyone’s opinion on the show, it is creating conversation on an uncomfortable subject. But, I’m not saying the show is perfect because in my opinion, it is far from that.
At first, I was appalled by this show. I was appalled because the main character named Hannah, blamed people for her own death and that killing herself, was her revenge towards them. I was appalled because as someone who has been directly affected by suicide and mental health, the creators of this show were depicting suicide as a reasonable choice; a choice that was meant to simply spite a group of immature teenagers. I was also upset with the creators portrayal on this subject because it made suicide seem like a game. An endless game Hannah had created that consumed her peers with guilt, she created a game that left them equally as unhappy as she was. As a result, one of the teenagers Hannah blamed for suicide ended up killing himself as well. Suicide is not a game and it is especially not a game that consists of blame. People who attempt to kill themselves, often believe there is nothing left for them in this world and that their family and friends will be better without them. I’m not saying that Hannah didn’t feel this way, I am saying that the creators of this show did a poor job of demonstrating the crucial aspects of suicide that involve mental health and so forth.
Even though I could elaborate on the areas of this show that were done poorly, I can’t help but admire some aspects of it. Other than addressing and creating conversation about suicide, 13 Reasons Why also addresses aspects within our society that continue to be perceived with a negative connotation. I am talking about rape. Not only is there a stigma associated with mental health and suicide, but there is also a stigma that is associated with being raped. One of the reasons that led Hannah to take her own life was because she was raped, and because she had accidentally witnessed a girl get raped from the same guy. Even though those scenes during the show were graphic, they’re graphic because they need to be. I admire that the creators of 13 Reasons Why did not shy away from the harsh and ugly realities of not only the act of itself, but the detrimental effects that victims of rape must face everyday.
The scenes that involve rape are not the only scenes that are immensely graphic. I was surprised to see that the creators also did not shy away from showing Hannah commit suicide and the scenes that followed such as her parents finding her. I believe I can speak on behalf of anyone who has not only watched the television show, but has also been affected by suicide by saying: it was powerful. I immediately thought of not only my mom, but the countless other families or friends that have had to walk in and discover such an horrific sight. Although I disagree with many aspects of 13 Reasons why, I hope people who have watched the show will have gained a perspective on what it is like to lose someone that way. I hope people who have watched the show will no longer look at people like my mom with shame or sympathy, but with empathy. I believe that is the first step in ending the stigma that is associated with not only suicide, but with mental health as a whole.