The student voice of Perry High School

The Precedent

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13 reasons why not to watch ’13 Reasons Why’

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On Mar. 31, 2017, Netflix released a show called 13 Reasons Why based off the novel by Jay Asher. The show detailed the life of a teenage girl named Hannah Baker who was driven to suicide after a year of being harassed verbally, sexually, and physically. Before she dies however, Baker takes the time to record 13 reasons why she killed herself. The show made an attempt to address many controversial issues, but fell short in many arenas.

  1. The character of Hannah Baker was selfish. She had people who were there for her. People who were willing to help her through her issues but yet she insisted she was alone.
  2. She pushed these people who cared away and blamed them for staying away. Everyone around Hannah made attempts to get close to her, but these efforts were met with fierce resistance. People cannot read minds.
  3. She left no explanation for her parents. The tapes were a secret, and as those were considered “her note,” her parents were completely in the dark in regards to why their daughter took her own life.  
  4. She blamed people for being imperfect. One example of this is Justin’s tape when she expected him to stop Bryce. Yes, Justin could have done something, but he was drunk and scared. She was drunk and scared too and, did the same thing as Justin: nothing.
  5. The fact that she recorded the tapes in the first place. The tapes were designed to hurt people. Rather than confronting people about her issues, she sadistically records herself repeating their bad decisions and forced them to listen.
  6. Hannah killed herself to hurt others, not to end her own pain. It’s extremely rare for those struggling with depression to kill themselves for other people; it is a personal decision.
  7. The counselor’s part in her suicide. He was ready to listen and help her, but she pushed him away when he started asking questions. Granted some of those questions need to be struck from the list when questioning a rape victim, but he did the best he could.
  8. If the producers were attempting to make a valid argument for mental illness, they completely missed the mark. Hannah Baker did not have depression because that is not what depression looks like. Depression is constantly fighting this uncontrollable battle in your head; not what Hannah was dealing with.
  9. This show attacked those who actually suffer from depression. By simplifying the illness into a concept that can be cured with popularity and boyfriends, they successfully discounted the real struggles that come with depression.
  10. If they were trying to portray Hannah as depressed, they need to drop the concept of Clay trying to “love her back to life.” As painful as it is to read, love cannot cure chronic depression. Medicine, therapy, and time are the only things that can do that.
  11. The suicide scene was shown. It was graphic. It was far too intense. And it was highly unnecessary.
  12. They portrayed suicide as an option and suicide is never an option. It is a permanent response to a temporary problem. This show has been connected to a number of teen suicides across America. Any show that can drive people to suicide, is creating more problems than it is solving.
  13. Though this show had many faults and flaws, the one redeeming quality it had was the message of widespread kindness. Everyone is fighting their own wars, so the best thing you can be in this chaotic world is kind.   
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The student voice of Perry High School
13 reasons why not to watch ’13 Reasons Why’