SPOILER ALERT—Read at your own discretion.
I’m in the middle of season one of 13 Reasons Why on Netflix and I find myself constantly asking questions. I read a post just last night in which the writer wondered whether the show was romanticizing or glamorizing suicide. There are many instances in the show that I’ve found myself wondering just that.
The main problem is that most people who kill themselves, like 99.9 percent of those people, are not going to leave tapes behind with commentary, a map with marked locations, and cause even more drama after death. Many people don’t even leave a note. There is really no way to tell why these people killed themselves unless the people they loved paid attention to the very obvious signs.
This show turns suicide into drama in a way that’s both wrong and intriguing. For me, so far, and I haven’t gotten to the biggest reason why Hannah killed herself, it seems like the show both gets it and misses the mark. One thing I really like about this series is that it talks about what it’s like to be a girl in high school. It’s so easy to become ‘the whore’ and literally everything is about who is sleeping with who. Your body is violated and everyone treats it as if it’s a normal human experience not realizing the impact it has on the victim. This is something I feel like even the greatest writer would never be able to convey to people who have never been sexually assaulted. It’s kind of like explaining being black to a non-black person. Or what it’s like to be disabled, gay or Muslim to people who don’t belong to these groups. You can try but it almost never works.
Sexual assault and harassment are prevalent in this show. And it’s very high in high schools across the nation and the globe. A guy grabs your butt or touches breasts and you’re told that he’s just being a man. The oldest and most used excuse in the book. We don’t realize that not reprimanding people for disgusting actions such as trespassing someone’s body affects not just the victim but society. The fact that no one stood up for Hannah created a school environment in which rape and sexual assault flourished. The perpetrators felt strong and invincible because they knew they wouldn’t be held accountable. Sound familiar?
This show also seems to imply that if people knew they would’ve done something but as I look at the show I see Hannah presenting the information to people she thought were friends. They didn’t care. I even questioned if Clay cared. He basically called her a slut and easy after the entire school bullied her about something that never even happened.
In real life, when people take their life—they may be spoken of by family but no one stops to pay attention because no one cares. If anything people continue the same rhetoric that made the person take their own life in the first place.
Jessica, Jessica, Jessica. Idiot girl blames everything on Hannah because she’s in denial about the fact that she’s a user and abuser. Jessica is the worst kind of backstabber. She never really liked Hannah. She only viewed her as a pastime and even after her death she blamed the entire situation on her. She claimed that Hannah only cared about herself. If the only thing you have to do is be is kind why can’t you, Jessica?
Alex is no better but he’s a story for an entirely different day. What’s heartbreaking is thinking of what would’ve saved Hannah’s life. Maybe if she didn’t wear a skirt. Or if she wasn’t pretty or friendly. Maybe she shouldn’t have trusted anyone. Maybe she should have just been ‘socially awkward’ like Clay. Maybe if she didn’t have a butt or a vagina or breasts. Maybe if people weren’t disgusting savages. Maybe if she would’ve just stayed home.