A&E — 12 May 2017

Paris Ellis and Brianna Ross
@ParisEllis92 and @itsbriross

The doors open and all eyes are on you. As you walk down the hall, whispers fill the air. The person who you thought was your friend now looks at you in disgrace as she snickers among her newfound clique of jocks and cheerleaders.

You feel alone and confused, moving through the day with your head down trying to get through the next seven hours of judgement.

This was the reality that Hannah Baker had to face everyday of her adolescent life.

Book turned Netflix original series “13 Reasons Why” is a reminder of daily issues that some teenagers face when in high school, but the show isn’t meant for all viewers.

The show parallels to the Canadian drama “Degrassi” — covering topics of rape, bullying, depression and suicide.

Netflix recently added a warning sign to all of the episodes of “13 Reasons Why” after all of the recent backlash.

According to newsweek.com, show creator Brian Yorkey said, “We did want it to be painful to watch because we wanted it to be very clear that there is nothing—in any way—worthwhile about suicide.”

Reasons to watch…

 

Raise mental health awareness-

“13 Reasons Why” shows challenges that some teenagers may face in high school. It shows the importance of addressing mental health and what happens when it is not addressed.

It helps raise awareness that you are not alone and that if you’re suffering from depression  it’s OK to talk to someone.

Parental use for teenagers-

Parents can use “13 Reasons Why” to teach their children about issues of bullying. The drama-filled show is easily engaging for the youth, visually showing what it’s like being in high school.

Reminder for adults/parents –

The show plays as a friendly reminder of what it’s like to be a high school student in 2017. With the growth in media the last couple of years, it has altered our environment.

It can be beneficial for adults or parents with the way they treat adolescents.

Act of kindness –

“13 Reasons Why” shows that a simple act of kindness can go a long way, potentially saving a life.

From a compliment or a friendly hello, simple acts of such can make an impact on someone’s life.
Reasons not to watch…

 

Overly Graphic –

Luckily Netflix recently added a warning note for all viewers before each episode of “13 Reasons Why.”

The show does show what many shows don’t and it isn’t intended for everyone to watch. The show features two rapes of teenage girls.

These rapes are gritty, horrifying, disturbing and not something young viewers should see. The show did a good job of showing Hannah and how she felt during the rape, but watching her body writhe with each thrust was horrifying to witness.

Glamorized Hannah and her suicide –

The show glamorized Hannah, the girl who killed herself. They made her out to be this amazing person that everyone remembered and was heartbroken about after she left.

In the book, the story focused on the people she left behind, but the series placed more  emphasis on Hannah. It was as if she left some sort of legacy only a dead girl could leave behind, this could leave some people to think their lives will only have meaning after they die.

Depiction of adolescence isn’t relatable –

All of the actors but one are over 20 years old. Devin Druid who plays Tyler in the show is 19. Main characters Katherine Langford (Hannah Baker)  is 21 years old and Dylan Minnette (Clay Jensen) is 20, playing sophomores in the series.

It might be more relatable if the producers of the series casted actors closer to age of the characters.

Implies suicide is the survivor’s fault –

The entire premise of the show is based on the fact that Hannah blames everyone else for letting her commit suicide. She does conclude that she, too, didn’t care enough to save herself. However, it’s clear that she was waiting for someone to save her.

The message to those watching the show — if you don’t catch the signs, you’re to blame when someone winds up dead.

It’s obvious the writers want to provoke people to pay attention but, it could lead to kids to blaming themselves and experiencing a lifetime of trauma if someone they know does commit suicide.

While it is important to talk about these issues and learn about mental health, it isn’t healthy to let others believe they could have saved someone who made a decision to end his or her own life.

 

“It has to get better. The way we treat each other and look out for each other. It has to get better somehow,” Clay Jensen.

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Paris Ellis

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