The Netflix Original ’13 Reasons Why’, has taken the world by storm causing a controversy and touching some nerves surrounding by mental illness. The show has now triggered an online debate about teenage suicide and a few issues that make us uncomfortable to discuss like rape and bullying. But why has it caused so much controversy.
A general overview of the mini series is based around the suicide of a teenage girl and the reasons why she decided to take her own life. The show is based upon the book “Thirteen Reasons why’ by Jay Asher, which came out in 2007. The book was written in connection to one of Asher’s family member who was facing the same mental and psychological dilemmas.
Without giving any spoilers or ruining the show, the story follows a teenage girl who left behind 13 tapes after her suicide. Each tape is made of specific individuals from her high school, the tape has information on how the person affected her life and ultimately her decision to end her own life. However, the show has been criticized for romanticizing suicide and portraying it wrongly.
The show made suicide seem like a form of revenge and punishment for those who did the Hannah Baker (the main character) wrong. The show itself is aimed at young people, due to the fact that they are more likely to experience bullying which could lead to suicidal thoughts. Also as a way to bring some awareness to how serious bullying can be and the consequences of it. But the directors and producers seem to have missed the mark. The series seems to make the dark act of suicide normal and acceptable.
It goes into too much detail and its very graphic of the suicide itself, making it very hard for some viewers to watch. The show infers that suicide is a reasonable and rationale response for anyone that is experiencing a setback or challenges in their life.
The charity Samaritans released a press release criticizing Netflix saying, “it is extremely concerning that a drama series, aimed at a young audience, can be produced outside of the UK and made available to UK audiences and yet not subject to UK media regulation.”
Before her death the main character Hannah Baker, who was played by Katherine Langford a 20-year old actress. Made 13 tape recordings discussing and giving a recount of her ordeals during high school life. She then mails the tapes to those she holds responsible for her miserable life. Each tape starts with the phrase “Welcome to your tape”.
This phrase has now become some sort of joke on social media platforms. People are using the phrase as to joke around and express their anger in a silly way for instance…
(the girl pictured is Hannah Baker the protagonist)
The internet has taken something that was meant to have a significant meaning and turned it into a meme and a jovial matter. Again, showing how the show 13 Reasons Why failed to succeed in its mission to bring awareness to how bullying has deep consequences.
Now some Twitter users are disgusted by the viral meme trend. Natasha Rowe aged 19, who has suffered from depression in the past admits “13 Reasons Why, didn’t exactly do its job in bringing awareness to the situation, but it made an effort which is applaudable.’ Rowe goes on to say “But I think social media is so insensitive and dehumanized to the fact that people go through this struggle on a regular basis and its hard. It’s nice to see a few people standing up for what’s right and having a heart”.
(this twitter user disagreed with meme)
The concepts discussed in 13 Reasons Why, like drugs, bullying, rape and suicide are often played down and not talked about as much as it should be, because it makes people feel uncomfortable. However f you or someone you know is in danger or needs help there are numbers and website. Please don’t hesitate to ask for help.
0808 808 4994
116 123 (UK)
020 8038 4859
Visit www.13reasonswhy.info to find out more about the show or suicide.