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’13 Reasons Why’ shows graphic scenes that can be traumatic for students

Zach Nowlin, Copy Editor

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“13 Reasons Why” is a Netflix original that debuted in March to much controversy. The show has been accused of glorifying suicide, as well as perpetuating ignorant connotations surrounding suicide. Others say that the show raises awareness for bullying and mental illness in high school; however, it does anything but show explicit and graphic scenes of suicide and sexual assault.

The show centers around a teenage girl, Hannah Baker, who commits suicide and leaves tapes for thirteen of her classmates that each drove her to kill herself. This “awareness” encourages psychological manipulation that leads to more problems and violence in society. Some of the thirteen classmates hardly did anything to lead her to do this. For example, one of her former friends, Alex, made a list claiming that Hannah had the best butt to get back at his ex-girlfriend. The tape that Hannah made about this led to Alex shooting himself in the head. Hannah got sexually harassed after the list came out but it was by guys who have a history of doing this, so the list had hardly any effect on that. If the creators are using Hannah as an outlet for raising awareness for teen suicide, then they are doing a bad job of doing so, considering her tapes caused another suicide attempt.

The show also does harm to anyone who watches it that has personal experience with suicide and sexual assault. At the end of the series there is a graphic depiction of Hannah’s suicide. This can be traumatic for anybody who has tried to commit suicide, or even has experience with self harm. Producers worked with consultants on what and what not to touch on in the show including the scene of Hannah’s suicide and a scene of a teenage girl’s sexual assault, both graphic and advised to be excluded from the show. The producers ignored the concerns of the mental-health experts and put the scenes in the show for shock value.

13 Reasons Why sends the wrong messages to middle school and high school students. It makes it seem like it is okay to glamorize suicide. In the original book, Hannah overdoses but ends up surviving the incident. In graphic detail 13 Reason Why shows Hannah slitting both of her wrists open. The show could have functioned with Hannah surviving in the end and still conveying the attempted messages. The suicide of Hannah Baker was added simply just for shock value.

13 Reasons Why knows nothing about the struggle teenagers go through on a daily basis, worldwide. It glamorizes suicide, makes petty revenge seem like it is okay and is extremely harmful to individuals who have traumatic experiences from self harm, suicidal attempts or sexual assault.’

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The official student news site of Athens Drive High School
’13 Reasons Why’ shows graphic scenes that can be traumatic for students