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13 Reasons Why Comes Close to a Dangerous Message

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Alessia Bicknese

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May 3, 2017

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As of recently, Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why has consumed the lives of millions. If you aren’t familiar, the show consists of 13 episodes, each entailing an hour of heart-wrenching content.

The short series has a clear objective (to most people): to raise awareness around suicide. However, it’s not a tranquil show that portrays hope. It doesn’t focus on the light in a person’s life, especially that of someone who struggles with depression. In this case, Hannah Baker, the high-school student the show revolves around, doesn’t seem to find her light.

The content is incredibly heavy and cryptic due to the awfully realistic material. It seems as though whenever something abysmal happens, something even worse tops it.

While the series is based on a novel by Jay Asher, individuals battling depression found it way too in-depth to watch.

To viewers who fully analyze the show like myself, there is a constant battle going on in our heads, wondering if this show is saving lives, or bringing those who have struggled with depression back to old memories and life-altering habits.

From the beginning, I truly believed that the show was an outstanding depiction of what suicide does to a person’s community. Hannah’s death creates sadness, anxiety, anger, resentment, denial, and lots of guilt amongst her peers, especially while the tapes are being passed person to person. I thought that the individuals would be heartbroken, defeated, and remorseful, but they weren’t – at least not everyone on the tape was.

Victimization, harassment, and bullying are all real, hard, crucial things that people deal with everyday. But the show portrays something that isn’t pointed out as much as it should be in society: rape and misogynistic acts.

Hannah struggles to deal with boys in her school sexualizing her, and witnesses rape firsthand, something that I’m sure cannot be unseen. For me, this show does bring awareness because of its impacting, upsetting, and moving events. We need to realize that these things do happen, and it’s terrifying.

Not only has Hannah suffered so much that she finds suicide to be her only way out, but now, she leaves behind a box of tapes to let everyone know why she has taken her life.

Aside from my prior thoughts on the show bringing awareness, I did what any columnist does: I looked up what other people think.

What I found was that individuals who are battling a mental illness were not pleased, and even wished they never watched the show. Most of the articles I have read consist of depressing thoughts coming back to their minds due to the magnitude of authenticity the show has.

Apparently, the show has the ability to bring back extremely distressing moments a person has experienced in their life. I’ve discovered that it has been too deep for the minds of some, and has triggered a few too many emotional stances, including suicidal thoughts.

The most upsetting thing that I’ve read is that Hannah gains power after her suicide, which is an incredibly dangerous message. She lived her life ignored, bullied, and battered, but once she commits suicide, she has control of every person on the tape. Hannah is on their mind every single day due to her powerful and vivid stories on each tape.

Perhaps it’s society being melodramatic, and digging too deep into heavy content, but perhaps there’s actually a setback here that is causing uneasiness in young minds.

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13 Reasons Why Comes Close to a Dangerous Message