The Netflix series "13 Reasons Why" has caused some controversy because of its content. From ignoring psychologists recommendations to causing copycat suicides, the shows run has not had the desired effects. But Netflix has still decided to put out a second season. I refuse to watch it, and here is why you should too.
1. The producers claim they are trying to help kids with depression.
Producer of the show, Selena Gomez claims she wanted the show to start a conversation about suicide. And it did, in a way. But not the right conversation about symptoms and treatment. It mostly just made people with mental illnesses look whiney because that's how Hannah is. It also did nothing to help people who actually have depression. In fact, it made me just feel worse.
2. Despite that, they ignored their ethical duty to the audience.
Even though producers wanted to help bring awareness to depression and suicide, they did not consider their audience. The show is about a teenage girl who killed herself. This is obviously going to attract adolescents, especially those already dealing with depression or suicidal thoughts. Yes, the show has a TV-MA rating, but it's also on Netflix, which is easily accessible for anyone with internet connection. Watching this, they are shown a situation that they may relate to, but instead of showing them a way out, they show them how to kill themselves.
3. They also ignored recommendations from psychologists.
When producers decided to show Hannah committing suicide, it's not that they didn't know any better. Netflix decided to bring on psychologists to consult on the show and make sure they were doing it well. Experts told Netflix not to release the show because of the content and how it would affect viewers. Netflix did it anyway. Shockingly, it hasn't gone well.
4. There were several copycat suicides after the show aired.
While the show probably wasn't the only cause of the suicides, there were several copycats. Two teens in California killed themselves days after finishing the series. A man in Peru even recorded tapes. This isn't surprising since the series is basically a how-to on killing yourself while getting the most attention possible.
5. The show misrepresents what it's like to have a mental illness.
Having depression is nothing like what it is in the show. It's a lot more sleeping, to be honest. But Hannah doesn't really act depressed as much as she does angry and upset. She does get irritable, which can be a symptom of depression, but it is also a symptom of being 16. The show should have presented real symptoms of depression, like not eating, sleeping a lot, or really anything that actually signals depression.
6. Hannah has a support system, but it's not shown.
In the show, you rarely see anyone being there for Hannah. Yeah, that's kinda the point, but it's not true. The few times you see her interact with her parents, they are being supportive and loving. Hannah acts like they don't pay attention to her, but even when she is picking up tapes from their pharmacy, they are asking about her project and how she's doing. Not to mention Clay, who works with her and has a class with her and clearly cares about her. Plus Tony talked about always listening to her problems and becoming her confidant. Hannah had a support system, it just wasn't shown.
7. It doesn't show any help for Hannah.
At no point in the series do things look like they might get better for Hannah. In fact, the two times she tries to get help, she is completely ignored. While I will admit schools and the law aren't always helpful to victims of sexual assault, the way the counselor just brushed her off was not what you should be showing people when you want to facilitate a conversation about rape. It just makes victims feel like they should just keep their trauma to themselves.
8. It glorifies suicide.
In this show, suicide is used to create intrigue and drama. And how Hannah does it, with the tapes, makes it look almost glamorous. Like, killing herself is what made her matter to everyone. Which is exactly what you shouldn't tell depressed adolescents who are most likely watching this show.
9. The suicide scene makes it look easy.
Watching Hannah kill herself made it look so easy. Run a bath, slit your wrists, die. That's it. Again, it was basically a how-to video.
10. The rape scenes were unnecessarily triggering.
I get doing graphic scenes for artistic reasons, but there is a line. And "13 Reasons Why" crossed it with not one, but two rape scenes. Neither of which absolutely had to be shown. There are plenty of ways to "show" rape without literally showing it. And let's not forget children are watching this. And probably rape victims as well. The scenes were incredibly triggering and the show could have done without them.
11. Hannah blamed all of her problems on other people, rather than facing them.
Obviously, the story is from Hannah's point of view, which is why it seems like she is not in the wrong in any way. What's worse is that that is how Clay sees it too. But Hannah was probably in the wrong in a lot of ways. Even when you have depression, you still need to face your problems. Hannah didn't do that and the show made that look like it was okay.
12. Jay Asher was kicked out of his writing group for accusations of sexual harassment.
Much less related to the show itself, but still notable is that Jay Asher was kicked out of his writer's group. If you're not aware, Jay Asher wrote the book that the show is based on. Basically, someone accused him of sexual harassment, it was investigated, and he was expelled from the group. First of all, this explains why he wrote such a terrible teenage girl; he doesn't respect women very much. Second, by watching the show, you are supporting a sexual harasser.
12. The show wasn't even that good.
Seriously, without all the controversy, we probably wouldn't even be talking about this show. Hannah was super unlikeable and Clay was just annoying. The story is intriguing at best and I'm sure works great as a book. But anything good from it was overshadowed by the graphic rape and suicide scenes.
"13 Reasons Why" is extremely problematic for a lot of reasons. If you have a mental illness or care about someone with a mental illness or have been a victim of rape or care about someone who is a victim of rape, you should not watch it. And let's be real, that's everyone. We should all boycott "13 Reasons Why."