"13 Reasons Why" plunges us headlong into the turbulent world of high school, a realm fraught with emotional upheaval and the seething pressure of adolescent social dynamics. The protagonist, Hannah Baker, is a teenage girl who tragically takes her own life, leaving behind a series of cassette tapes that detail the thirteen reasons—or more accurately, the thirteen people—who she feels contributed to her decision. While the story's premise is intended to shed light on the tormenting effects of bullying, it inadvertently glamorizes a harrowing subject matter—suicide
It took us a while to realise how the worst part of it was how it presented suicide as empowerment. "If you're alive and noone cares, they ignore you and hurt you then suicide will make everyone listen to what you have to say and the people who were mean to you will feel really ashamed and stop being mean."
This is presenting suicide as your best option of dealing with a problematic life. It makes suicide sound worthwhile, even if at a high cost. And we don't think that showing that it hurts to cut yourself deters anyone, it just makes her seem more like a strong, determined woman of power who manages to overcome the pain. The most heart-wrenching aspect of "13 Reasons Why" is its presentation of suicide as a form of revenge or retribution, a deeply misguided message for impressionable young minds grappling with their own emotional turmoil. Hannah's tapes are a manifesto of blame, effectively placing the responsibility of her life's tragic end onto others. This grimly misguided message disregards the complexities of mental health, and it's an intensely perilous narrative to push, particularly to an audience whose understanding of these issues is often still forming.