There's no denying the impact "13 Reasons Why" has had since it debuted on Netflix on March 31st. It has shattered records, spawned numerous trending hashtags, and managed to tastefully and correctly display the harsh topics of teenage depression, suicide, bullying, and rape.
I just wish people fully understood that.
The plot of Jay Asher's famous novel centers around the aftermath of Hannah Baker's suicide. The young teen ended her life and decided that afterwards, a set of tapes (in 13 parts) would be sent to each person she deemed a reason for her downward spiral; as told by her acquaintance, and reason, Clay Jenson.
The novel (and eventual Netflix adoption) follows Clay as he listens to the tapes and attempts to make sense of the final year of Hannah's life. It was supposed to bring attention and start much needed conversations about suicide prevention, consent, substance abuse, and the importance of anti-bullying policies. But no one got any of that.
As you can see from this prom proposal, this ground breaking mini series ended up just being something added on someone's queue because everyone was talking about it in the hallway.
Complete with 13 paper casts, NOT LIKE THEY WERE SOMEONE'S SUICIDE NOTES OR ANYTHING
Americas reaction to "13 Reasons Why" is everything wrong with society in 2017.
From the outrage against the graphic rape and suicide scenes, from the focus on Clay and Hannah's "ship" rather than Hannah Baker's mental well being, and the romanticizing of Hannah's overall existence paints the very sad picture of what is valued in this society.
The rape scenes were graphic because that is what rape is; graphic. It's not supposed to be easy to watch because it is a horrible, horrible things, that cannot continue to be glossed over on television or else it happens more often in real life.
Clay was irrelevant to Hannah's story because they were never a relationship, they weren't "cute" or "the way he looked at her is #goals". It was a one sided relationship with Clay pursuing Hannah, who wanted nothing to do with him, until that proved to be helpless. He never even really knew Hannah, or even had the slightest clue of what was really going on with her, he just had a high school crush on her.
Hannah including Clay on the tapes, implying that it was because he didn't love her enough, was nothing more than a manipulative move to make Clay mourn for her more after her death. The whole point of the tapes was just Hannah's way of getting the last laugh.
And Hannah Baker is not a martyr. She is not a broken bird who lost her strong, brave, fight and found her only release. It wasn't in anyway shape or form tragically beautiful. Yes we're supposed to feel for her and it s a tragedy she ended her life because of horrible things that happened to her, but we're also supposed to hate her.
Because it was selfish and cruel to release the tapes and personally direct blame on people so they're forced to live with that the rest of their lives. Because that is what suicide is, it is the ultimate selfish act against everyone close to you. BECAUSE SUICIDE IS NOT THE ANSWER.
That is why we saw her graphically slit her wrists. Nothing about Hannah Baker's life, or the end of it, was glamorous or good; nor should we treat it like it is.
The public's reaction doesn't take away from the brilliantly written, produced, and directed Netflix series (and novel). It is not just a show you binge watch because it's trending on the internet and the actors are good looking, if you're mature enough you might actually learn something.