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Staff writer expresses concerns about new hit show, Thirteen Reasons Why

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The new hit sensation, Thirteen Reasons Why, has been added to Netflix this month. It’s been the topic of discussion for many, and has teenagers all of the sudden realizing that their words and actions actually affect people. Who knew it would take a TV show to make it stick in a teenager’s brain that they should treat people nicely.

Based on the book by Jay Asher, Thirteen Reasons Why, actually has a simple storyline. A high school student, Hannah Baker, commits suicide but before doing so, she records tapes accusing various other students at her school to be the cause of her unbearable pain. One by one, she calls them out on everything they ever did to her, explaining that they initially killed her through their actions. Although some very terrible things did happen to Baker, a lot of the reasons are very childish and immature to be accusing the students of being her “killer.”

Online reviews have stated that, Thirteen Reasons Why, “affects the way you breathe,” and, “changes the way you look at life.” But really, it’s just another sad, drama-filled story that is overly praised. There really are a lot of things wrong with the show that people tend to overlook or don’t realize. For one, suicide seems to be glorified from the show. The topic of suicide is hard, and is constantly pushed to the side and avoided, but the show highlights that suicide is an option. For young teenagers watching, they see Baker decide to end her life over high school conflicts. What message is this showing our younger generations-that suicide is a way to avoid drama? As a society, we need to show anyone and everyone that suicide is not an option. Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem, and we cannot bear to have our younger children see suicide be glorified or praised. When watching the episodes, each tape makes you feel bad for Hannah, but she over exaggerates on what happened to her, and makes it seem like suicide was the only thing she could’ve done. When truly, she had people there for her, she just chose to commit suicide rather than confront her accusers or really do anything to help herself.

Secondly, Baker accuses others of being the reason she killed herself. Yes, I said it-killed herself. This is something no one seems to say, no one wants to admit that suicide is someone choosing on their own to end their life. Baker decided to end her life, but while she ended hers, she utterly destroyed the lives of the accused. Throughout Baker’s tapes, she has an angry attitude, almost seeming to take pleasure in ruining the lives of the people she was leaving.

Thirdly, the topic of rape is brought up multiple times. Adding rape scenes into a show doesn’t make a show bad, but how Baker handled the actions. Not only did she witness a rape, but being raped herself, she did not seek help. First, Baker witnesses her friend being raped while passed out drunk. After this occurrence, Baker doesn’t tell anyone, seek any help, or even confront the rapist. She decided to keep it a secret. Then, Baker gets raped herself, and surprise surprise, it’s by the same rapist. She later on mildly goes to seek help, but she won’t tell who raped her, the details of the situation, or anything that would help her. She is then told by her counselor to, “get over it”. A rape victim was told to “get over it”. This is so disgusting and repulsive to watch and hear. By seeing on a glorified TV show that if you are raped or witness a rape, you should either keep it a secret, or not get help, younger children are getting the wrong message about rape. Rape is normalized from this show, rape should never be seen as ok. Ever.

Not everything about the show is bad. There are some good messages that come from watching. One, viewers learn to be cautious of what they say to others, and how their actions can affect one’s feelings. And two, you do get little snippets of Baker’s family devastated from the aftermath of Baker’s suicide. But overall, the message of the show is so twisted and wrong. You are pulled into the drama of a high schooler’s life, and are excited to listen to why she killed herself instead of learning how to help someone who is suicidal.

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The student news site of Francis Howell High School
Staff writer expresses concerns about new hit show, Thirteen Reasons Why