The world is a cruel place. Everyone knows this is true, and it is on this sentiment that Hannah Baker begins her tapes, which recount the people and the events that made her lonely and depressed enough to take her own life. The thirteen episodes show us what life is actually like for modern teenagers in high schools. It’s not a pleasant experience for most of them. For some, it may be downright horrible. This is what the show addresses.
The show does not glorify teen suicide. It doesn’t send the message that the only way out is to kill yourself. It sends the message that the words we say matter. The tiniest actions can have ripple effects. What may be minuscule to you can be huge to another person. It can add to a whole montage of events already overwhelming that person. It shows us the pain and regret left behind when someone is suddenly gone. It shows us how important it is to be considerate in our day-to-day lives.
The show addresses victim blaming, specifically from a school administrator himself. Even in 2017, some people feel that it’s the girl’s fault a rape happened. Even if she didn’t explicitly say no, she did not consent. Hannah’s assailant didn’t care that she was pushing him away.
Yes, the show has graphic scenes. And yes, the explicit scene of Hannah killing herself was not necessary. But don’t let these scenes stop teenagers from watching the show. 13 Reasons Why explores the characters and their backgrounds. It gives them depth. It doesn’t just show Hannah’s perspective. It may help teenagers realize that the words they say and the things they do have consequences. Most people in this show refuse to accept these consequences until the last couple of episodes.
The show needs to be watched. If even one person changes their behavior towards others, or even if one person realizes that the pain they’d give their loved ones is not worth it, 13 Reasons Why will be successful. The show is not for entertainment. It is to put this beautiful story out there, that symbolizes the struggle real people go through. By ignoring this story, you’d be ignoring those people. The emotions the show will leave you with should not be temporary – it’s a message you should take to the heart.