I am not the first nor the last to criticise the show, in fact, I have read article after article criticising the show. What it tried to do was a good thing- raise awareness of mental health, suicide and bullying which are extremely important and not to be taken lightly I felt as though it failed to do this and may actually end up being more harmful rather than do any good. Sorry if you like this show you are entitled to your opinion, these are just simply my thoughts.
The series I felt didn’t tackle the issues it should have. There was no mention of Hannah’s mental health such as depression which they should have targeted. Yes, it shows her life and how awfully people had treated her but up to the last three episodes, a lot of the things mentioned are things that happen to all of us in everyday life. A lot of girls are slut-shamed and a lot of pictures are sent around social media every single day. Maybe this was the point? So that the events Hannah went through and Hannah herself were relatable? This will just cause people to over-identify with Hannah and term these things absolutely dreadful. Of course, they are dreadful and no one should ever be slut shamed and pictures should never be sent around to people but this is the society we are living in. The show would be fine as it is good for a series to tackle issues of today’s society but it fails to offer any alternatives to suicide and so demonstrates this as the only escape- seen as no one offered to help Hannah, which is an awful message the series tells in that there is never anyone to turn to.
I suppose the whole aim of the show is to make people realise that what they say affects everyone and to be careful as to how they treat others, surely we don’t need a show for this? What confuses me, even more, is the age rating of 18 which I agree it should be due to the awful rape and suicide scenes. Yet, how can it target an audience in high school going through what the show depicts when the age rating is 18?
The romanticising of suicide is something that also bothers me. That scene between Clay and the therapist whereby Clay says he killed Hannah by not loving her and the therapist responds “you can’t love someone back to life”, sorry what is going on here. As though if everyone would have loved her she wouldn’t have killed herself and then once she did they all started to love her and realise who she was? This portrayal of the revenge suicide really affected me in that she wanted everyone else to realise what they had done (of course Bryce needed to) but for Clay to just be ‘scared to love her’ seems a bit far-fetched. As though Hannah died to have the last word and to prove a point, rather than her being depicted as being in a lot of mental pain.
Even mental health organisations are warning people about ‘exposure’ to the show. The Suicide Awareness Voices of Education state their worries that ‘young people are going to over identify with Hannah in the series… when young people are exposed to images that are really graphic, really sensational, and there is nothing balancing out for them (that they can get help and treatment) we see them actually replaying what they have seen’. This is extremely worrying and to be honest I am not in disagreement with this. 13 reasons why demonstrates suicide as the only option and the best form of revenge. I just feel it missed the point of possibly what it was aiming to do and they managed to create an extremely controversial show rather than one that sends out good messages.
I would love to hear what you think about the show, whether you liked it or didn’t I am interested! Thanks for reading, Katy x