I was a freshman in high school when I watched someone’s world be impacted because they decided to share an intimate video with a girl they liked and that video got sent to everyone in my high school. I remember the laughter and jokes that followed him and how he couldn’t look anyone in the eye and had to be escorted around the school for protection. I remember being part of the crowd that laughed and fed into the teasing of this student who put his trust in the wrong person.
That was 2007 and ten years later, not much has changed – it’s only gotten worse. With smartphones, social media and how quickly we now move in the world, there’s no stopping anyone from sending an image or video out to groups of people at once. The internet is an unforgiving place and so are high schoolers.
Teenage suicide is more often than not in relation to bullying. In the day and age of technology, bullying is easier to do and harder to remove the evidence. It’s a topic we often avoid and don’t address but that is changing with the best seller by Jay Asher and now Netflix show, “13 Reasons Why”.
The book and show follow main character Clay Jensen after his friend (and love interest) Hannah Baker commits suicide. He receives a box of cassette tapes made by Hannah giving thirteen reasons why she committed suicide. It digs into high school bullying, rape and the impact suicide has on people.
Here’s why you should watch 13 Reasons Why:
- The Cast
Everyone from Katherine Langford (plays Hannah Baker) to Miles Heizer (plays Alex) does a great job embodying their characters and telling the conversation of teenage bullying and suicide. Each character has a different reactions and the impact of Hannah’s suicide on them comes through in unquie ways. They all do a great job bringing these depth and diverse characters to life.
- Not Just For Teens
While this show revolves around high schoolers, this show is for every age group, including adults (aka me). It shows the ripple effect suicide has on friends, family, parents. No matter your age when you watch this, you can relate some how to each of the characters experiencing the death of a girl that they all hurt.
- Doesn’t Hide the Truth
Some shows or movies like to gloss over rape or suicide, especially when it involves teens. This show doesn’t do that, so be warned there are rape and suicide scenes shown. While this was hard to watch, I think it’s important that they showed them to make a statement about the things that are going on with teens that people aren’t talking about.
- Starts the Conversation
This is one of the first shows, that I’ve seen, that is talking about rape and suicide in the high school world. It starts the conversation in a new way that I think will get people thinking and paying attention. There have been documentaries, like Audrie & Daisy (btw very good), but not a TV show directed at teens. It’s communicating these serious topics in a new way that has caught their attention.
This show takes teens and gives them an adult role. It gives them the voice to talk about a topic that adults are afraid to approach and makes it conversational. Because someone who reads the book or watches the show might see themselves and know that they can reach out for help. “13 Reasons Why” is bringing teenage suicide into the spotlight and making a point to be heard. It’s also just a great show, with good acting, good music and an important message.