13 Reasons Why; the real reason behind the controversy

Abigail Tobis ’20, Managing Editor

Season two is finally here of the highly anticipated Netflix original show 13 Reasons Why, which was released on May 18, 2018. Season one definitely caused a large uproar because the show covered such topics like suicide and rape. The second season is now here, and it is no different, causing more controversy with its material.

13 Reasons Why follows the life of 17-year-old Hannah Baker who killed herself but left behind 13 cassette tapes as to why she decided to take her own life-thus the show’s name. The show gets very real in terms of the pictures they show and and the extent to which it goes and they introduce a lot of issues that are not talked about as much as some may consider they should be.

The show is directed towards a high school audience in hopes of starting the conversations regarding the problems that nobody really seems to talk about-taboo topics like suicide, rape and drug addiction. Many people were angry at the producer, Joseph Incaprera, and the executive producer, Selena Gomez, because they depicted vulgar scenes that many parents want to shield their kids from.

This show was not meant to glorify suicide, rape or drug abuse. It was created to reveal to the audience the repercussions of teenage bullying and suicide and how it can really impact a young adult. Parents protecting their kids from this reality and saying this show may be ‘too much’ is really just hiding their child from what really goes on in a teenager’s life.

The intention was to depict to the audience what bullying can do and how it can affect someone. 13 Reasons Why had a large impact on many lives. “It got me thinking about society and how we treat people with mental illnesses,” sophomore Olivia Stafford said. “It shows you how you shouldn’t bully people because you don’t know how people will take it.” This was Incaprera and Gomez’s purpose for their entire production. They want to end bullying and show young adults that words are not just words, they have meaning and someone can be seriously affected by what you say and what you do. Every action can have consequences; it people need to think through the things they say and do and how they can affect others.

This Netflix series has caused has a lot of controversy surrounding the reasonings for writing the show (previously a book) and why they decided to depict certain scenes as graphically as they did. In one part, viewers see Baker going through the process of slitting her wrists in a bathtub which can be very triggering for many. Parents may think that the show was trying to influence young teenagers to commit suicide, yet it has a has a warning sign it displays before each episode and if a young adult has a past of mental illness or depression then the parent should control what they watch to avoid these situations.

The main issue of why some decide to end their life is not the show, and it is not the  parents but is the constant bullying in our society. We need to become a kind, more empathetic  culture as whole so that people do not feel this need to end their lives. Everyone should feel special and amazing in their own way because everyone is these things. This bullying can and needs to end, and when this starts to diminish, then this will be the first step towards making things better. 13 Reasons Why is helping to start the conversation and bring awareness, and there is nothing wrong with that.

Photo courtesy of Medium

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