• Joanne Jacobs

Reasons to dislike 13 Reasons Why


In 13 Reasons Why, a Netflix series based on Jay Asher’s popular book,a 17-year-old girl sends tapes to all the people she blames for her pain, then kills herself.

There are plenty of reasons to discourage teens from watching this “suicide revenge fantasy,” writes Brooke Fox, a psychotherapist and mother of teenage girls. It “glamorizes suicide.”

Hannah received everything in death that she was hoping for: sympathy, deep regret, guilt, and ultimately — love.  However, what the teen brain cannot process is the fact that Hannah is dead – permanently, and never coming back.

Hannah is the victim of bullying and rape. Instead of “it gets better,” the message seems to be “give up.”

The show has set off a fierce online debate, notes the New York Times.

Despite its weightiness, the show has inspired various jaunty memes. YouTubers have recorded “13 Reasons Why” parody videos. Merchandisers on Etsy are hawking mugs that read “Justice for Hannah” and tank tops printed with the image of a cassette tape, the new vinyl. Endless threads on teenagers’ Facebook feeds delve into whether Hannah is to blame for her own misery. And it can be a challenge to scroll through social media and not come upon the new dis, “Welcome to your tape.”

A Cosmo writer who attempted suicide as a teenager thinks the series makes Hannah into a revenge-seeking villain rather than a victim of acute depression.

Here’s another critique: “The show’s message appears to be that we, as a society, must cater to the most emotionally vulnerable among us. . . .  every emotional upset is a trigger, and everyone who has interacted with Hannah shares responsibility for her death.”

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