Have you watched the Netflix series 13 reasons why? Well I have and I thought I would talk a little bit about it on my blog today. This post is written from my opinion and how I feel about some of the controversial topics addressed in the series. The series is rated an 18 and it is actually shocking to hear that people as young as 14 have watched this!
***Warning – Spoilers!***
The series focuses on Hannah a high school girl who has committed suicide after a series of events that led her to believe her life was worthless. Before she dies she creates 13 tapes that call out individuals who she feels are responsible for her death. Each tape is dedicated to one person. From mental health issues, substance abuse, teenage deaths/suicides and rape the series really avoids euphemisms and hits hard. It address situations, which we know are very real, but are usually avoided by society and I love that.
Tape 1 looks at cyber bulling after a photo is shared around the school that Justin Foley took before his kiss with Hannah – which evidently ruined that memory for her and began the destruction of her reputation at high school. Older generations often struggle to understand why people who become victims of cyber bullying can’t just turn their device off or block the haters, but it’s not just your online rep that is hurt it continues in and out of school.
Tape 2, in this episode Alex Scandall creates a list that calls Hannah out for having the best ass of the class. This triggers boys to view Hannah as a sexual object rather than a human with feelings. Not only is this totally degrading but mixed with previous events she is now depicted as ‘easy’ and ‘slutty’. This is also causes her best friend Jessica Davis to hate her for it and causes them to end the friendship after Jessica accuses Hannah of helping to write the list. (Jessica and Alex were a couple at the time but he breaks up with her because she wouldn’t sleep with him, the list was written out of spite.) The argument between the girls ends with Jessica slapping Hannah and leaving a mark on her forehead (Tape 3).
Tape 4 Tyler becomes a stalker and takes pictures of Hannah through her window at night. Hannah and Courtney have sleep overs in order to catch Hannah’s stalker, however the girls get silly and Courtney dares Hannah to kiss her which she does just as Tyler snaps another photo. This photo is again spread around school however, people aren’t sure who it is. Courtney pushes Hannah away in fear that she will be caught out as being gay. (Tape 5) Courtney also starts rumours about Hannah during a school dance again destroying Hannah’s representation and depicting her as ‘slutty’ and ‘easy’.
Tape 6 Marcus gets knowledge of Hannah’s ‘slutty’ and ‘easy’ personality and tries to take advantage of her by groping her on a date. Hannah pushes him out of the booth and Zach tries to comfort her after the incident but Hannah doesn’t want to be around him. In retaliation Zach steals her compliment notes which are left anonymously in her communications class. These notes meant a lot to Hannah who was feeling depressed and detached from the rest of her peers (tape 7)
Tape 8 Hannah becomes friends with Ryan who writes poems. He advises Hannah on how to write meaningful, personal poems but then betrays her by publishing one in the school magazine. No one knows it was Hannah’s but the entire school seems to be talking about it – even the teachers – which hurts Hannah and makes her feel worse.
Tape 9 At Jessica’s party Sheri offers to drive Hannah home, on the drive she is distracted and crashes into a stop sign which falls down. Sheri refuses to tell the police as she doesn’t want to get into trouble. Hannah is persistent and goes to the convenience store to ring anyway. But it’s too late. Classmate Jeff is killed after an oncoming driver collided with him – everyone is led to believe that Jeff was killed by irresponsible driving on his behalf. Tape 10 is the most shocking of them all up to this point. Rape. Despite Bryce committing the crime Justin is blamed for not protecting Jessica (his girlfriend) while Bryce forces his way into her bedroom to rape her. Jessica is unconscious after drinking to much alcohol. Hannah is also in the room whilst this is going on because of what happened in tape 11. Tape 11 is Clay’s (one of the main characters in the show and who’s perspective the tapes are heard from.) tape. Clay hasn’t actually done anything wrong, him and Hannah are hooking up but she suffers an attack. Post traumatic syndrome causes Hannah to feel hurt by Clay’s actions because of the way guys have treated her and tried to use her in the past.
Tape 12 by far this was the tape that I felt most uncomfortable by. In this tape Hannah recalls the time in which she is raped by sexual predator Bryce. After ending up at a party, Hannah finds herself being sexually assaulted in a hot tub by previous offender Bryce.
Tape 13. The final tape. Unlike all the other tapes in this one Hannah blames the school counselor Mr Porter for not doing more when she went to him trying to open up about being a rape victim. Mr Porter doesn’t handle the situation well and doesn’t see the clues Hannah is trying to give him and eventually he tells her she should just move past it.
This is such a great series. It doesn’t dramatise or romanticise the events in anyway. It directly address the situations and issues we as a society often hide away. Not only does it teach us lessons that we never really know what’s going on with other people and no matter what happens our actions can have consequences but it also brings to our attention that the education system is failing us. Why aren’t mental health issues, rape and other difficult conversations more openly discussed and talked about in school? This is a massive flaw in the education system which I believe needs to be bridged.
Hope this wasn’t to hard hitting for you, I just feel like this was needed. Let me know what you guys thought of the series in the comments below! 😊