I recently wrote about how I was binge watching TV and about the shows I was currently watching on Netflix, well one of those shows has just finished and it’s left me feeling rather emotional to say the least.
13 Reasons Why? is a series which follows the life events leading up to a teen girls suicide, originally a book of the same title written by Jay Asher.
Hannah Baker is a new girl within the high school, making friends in a new school can always be difficult especially when those friend circles have already been formed in previous school years but Hannah is an outgoing girl with a whole blank page in front of her – she has the chance to reinvent a whole new personality and she takes this chance in both hands.
The series starts with friends and family mourning the death of a seemingly popular girl but to really know the life that girl led you have to live in her shoes, to fully understand what happened to her to make her want to take her own life.
Hannah was troubled, a LOT happened to her in a very short space of time and these events singularly may not have been a trigger but added all together within a short time frame were enough to tip a vulnerable girl over the edge.
It’s a tale of needing to be more aware of what goes on behind closed doors, looking for the warning signs and being there for a friend when they need a shoulder or just need someone to be there.
Watching this show opened up many emotions, I remember being the girl on the outside looking in on many occasions desperate to fit in or to recreate a new version of myself. In secondary school I was never single after the 2nd year, as soon as one relationship ended another started immediately and for a while I began ‘that girl’. It’s so easy to become labelled by peers whether in a good or a negative way and once you are wearing that label it can be hard to shake.
This is the problem Hannah faced, an innocent event surrounding her first kiss set her up with a reputation of being ‘that girl’ and it spiralled from there. Others listened to the gossip, and it was assumed she was ‘easy’ and that was something which couldn’t escape from.
It is a very difficult watch, seeing all the events which led to her unhappiness go unnoticed and all her cries for help dismissed and pushed aside.
She called out for help on numerous occasions but those cries fell on deaf ears.
As difficult as it was to watch I do feel it is something all parents should actually sit through, to experience some of the events which their children could encounter so we have answers to the questions they may have and can discuss the consequences our actions have on others.
Hannah makes tapes, 13 tapes in total – these are one each for the people and events surrounding those people which lead up to her suicide. Each person hurt her and let her down in a very different way.
The events in this case are very extreme and not just your usual teen issues – they include suicide, rape and even death. But they do also include sex shaming, cyber bullying, peer pressure, drinking and drink driving.
These are issues which weren’t around while I was growing up – I didn’t have a mobile phone until I was 18 and started driving and even then they didn’t take pictures and certainly weren’t internet ready – it a changing world we live in, our children’s lives are so much different now – they live their lives on Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and everything they do is so public – pictures taken can be shared in an instance, even ones they believe to be private can be screenshot and group shared. This is another thing which happened to Hannah – an innocent picture shared in a bid to shame her publicly.
Our poor children are growing up in such a cruel world where they need to be cautious of their every move, otherwise they can be judged, ridiculed and possibly shamed for it and it our responsibility to teach them how to protect themselves from this, teach them to be mindful of their actions and make them aware that their actions have repercussions.
We also have to be more open to talking to them about sensitive issues no matter how uncomfortable it makes them and us feel – after-all if they can’t talk honestly with their parents who do they then turn to in times of real need?
Some say that shows like this encourage suicide in young teens, I personally don’t think this to be the case as it does help them to see just how their actions affect those closest to them. What do you think?
13 Reasons Why? Can be found on Netflix. Have you seen it yet?