Reasons Why I’m Not Watching 13 Reasons Why
The Netflix series “13 Reasons Why” has blown up on social media. Not a day goes by without me seeing someone talking about it, and typically making positive comments. The show is about suicide, which means this is definitely a touchy subject. I fully accept that not everyone will agree with me and one could argue that my opinion isn’t valid because I haven’t actually seen the show. However, I think there are some deeper issues that need to be talked about.
Suicide rates have gone up at an alarming rate over the past few years. We are seeing more and more headlines of people taking their own lives as a result of bullying or mental illness. In some cases we see that one suicide sparks another. For example, when I was in high school, our school district saw 5 suicides within one year. It was the scariest chain reaction our town had ever experienced. Mental illness is very real and I never want to downplay the hardships one faces when dealing with depression. I don’t think that 100% of suicides are a result of depression, though, so that’s not the aspect I’m focusing on in this particular article. I think how the media portrays suicide has started a trend and subtly pushed more and more people to take their lives. When my high school experienced all those deaths back in 2013, I remember Facebook exploding. Every single person was on their computers typing long, heartfelt statuses about how this shouldn’t have happened. They would go on and on about how loved those students were and how the hallways feel empty without them. I felt like I was the only person who didn’t agree with the way my community handled these tragedies. I was friends with one of the students who passed and I didn’t make a single post about him. His death was awful and hit me really hard, but I didn’t want to join all my classmates in their social media binge. I felt it was disrespectful to give more attention to a person after they were gone than they were given before they passed. Even if we are not fully aware of this, we are teaching one lesson: you will be appreciated more after you take your own life.
I know it’s all with good intent. I know that the people posting on social media were not trying to make suicide sound appealing -no one would ever consciously do that- but that’s exactly why we need to talk about it. We have gotten to a place where suicide is glorified, and that’s a dangerous place to be. When the series “13 Reasons Why” came out, I didn’t know whether it would be given a big spotlight or not, and now I’m very upset to find that it was. I believe the message of the show is meant to be positive and I understand why people would want to bring light to this situation. I also don’t think we should stop talking about suicide, but I think the way in which we talk about it needs to change. Millions of people should not be on social media right now raving about a show that’s centered on a girl committing suicide. Even if the series is trying to show how negative suicide is, it’s still glamorizing it by turning it into entertainment. By doing so, it’s unintentionally sending those subliminal messages to its audience, which makes them believe that people love you most when you’re gone.
Like I said before, this is an undeniably touchy subject. I definitely don’t have the answers as to how we should be approaching the topic of suicide, but I do think we’ve gotten it wrong by creating “13 Reasons Why.” This is similar to the recent Pepsi advertisement that offended so many with its Black Lives Matter tribute. I think we are headed in the right direction, but going about it the wrong way. We need to be more far more careful about this issue, especially when it directly affects the lives of so many.