I watched the whole series in one sitting because I couldn’t believe what I was watching. 13 hours worth of pure bullshit.
This TV show claims to discuss teen suicide and mental health issues, but also covers sexual abuse, assault and self harm. To those of you who haven’t seen the show, I definitely wouldn’t recommend it. It’s an incredibly romanticised and unrealistic depiction of mental health difficulties. The 13 episodes depict the 13 reasons why Hannah Baker decided to kill herself, and they’re really fucking graphic (with no trigger warnings). Ordinarily, I’d support the depiction of mental health as an attempt to diminish stigma, but this show does the opposite.
This girl, Hannah, goes through an awful lot of shit, I definitely won’t deny that, but the whole show revolves around taking the piss out of her for it. Hannah is tormented endlessly, and she makes these 13 tapes explaining the 13 reasons why she decided to end her life. But that’s not what I find so incredibly problematic about the show.
Firstly, Clay is an absolute fucking idiot. He is so fucking in love with the idea of Hannah that he can’t see or focus on anything else. He never even really knew her. Losing someone close to you is the most fucking debilitating thing in the world, I know that, but Clay’s idolisation of this teenage girl just glorifies her actions, and romanticises her mental health difficulties. The show is set up to remove and shift blame from party to party, whilst the blamed characters attempt to blame Hannah, because ultimately, she made the choice to kill herself.
But no actually she fucking didn’t. Suicide isn’t a choice, nobody wants to fucking die, they crave the absence of pain and they crave an end to whatever it is they’re dealing with. Suicide doesn’t feel like a choice, it feels like the last and only fucking option.
The social media blow-up over this series has backfired immensely. Memes are being made surrounding the ‘welcome to your tape’ tag line, which in itself deepens the societal stigma and misunderstandings of mental health.
This show has made me so unbelievably fucking angry. And Clay seriously pisses me the hell off. He talks about Hannah as if she’s some fucking prize to be won, and he’s egotistical enough to genuinely believe she would still be alive if he hadn’t be so ‘afraid to love her’… like are you fucking serious mate?! This isn’t about you. If it was, the show would be called 1 fucking reason why.
The presentation of Hannah Baker’s story, whilst probably well intentioned, has achieved the opposite. It makes a mockery of those genuinely suffering with mental health issues, and suggests an inherent weakness to those who can find no other way out. It glorifies suicide as a romantic and beautiful ideal, as a revenge plot or a way of gaining attention, which is absolutely fucking wrong.
Yeah, suicide will cause havoc amongst your family and friends for a while, but eventually everyone just moves on and forgets about you, while they just keep on living. If you’re dead, you don’t get to make a point or some great romantic statement, because you’re dead, and everybody is gunna go on living with or without you. So to calculate Hannah’s actions and play the blame game only reiterates this suggestion that suicide can be utilised as a revenge plot, as if the results aren’t absolutely fucking catastrophic.
Hannah kills herself in the bath with a razor and she bleeds to death. I guess the whole point of this scene is to be brutally honest, right? Yeah well nah, it glamorises suicide as attention seeking and selfish and easy. It’s not fucking easy. It goes against every fucking instinct in your whole god damn fucking body. To glamorise that on TV presents suicide as some kind of sick joke. Like the destroyed but beautiful Ophelia floating upon the waters surface of Millais’ painting, Hannah Baker bleeds to death in a beautiful pool of her own beautiful blood, she’s even clothed for convenience.
The show pissed me off because it’s so misinformed and misguided. It devises Hannah’s experiences to play out like a game or a puzzle, motivated by intrigue and curiosity, not genuine care or worry. It glamourizes the most dark and violent aspects of human mentality and illness, and pokes fun of those who find themselves in such a dark place.
It’s false, and insulting and uninformed and inappropriately romantic. It’s unnecessarily triggering and violent and graphic. It’s complete and utter bullshit.
I’m glad I got that off my chest,