TRIGGER WARNING: this discussion contains mentions of depression, abuse, suicide, rape and sexual assault.
I’m pretty passionate about my hatred for both the book and show of Thirteen Reasons Why. I have been incredibly vocal about it since the airing of the first season last year. I believe the show promotes a terrible stigma around mental health and should be pulled from Netflix. I also have an immense hatred for the book and the author. I don’t recommend either to any audience.
I thought about making this post title something catchy like ’13 reasons why you should avoid Thirteen Reasons Why’ but I realised I have way more than thirteen reasons I hate this trash fire book and show.
Some of you may not know what Thirteen Reasons Why is though. Both the show and book are about high schooler Hannah Baker. Hannah has recently committed suicide which has left her town a bit shocked – who knows why though, they were all terrible to her. One day Clay receives a box full of 13 tapes. These 13 tapes share the reasons in which Hannah has killed herself. God, even writing that feels stupid. Both versions of the text highlight the use of shock value to keep the audience engaged but all it simply does is create more stigma for everyday scenarios that youth face.
The list is pretty endless as to why I do hate it. I figured I should probably make a list which highlights some of the problems I have with both seasons of the show. Keep in mind, I have only watched 6 episodes of season one before the B grading acting did my head in. I additionally watched 30 minutes of the first episode of season two while at a friends house before they turned it off because of my bitching. All the information I have received about this show is from trusted friends and reading episode descriptions online. I am not going to risk my mental health to watch this trash fire of a show. I have, however, read the book and I can say with great confidence that it should never have been published. The romanticisation of suicide is disgusting and offensive. The author himself was clearly making a money hungry grab with shock factors throughout the book.
Disclaimer, I will focus more on the TV show throughout this post simply because I know more people have seen it despite this being a book blog.
- Graphic portrayals of suicide and rape that the directors had been warned shouldn’t be shown on screen. If a mental health professional says no you don’t do it. If multiple mental health professionals say no, you should really avoid it. Especially when the trigger warnings don’t allude at all to the content in which you’re about to expose the audience too.
- The shown hasn’t brought awareness to anything unless you mean the fact it has allowed young adults and teenagers to do something called a ‘copycat suicide’. Yes, crime shows get copycat murderers too so don’t throw that weak ass argument around here. Showing how to commit on TV is too far. That is wrong and I will scream about this.
- Neither the show or book mention the word depression. How is this bringing awareness to mental health? Depression isn’t a bad word unless you treat it as such.
- Hannah is not a good lead character nor is Clay, the person who ends up carrying both storylines. They both heavily rely on a white boy having the chance to save someone suffering from mental health, which is so false. Season two also highlights what a piece of shit Clay is, yay. He loves to victim blame, tries to force a rape survivor to speak out, treats an addict who relapses like shit and changes his opinion on Hannah simply because she was into another guy and not actually into him. Yet, no doubt, we are painted to feel sorry for the white man in this text.
- The author of the book, Jay Asher, has been accused of sexual assault. He has denied the allegations, but I believe the victim always. If you want to read more click here. But, him having sexual assault allegations completely negates the book.
- Selena Gomez supports Woody Allen. Do I need to say more? Who the hell supports a paedophile? Basically, I wouldn’t trust shit if Selena Gomez’s name is on it. Especially considering this is such a sensitive topic.
- Neither promotes getting professional help, an incredibly negative message to promote to young adults. Additionally, all the adults are terrible people and don’t support Hannah in any version of the text. A topic like this needs to be handled with such an incredible care and it wasn’t.
- Both versions of Thirteen Reasons Why make it seem like suicide is the only option. Help is never offered now is it even thought of.
- This whole concept promotes emotional abuse. Something that needs more awareness to be stopped.
- The book wasn’t even well written, why did this get made into a show? Not even the fact that the message was fucked up in the revenge porn mess of this book but becasue the writing was literally just bad. I am going to write up a list at a later date that promotes books that I feel promote depression in a way that doesn’t trigger audiences or use it as a shock factor. Watch my blog for more on this.
- The trigger warnings aren’t good at all. They don’t do enough. It’s incredibly disappointing that they don’t use the trigger warnings well enough.
- Season two of the TV show has incredible amounts of victim blaming and promotes an overall message that one white boy (Clay) can solve all your problems. It’s disgusting.
- A 13-year-old could identify the mess that is this show. Read here.
- Y’all this show basically invented victim blaming, I swear to God. I have never been so disgusted with how a topic is handled but this show just takes it a step too bloody far every single time. Why does no one tell the people in charge to stop?
- Not a single person in the book or show learns to deal with their problems. This is prominent in the show more so as we watch others deal with their own struggles. However, since the word depression is never even mentioned, it isn’t going to be successful in showing young adults what to do to cope.
- The overall reasoning behind Hannah committing suicide is connected to assault and bullying. Which I guess is why the show never mentions mental illness by name. These are not the only reason and completely invalidate anyone who is suffering.
- Season two, seriously this show got worse, has a graphic rape scene in the finale. Around the 38 minute mark. A character is brutally raped and the directors thought that was a good idea to show. I felt sick to my stomach when I read about it, I can’t imagine how triggering that would be for some to watch.
- This show and book are marketed towards 12-15-year-olds. I am disgusted at the mere idea of a 12-year-old watching this show. The triggering content and the fact that it truly makes it seem as if someone should kill themselves in order to receive attention.
- You know what annoys me the most? That the actors actually think this show is doing good. That their sweet little warning at the beginning of season two will actually deter people from watching. No. This show has done so much more harm than good. The only people I see praising it are people who haven’t suffered from mental health. They saw it’s a good wake up call, yet a week later they’ll be back to being little shits online. You know what? You should already be aware of what your words will do to someone. Words have the greatest power and if it took a B grade acting show to make you realise this, oh honey, you a fool.
- I had a big problem with the opening of season two. With the relationship between Clay and Skye. The manipulation and fact that Clay wants Skye to rely on him for when she is feeling suicidal is unbelievable. Love won’t fix your mental health and we can’t be promoting this to young audiences. It is toxic and incredibly damaging to many.
- Season two follows the journey after the book which season one is based off. You want to know what sucks the most? The show decides to depict the rapist getting away with his crimes. I know. I’m disgusted. In a world where we are pushing for Times Up and #MeToo the show wants to push survivors back into the corner. I think not, you trash fire text.
- Characters in both forms are text are meant to be around 15. Talk about unrealistic characters, oh my God. I saw one source mention this as ‘realistic teenage behaviour’. I was suffering from my own mental health at 15 but I did not act like a single one of these egotistical and narcissistic children in this show and book.
- Hannah’s suicide is supposed to punish people. This is romanticisation and glamorisation of the act. This is not okay. This is a terrible message to promote to young adults and teenagers. She wan’st to hurt people and this is emotionally abusive. Some of the people have done her incredibly wrong, this is true, but no one deserves to be emotionally abused. Hell, Hannah’s actions are the reason another student at the school tries to commit suicide (at least in the show). I struggle with understanding how anyone could support Hannah’s actions throughout Thirteen Reasons Why. She didn’t deserve what she got, no, but she shouldn’t have sent tapes out. It is basically revenge porn.
- I’m going to say this again: a white boy won’t save you via love.
- This is speaking on season two of the show since the book is standalone, but the show features an almost school shooting. In the climate of the world we live in where school shootings happen way too frequently you would think that putting one in an unfortunately popular show like Thirteen Reasons Why would be reconsidered. Especially since so many shows and movies don’t air because of this. No, Thirteen Reasons Why thrives on disgusting shock factors to bring in its audiences. However, instead of doing this well to show that the NRA needs tighter gun laws they instead decide to follow the stigma that the school wouldn’t be terrorised (because it is an act of terrorism) if someone just hugged the sad white boy in the corner. Again, Clay is the fucking saviour.
- Neither the book or show promote a positive message or that it gets better. I want to burn every copy of the book and scream from the rooftops how this didn’t deserve to get made. the messages it promotes makes me sick and I truly hope those who are triggered by the unnecessary triggering content shown by the show are okay.
We don’t need another white man saving everyone with a simple word. We need a show that shows the real effects of depression and mental health. We need action and we need a show that will show how it does get better. Thirteen Reasons Why is ultimately a glamorisation of what it is like to suffer from mental health. This show and book made a mockery of what I have gone through. I have read so many better books that showcase the effects of depression and use the word but no this bloody romanticisation of mental health gets put as the ultimate. We need to erase the stigma of mental health and suicide awareness. However, we can’t do this with shows and books like Thirteen Reasons Why only increasing the stigma that surrounds the topics.
There is so many more thoughts I have and so many more feelings. However, if I continue this blog post is only going to get longer and I’m only going to get angrier. I know many will still watch and read and promote any form of this text but I hope that you won’t. I hope that you will choose to find something that better shows mental health.