I’m usually not the kind of person who jumps on the train of the newest fads or watches the shows that everyone else is watching, but.. I broke my own rules and my goodness am I happy I did. If you haven’t heard of the Netflix series, “13 Reasons Why”, stop what you’re doing, head over to Netflix, and check it out. It’s seriously life-changing and worth all the hype! I crushed the series in two days, and for once I can say it wasn’t a waste of my time. Here are 13 reasons why I think everyone needs to watch this series at least once. (ps, no spoilers included)*
- It really puts into perspective how your actions and words can affect another person’s life. Calling someone fat, telling someone they’re stupid, slut shaming a girl; even though you may think these are just words, you never know what another person is going through and the harm these words can have on them.
- Rape. A topic that is often pushed to the back of the closet, is brought out into the light and there is definitely no filter on it (which is exactly the way it should be). This show gives it to you straight and doesn’t tippy-toe around the subject like other shows and movies do. It shows how rape changes a person’s life forever. It’s not okay. The series also depicts the rapist as someone you wouldn’t think would be one, and shows the consequence of this as well.
- There’s something in this show that everyone can relate to. Whether you were the bully or bullied, you get to see both sides and it really makes you second guess your actions and will hopefully change the way you act towards and talk about other people.
- This show starts conversations. The number of people I have talked to about this show in the past week is insane, which is such a good thing. It’s starting conversations about hard topics, topics that are usually not talked about in public and that is such a beautiful thing. Yes, topics like rape, suicide, self-harm, child abuse, etc. are ugly and horrible, but they need to be talked about so teenagers and kids know that they are not the only ones going through these things.
- It helps adults who didn’t have the same technology we had growing up understand cyberbullying, and see how it can have such a huge impact on someone’s life. Social media is a huge part of our generation, and our parents who didn’t grow up in the same cyber infused world we did, now have an insight into what it’s like through this show.
- This series also shows teens, kids and anyone really that what you say and put on the internet is now there forever. The pictures you post, the things you write, are on display. It also shows that Facebook, Instagram and other social media apps are filtered versions of people’s lives. Even by looking at all the pictures and posts a person puts online, you could still have no idea what’s going on in that person’s life.
- Teenagers don’t think the same way adults do. This point was brought up in the “behind the scenes” episode. Something that may seem small and insignificant to parents, teachers and other adults, could actually be something huge and trivial for a teenager. This show helps people understand that sometimes the little things, could be the things that push a person over the tipping point.
- Slut shaming needs to stop. Women are not objects or things. Being sexy or attractive should not be the most important aspect or trait that a girl or women can possess. Objectifying women, just opens the door for other people to do the same. No teenage girl should ever be viewed in this way. Calling a girl “easy” or “tight” or rating girls on a scale of 1-10, are things that need to stop.
- This show will make you reflect on your high school self, whether it was a couple months ago, 10 years ago or if you’re still in high school now. This series makes you think back on the things you did right and wrong and what you can do differently now. It teaches you how you can learn from your past actions, teach others, start conversations and hopefully shape your future decisions.
- Teenager’s brains aren’t developed fully like adults and they aren’t always able to explain their feelings in words. All signs of depression or suicide should be taken seriously. Dropping of grades, changes in personality, aggression, etc. are all signs that can often be overlooked. Teenagers don’t always understand that the things they are feeling are treatable or can be helped. There are millions of options out there.
- I hope watching this series helps teens, kids and even adults know they are not alone. Opening up, asking for help, or even offering your ear to someone in need can make a difference. Looking back, I wish I would have. I wish I would have understood the feelings I had did not make me broken, or unlikable. They made me human and it would have been perfectly fine for me to tell someone I needed help.
- Another topic that is brought up in the “behind the scenes” episode is about being open about sex and sexuality between parents and children. Teenagers need to learn about consent to understand what is okay and what is not okay. Young boys should be taught to ask a girl, “do you want to have sex?”. If they can’t build up the nerve to simply ask that question and get a clear “yes”, then they shouldn’t be having sex in the first place.
- Personally, this show impacted me the most in the suicide episode. Like the rape scenes, the series does not shy away from showing the main character, Hannah’s suicide. This scene in the show is absolutely unbearable and uncomfortable to watch. Going through high school, I was very depressed and more than once thought about ending my life. Watching this episode showed me so many things. Its rawness took away the “easiness” that I use to view suicide as. Ending your own life may end the pain you are feeling at that exact moment, but you leave behind so many people that are now hurting in your absence. Suicide is not an easy way out. Suicide is forever. Suicide doesn’t only take your life, it takes someone’s sister’s life, someone’s daughter’s life, someone’s best friend’s life. Suicide should never be an option.
I hope this helps convince you to check out “13 Reasons Why”, and if it didn’t, hopefully, my reasons gave you a few things to think about.
It’s okay to not be okay. You won’t always feel the way you are feeling right now. People care about you even when you don’t think so. And you have an amazing future ahead of you. Keep pushing.