I tried not to get too involved in the hype of the series but when i watched it i could not stop and of course it deserves a blog post because it speaks to so many issues which i can widely relate to with my course with linThetho zoBomi. So take note because as much as this is a great series which grabs one from the get go of :
“Hey it’s Hannah, Hannah Baker”
It has underlying of issues of rape, mental health, suicide and bullying which i really want to unpack. Firstly this series was amazing, it acted as a real eye opener for me and it illustrated how people deal with their feelings of depression and eventually suicide differently. This series resonated deeply with myself because i continuously struggle with depression and i genuinely felt sorry for Hannah because i always have to ask the questions of: why does life suck and why do bad things happen to good people?
From watching this series i came to realise that people handle depression in very different ways; Everyone experiences depression and suicide differently, that’s why mental disorders are hard to diagnose and treat. Hannah’s experience with depression and suicide is entirely accurate, even if it isn’t what you went through. Which is something i constantly had to remind myself when watching Hannah almost overreact in some situations because honestly i hated high school- but i got over it and i am truly on the road of discovering myself in university. Yes i still have my dark days and dark thoughts but i push through it and i almost wish that Hannah did too. Depression is different for everyone. Just because someone doesn’t go through it the way Hannah, or Alex, or Skye, or whatever other kid did, doesn’t make it inaccurate. It’s sad because there are thousands of kids who go through similar things, and it’s not just about depression and suicide: it’s about bullying, sex and consent, friendship, relationships and feelings, LGBTQ, taking responsibility, the general high school drama, it just shows how one little thing can ruin someone’s world.
I think it portrayed the fact that the way we interact with people has a greater effect than we realise. And a tag line from the show is that “you don’t know what’s going on in someone else’s life”. It’s showing how vulnerable teenagers are in this stage of adolescence and they listen and absorb everything that is said. And maybe we shouldn’t shut them down when they come forward with a problem. What seems small to you, could be the whole world to someone else. It portrays perfectly that everything you say and do has a consequence. This ties in deeply with bullying, suicide, depression and mental illness and how these topics really need to be openly discussed and not kept under wraps like it has been.
Regarding rape and it’s horrific appearence in the series; When Bryce (Justin Prentice) rapes Hannah’s former best friend Jessica (Alisha Boe), we see it from three points of view: first from the perspective of Hannah, hidden drunk and terrified in the closet, hearing sounds and seeing glimpses through the slats of the closet door; from the perspective of Jessica’s boyfriend Justin, who briefly bursts into the room to see Bryce draping himself over Jessica’s semi-conscious body; and finally in Jessica’s hazy recollection, with Bryce’s hands pinning her to the bed. The rape is never shown in detail, but it is disturbing and visceral, and framed in a way that keeps the audience constantly aware that they’re watching something private and horrible.
Far more graphic is Bryce’s rape of Hannah, which we see very clearly. As televised rapes go, it’s not an overly sexualized scene — there’s no focus on writhing limbs or naked bodies — but it is very clear in depicting every moment of what’s happening. The camera stays on Hannah’s face, and we see her flinch in pain at the moment of penetration. We watch her expression glaze over as she starts to disassociate from the trauma. Afterwards, we see fingerprint-shaped bruises all over her body.
13 Reasons Why is, among other things, a show about the concept of the male gaze, the idea that when our culture tells visual stories, we assume the viewer by default to be masculine, heterosexual, and predatory. Under the male gaze, men watch, and women are watched, and the observed woman is an objectified sexual object.It’s about the gaze, and about voyeurism, and violations of privacy, and about what it feels like to be a girl living in an objectified body under the patriarchy.
Overall even if the show only offers a small insight into one persons depression and suicide, for those who have not been impacted by it-i think that makes it a great show. It starts a conversation and could led some people to rethink their behaviour toward other people. Ask people if they are okay, or look at themselves in a different way.
Hannah’s mental health is never seriously discussed in “13 Reasons Why” – which is particularly shocking for a show revolving around teen suicide…Additionally, I found there to be an alarming lack of trigger warnings considering the content. For these reasons, “13 Reasons Why” could cause more harm than good amongst the very audience for whom it intends to advocate. “13 Reasons Why” isn’t particularly hopeful or optimistic about the future, and it’s clear the series was not made for someone like me. As much as this was very emotional draining it was a curve ball and a complete learning experience. Give it a try and let me know.