Based on the novel with the same name written by Jay Asher, the Netflix series produced by Selena Gomez has everyone talking. 13 reasons why deals with suicide through the eyes of a teenage girl who leaves tapes explaining the reasons why she took her own life.
You never know how your words or actions impact someone’s life. Every word we speak and every action we perform can have an impact. It probably isn’t intentional, it could be a moment of frustration or a flippant comment but those words could then stamp someone for the rest of their life. That ‘harmless’ comment has the potential to run deep into a person’s psyche. You can’t be selective about the part of someone’s life you mess with, you mess with their entire life, their whole reputation.
Dear guys, I like you. But.. I am a feminist, I believe in equality, not superiority. There is a lot to be learned from Hannah’s poignant story- especially for those unacquainted with the mental and emotional damage inflicted by casual misogyny and rape culture. Stop using the word ‘banter’. Banter doesn’t justify actions, doesn’t rewrite history or change your mistakes. There needs to be more teachings about sexism, rape and harassment. I’m not talking about in school or at university either, but conversations between siblings, friends and youths.
We should all know the warning signs. I have never contemplated suicide and I don’t know anyone who has chosen to take their own life. After watching the show, I had to admit that I don’t know the warning signs, and perhaps I do know people who have thought about it, I just haven’t known it. As informed citizens we have to take responsibility and educate ourselves, we have to know what a cry for help is and the warning signs of depression and other mental health issues.
It isn’t just for kids. Another stereotypical show about school? Yet another high school full of jocks and prom queens? Absolutely not. Suicide isn’t dependent on age. Anyone can have these thoughts, any race, any gender, any sexuality, any age. As adults, we are considered the superheroes of the world, the ones with all of the answers. There is an assumption that we always know what to do and say, nobody will pick up the glass for us, we have to clean it up ourselves. We have to realise that this isn’t just a taboo among adolescents, it is a taboo for all of us, when was the last time you heard someone talk about suicide?
Don’t think what if, think what now. Nobody should have to find a lifeless body or be left wondering what could have prevented it. Think about the what now. What can I do now that could make someone feel less lonely, less afraid, less alone?
Suicide is a consequence, but what is the cause? 13 reasons why deals with mental health and suicide. Now, mental health issues are not so much of a taboo but a lot of the time we talk about mental health as the consequence, not as the catalyst. We should all have open conversations with counsellors, partners and parents about our lives. I for one love to be strong, I always put up a wall and push those closest to me away. Nobody should feel the need to do that though, talking about our problems is essential.
Hannah Baker is everyone. Hannah Baker is the main protagonist, the girl who commits suicide, but she is everyone. Everyone is fighting a battle we don’t know about, everyone makes mistakes and everybody has scars. As humans, we all want to be needed and loved, it’s just as easy to say that we all get lonely, feel lost and as though we are not enough. Have compassion for other people’s pain, know that everyone is struggling with something, no matter who we are, we are in this together.
To matter. Being on YouTube in parts has been difficult but I always remind myself of my initial goal, to spread a message. This show has just highlighted for me how much I still want to grow as an empowering force for women, we can all learn from Hannah’s story and make a mark on the world, in a big or small way. Every little counts.
Author: Scarlett Victoria Clark
Scarlett Victoria Clark is Editor-in-Chief of Scriptoeris and a multi-lingual journalist. She has also written for Cosmopolitan and Harper’s Bazaar, when not writing she enjoys travelling and shopping for (more) heels.