Trigger warning: suicide, bullying.
5 minutes ago I finished watching the final episode of Thirteen Reasons Why, the new Netflix series. And if you haven’t yet, I will recommend you to watch it. Not because it is such an amazing series, or that the actors are great, or that the storyline is so intriguing. No. Because, it is one of the most important things I’ve seen all year. As someone who had to deal with bullying myself, seeing this series get so much attention… I can’t even describe how it makes me feel.
If you haven’t heard of it yet, Thirteen Reasons Why is based on the book by Jay Asher (which I’ve read at least twice), and is about Hannah Baker. Hannah Baker made 13 tapes on which she explains why she decided to end her own life. It is about the aftermath of the horrible events that lead her to make this decision.
A couple of years ago I heard about this girl who made a video saying she was going to kill herself, the video went viral and the girl was found dead. I found myself crying at night, simply for the fact that that girl found life so horrible that the prospect of dying was better than to survive another day.
It hurts me so much, that still in those 10 years since Thirteen Reasons Why came out, this is so powerful and especially necessary. That still people don’t see how or why their words and actions affect other people. The weak, who are hunted like they’re not worth any good words. The strong who use their words to put themselves above others.
This issue, the bullying is not solvable just by making the victims stand up for themselves. As a victim myself, I know how it feels like you have nowhere to go, no safe space, no-one to turn to. Even if there are people around you that are willing to talk, going to them is such a huge step. Therefore the only solution is to make the people around them aware, aware of the consequences, aware of the pain. This isn’t an issue that is easily solvable but it must come from us, from all of us.
This series is a step in the right direction. It shows how poisonous it can be, how easy it is to do the wrong thing when you want to do the right thing, how a word, an action can hurt. We need to talk, and make this issue approachable, make ourselves approachable. If you are dealing with this, talk, to me or to someone that you care about. Find help, find a shoulder to cry on, I know it’s hard, but if we don’t change society and it’s ways, this is possibly the only way.
If you want to read more about this topic I will highly recommend reading the book Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher and Wonder by R.J.Palacio. If you want to watch something, I will definitely recommend the Netflix adaptation of Thirteen Reasons Why (2017) and the movie A Girl Like Her (2015). I will trigger warn you, Thirteen Reasons Why contains not only bullying and suicide but also sexual assault and rape.
This series is real and it hurts, but it’s important.
What is your opinion on this topic? How do you think we can solve this issue? Is representation in movies and books the way to go? Do you have any recommendations?
This is the first post in hopefully a long series of discussions about books, blogging, real-life issues and representation.