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13 Opinions on 13 Reasons Why

13 Opinions on 13 Reasons Why

13 Reasons Why has everyone talking, but is it for the right reasons? (via Annika Polatsek, sophomore)
Netflix's latest addition, 13 Reasons Why, has torn down quite a few social barriers.  The story follows a high school teenager named Clay Jensen as he attempts to uncover the rationale behind his classmate Hannah Baker's decision to end her own life.  Hannah left behind 13 tapes in attempt to explain the people and events that led to her irreversible decision.  While the show depicts the harsh reality of teenage suicide and sexual assault in a very accessible and raw manner, some argue that the portrayal could be potentially dangerous to viewers.  Controversy surrounding 13 Reasons Why includes the idea that some scenes are too graphic or that the storyline glamorizes a harsh reality in order to fit the TV screen.  On the other hand, a show with this content on a frequently visited platform such as Netflix creates an instantaneous, essential sense of awareness and exposure on a large scale.  Additionally, the widespread viewings have opened discussion on topics that were formerly shied away from.  What comes out of these discussions is the question of whether 13 Reasons Why is a means for spreading suicide awareness or an unfortunate glamorization of many people's tragic realities.  Here are 13 Pine Crest Upper School student and faculty views on the hit series:  
  1. "Portraying suicide in this accessible way is important because it is something that happens a lot more frequently than is recognized by the media. The subject is often not talked about, and it should be because it is a reality for children and adults all around the world." -Madeline Turner, senior
  2. "It is extremely important for the Pine Crest community to watch a show like this.  We are lucky enough to attend  a school where it is not particularly common for people to go out of their way to bully or hurt others.  However, it is important for us to become aware that this is commonplace in other school environments.  Becoming exposed to this type of mistreatment toward others could help teach students against it." -Olivia Schwartz, junior
  3. "The graphicness of certain scenes creates a very honest form of awareness.  The show does not hide or shy away from the brutality of suicide and the events that can lead a person to it." -Caroline Shrock, junior
  4. "Having watched the series and worked with adolescents who are experiencing thoughts of self-harm, I applaud Netflix for tackling a topic that most programming glosses over. However, it is important for our community to recognize that a person's decision to end his or her suffering is intensely personal and should not be blamed on those left behind. There is ALWAYS another option. Talk to someone you trust, talk to someone who can help, or talk to any adult who can get you help. Take care of each other, listen to each other, and remember that your words are powerful, so use them wisely." -Krista Promntiz, Assistant Head of Upper School and Dean of Student Services
  5. "I think we can all relate to the storyline in some way because of the show's raw portrayal of teen emotion.  Because the creators didn't hold back, it drives the point of us needing to be more sensitive and aware of our surroundings to prevent bullying." -Lauren Pollock, sophomore
  6. "It is really a sad thing that people are just now coming to terms with suicide because of this show even though it has been a longstanding issue.  Another negative aspect is that the show has [is] promot[ing] [jokes in] reference to suicide on social media.  On the other hand, the entire storyline is meant to bring awareness to the warning signs [of suicide] that may be easily overlooked. Though it is good to finally bring exposure to the tragic subject, we should not only care about [the topic of suicide] in response to the show. " Stefy Grau, junior
  7. "Thirteen Reasons Why does a good job of showing that seemingly small things can affect people in a big way.  You never know what people have gone through in the past and how it will all build up." -Tessa Gulley, junior
  8. "The show has created discussion on many social media platforms which.  Though some of the comments and jokes that people make about the show are inappropriate, the overall show does a good job of reminding people that every interaction with anyone counts." Andie Weinberg, junior
  9. "This is a really good thing for suicide awareness in general; however, some of the ways that Hannah Baker's struggles were portrayed seemed overly dramatic just to fit the screen." Bryce Emanuel, sophomore
  10. "I think the show spreads awareness about the realities of different situations in different high schools.  It should be more widely known that this does happen and anyone who watches should take it as a learning experience." -Chris Marzouca, senior
  11. "Based on having read the book, I think that the story expresses a sad and raw reality.  The concept of walking through the experience of a person who receives clues to uncovering what lead this young girl to feeling such an extreme way is an interesting approach.  The overall emphasis is not only on the suicide but on the effect of those that remain.  People who thought they had nothing to do with the tragedy come to realize that they may have contributed. " -Seniora Gomez
  12. "The spread of awareness is undoubtably a good thing, but I am worried that this show might give people the idea that suicide and leaving indication of who to blame is the way to fix things and draw attention to injustice." -Dani Gross, junior
  13. "After finishing the show, I've taken both good and bad things from it.  The producers and directors did a good job of spreading suicide awareness and showing how small instances can build up.  But in the plotline itself, Hannah could have done a lot of things to stop what was happening to her while she was alive, especially talking to a parent.  I hope that viewers recognize that." -Julie David, junior
Many of the students interviewed saw the benefits of the show, for which the series has been praised and advertised.  But the dangers of overdramatizing the serious topic of suicide for the sake of entertainment has caused some to take a second look.  Regardless to the conflicting sides, due to the celebrity influence of Selena Gomez as an Executive Producer and the accessible platform of Netflix, this show has invited in many viewers and opened up a dialogue.

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