My feelings about 13 Reasons Why changed from the first season to the second.
The following is an unsolicited guest opinion piece, reprinted with permission from the author.
The first season of Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why called viewers to greater consciousness about bullying and harassment, about how we may affect others without intention, ignoring what each individual person is going through. The first season created empathy and awakened concern, awareness, and involvement in the viewer.
The second season teaches us the exact opposite. It takes the viewer’s hope and expectations away. It shows how money and power can buy the way out of consequences, how bullies will always be bullies and the bullied will always be bullied. The second season gets the viewer thinking, “Of course Hannah killed herself. In these circumstances, who wouldn’t? I may as well do so, too.” It makes the viewer empathize with Tyler, a kid who is about to shoot his classmates at the dance. It almost makes you think, “Yes man, do it! Kill them all! Nobody else will ever help you.”
Tyler’s character was abandoned long before the last episode. He was the one who told the truth, the one who cared. And he was left alone. Totally alone. What happens to him in the bathroom…I have never seen anything so horrifying in my life. I’ve seen rape depicted in movies before, but not like this. I cried my eyes out, couldn’t catch my breath, couldn’t stop shivering. It was not only unnecessary, but was cruel and sick. I cannot imagine what this scene could do to underage kids, or to anyone who has been through a similar experience.
I spent the day after the premiere talking to my patients’ families, to my working team, to the counselors I work with at every school, to prevent children from watching this.
The second season is a trigger for suicide. It leaves the viewer hopeless and in pain for humankind.
I am sickened by how so many people (actors, producers, writers, directors, Netflix and everyone involved) could participate in creating and airing such a thing, despite its consequences. It seems like the only thing that matters to Netflix is making money and trending on social media — even if it means viewers suffering panic attacks, breakdowns, and considering or even attempting suicide.
I chose to do something to help kids, those who are left alone, who feel left out, who feel broken and hopeless. I choose to make a difference, to teach children about the value of life, about how it’s worth living. I work against bullying, against depression and suicide. This is my job…but the second season of 13 Reasons Why is one reason why I have to work so damn hard. As of Friday, May 18th, my job got a lot harder and more complicated.
I live in Argentina. Bullying in my country is bad, but is not nearly as bad as it is in the U.S. And 13 Reasons this is part of the reason why. Air it, make it seem natural, and it will happen, and it will keep on happening. What kids learn by watching 13 Reasons Why is: You will be stalked. You will be harassed. You will be bullied. You will be threatened and beaten up. You will be raped. You will be killed. No one, especially no adult, will help you. And no one will care.
We need to help and protect children until they can protect themselves. As the grownups at Liberty High failed at doing so, so did this show. It wasn’t about protecting the children, it was about money, and power, front pages and trending topics. Children should not be exposed to this kind of graphic content, or to feeling the way I felt. Children should never have to feel hopeless, that no one cares. But 13 Reasons Why teaches them the opposite. It’s suicide propaganda. It is by far the most outrageous show I’ve ever seen.
I read the reviews. Many, many people are disgusted and offended. So many experienced horrible things while watching the last episode. Are Netflix’s profits worth it? Really?