I haven’t watched it yet myself, but I’ve heard it be described as intense, and important. You can find it on Netflix and the link to the full article is below:
“13 Reasons Why is about misogyny, rape culture, casual sexism and the kinds of things that go on in the lives of girls, but “no one ever does anything about” – or is even willing to acknowledge, much less discuss. It has been interesting to see, in the firestorm of debate that has followed the show, so much emphasis being placed on the series’ graphic depiction of the main character’s suicide, yet so little attention paid to those “13 reasons why” she actually decides to end her life.
Hannah Baker is raped. She witnesses her friend Jessica being raped by the same boy. Prior to this, Hannah is photographed during a make-out session – a photo of a private moment which is then non-consensually shared by the boys on the basketball team at her school. After that, she becomes known as a “slut”.
She is put on a “Hot List” and described as having the school’s “best ass” – something boys tell her she should be proud of. Her behind is grabbed in public. When she goes to tell her school counselor about her rape and she refuses to name the boy, he tells her that without a name he can’t report the crime, and counsels her to just get over it.
Is any of this uncommon? Over the top? Unfortunately, no.
Over two and a half years, talking to more than 200 girls for my book American Girls, I heard story after story that echo Hannah’s experience – stories of cyberbullying and sexual assault, of sexual harassment on and offline, of anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation caused by abuses stemming from what can only be described as sexism.
Girls in Los Angeles told me about a girl whose naked image was screenshotted by a boy who then non-consensually shared the photo with “the entire baseball team”. “He still has it and won’t delete it,” said the girl in my book. There is ample evidence to support the verity of the stories of these girls, research charting a precipitous rise in cyberbullying, sexual harassment, sexual assault and, yes, suicide in recent years.
And while there are many wonderful school counselors and administrators who do their best to help kids in trouble, there is also an extensive body of reporting on how institutions fail girls and young women when they try to report sexual assault. “It’s reality,” said a girl in a post on Seventeen.comabout girls’ reactions to 13 Reasons Why. “And the people that don’t like it are super clueless to what high school and middle school are like.”
Is the show appropriate for middle schoolers to watch? In my view, no. As a parent myself, I don’t think it would be advisable for anyone under the age of 16 to see the show, especially without an adult on hand to discuss it. But both high schoolers and middle schoolers are watching 13 Reasons Why.
At a middle school in New Jersey last week, when I asked an auditorium full of nearly 600 seventh and eighth graders whether they had seen it, almost every hand went up – something which surprised the principal and teachers.”