*I would like to disclaim for internet trolls and internet humanitarians that my title regards to girls to relate to the main character of Hannah Baker. This is not a sexist or misogynistic thing, this is purely to emphasise and talk about Women’s Issues.*
‘Thirteen Reasons Why’ was written by novelist Jay Asher and adopted into a TV show by Netflix. On March 31st, the whole of season one was released on Netflix, with thirteen whole episodes to binge or spread out for viewer entertainment. Thirteen Reasons Why focuses on a girl called Hannah, who killed herself and left thirteen tapes listing the motives that led her to that decision. Whilst watching it, I was shocked by how relatable the whole series is and whilst talking to fellow girl pals, I realised how each one of us had experienced something similar or the same to Hannah and how serious that is.
Now if you are still watching this series or are blissfully unaware of what happens in it, this article will contain spoilers that are not for the faint hearted. If you wish to continue with this, please feel free to comment.
Tape One- Justin and the Kiss
Tape One revolves around Hannah and her first crush, Justin- who after a bit of shared flirtation over text, decide to meet in a local park. They kissed, Hannah’s first kiss too- and Justin told everybody that they did a lot more than that. This in turn earned Hannah the reputation of a ‘slut’ and lowered her self esteem. Talking to my friends, I realised that when we all had our first kisses, more was made up about the scenario or more was insinuated.
A simple kiss was seen as too frigid and a lot more was said to the friendship group of the person it was with. In my personal experience, as I didn’t want to do anything more with the person, rumours were spread I was just a gold-digger. Like Hannah, this situation has a huge butterfly effect, as rumours start and fail to dissolve.
Tape Two- Alex and the List
Hannah became close to a girl named Jessica and a boy called Alex. Alex started a list awarding Hannah the title of ‘Best Ass’ pushing her slutty reputation and also causing a huge rift between her and Jessica, as Jessica used to date Alex and was awarded ‘Worst Ass’. Now it’s not necessarily the list we can relate to here, but the boy causing an issue between two girls. When a bad break up has occurred, it seems to be standard ‘Fuckboy’ logic to mess with the best friend to get the ex. However, this always ruins the friendship of the girls and gives them both a bad status.
Tape Three- Jessica and the Scars
Linking to the above situation, Jessica slaps Hannah for the list Alex published. This leaves a physical scar on Hannah’s forehead, but many emotional ones, too. Jessica doesn’t believe Hannah when she says nothing happened with Alex, which is relevant for today. Girls are more likely to get angry at the other girl than the guy, because they see the competition and not the one making issues. Losing a friendship is extremely damaging, especially to somebody that already feels like they have lost the world.
Tape Four- Tyler the Stalker
Tyler took photos of Hannah and even followed her to her home to take some. Hannah had told Tyler religiously to stop harassing her and Tyler didn’t listen as he wanted those photos for his own project- regardless of Hannah’s feelings. And this is so for many girls, who are consistently harassed by boys they’ve been involved with for their own gain. No should mean no whatever the situation is. But sadly it’s common for girls to fall under to persistence and that’s just not fair.
Tape Five- Courtney the Snake
Hannah assumed Courtney was her friend, just as many of us have assumed from other girls. However, one night Hannah and Courtney got drunk and Tyler photographed the pair kissing (in the book, Courtney gives Hannah a massage.) To save herself from rumours, Courtney throws Hannah under the bus and tells everyone she tried to get her to have a threesome, thus building Hannah’s reputation. Courtney is unapologetic, smug and acts victimised, irritating Hannah and losing her trust. I think for every girl, or even guy, there is always a fake friend that can’t accept responsibility for what they have done, so they have to point the blame at others. And in my opinion, there’s nothing worse than people who always play the victim card for attention, especially when they are not the ones suffering.
Tape Six- Marcus making his Mark
After Marcus hears the rumours about Hannah, he tries to take advantage and gets angry at her when she rejects him. It is common for rumours to go around about girls, and for guys to approach them like “I hear you do this” and when you reject their advances, they get angry and butt-hurt like they are entitled to you and you owe them something. You always get it from girls who indulge in the fact impure things are being said about you, except they just spread the rumours further and create more tendency for stage one. The sad thing is, characters like Marcus are the most common and still aren’t seen as a threat. They are still seen as locker room boys who are just looking out for themselves with no strings attached. ‘Boys will be Boys.’ But these are the kinds of guys who can really damage somebody deep down, because either way pain is caused and damage is done.
Tape Seven- Zach and his Revenge
Zack tried to comfort Hannah after what happened with Marcus, even though it was a dare. He started leaving little compliments and notes of encouragement for her, which Hannah needs to get through the day as she feels low. When Hannah doesn’t reply, Zack stops sending them as revenge and Hannah goes on a downward spiral.
Now this really upset me as many a time, people do dares that upset people but Zack was genuine about Hannah and Hannah took that for granted to boost her self esteem, girls- please don’t do that to guys it’s horrible and manipulative. But, many a time we rely on things such as validation and compliments to keep us going, but we don’t ask for it and in a way, we make ourselves suffer. Zack shouldn’t have walked away without hearing Hannah out, but many times this is what people do and it is cutting and disgusting of people to do this instead of communicating.
Tape Eight- Ryan and the Poem
Ryan gained Hannah’s trust and stole a poem she wrote where she details personal issues. He did publish it anonymously, however, many noticed it was Hannah and mocked her for it. Having someone you trust share your personal problems to the world makes you feel like not even your closest friends are safe- and it’s an experience that makes you feel like you are drowning.
Tape Nine- Clay
Clay didn’t actually do anything wrong- he was just vital to the story. Him and Hannah made out at a party and she had a panic attack and break down because of the fact she had kissed Justin, been called a slut and seen things she shouldn’t have seen. She rages at Clay and tells him to leave and he does- but secretly she wanted him to stay but she couldn’t explain herself in her anxious state.
Sufferers of Anxiety in particular will know this feeling. It’s the not being able to explain yourself, the wanting somebody there but feeling like they don’t deserve the stuff you’re going through. It’s horrible and intense, but please talk to somebody instead of closing yourself off, please.
Tape Ten- Justin’s Choice
After Clay leaves, Hannah hides in the closet relieving herself from her panic attack and witnesses Jessica being raped by Bryce. Justin knew about the rape and let it happen. Again, the bro code, the ‘boys will be boys’. There have been many news stories where girls have been taken advantage of because their boyfriend let their best friend do it. Or where boyfriends have taken a blind eye to their girlfriends needs purely because they don’t want to get involved. What happened to Jessica sickened me to my core and watching it happen even though it’s acting, shook me. The fact the poor girl thought it was her boyfriend is just so barbaric.
Tape Eleven- Sheri and her Regret
Sheri hits a stop sign whilst driving Hannah home and doesn’t tell the police, leading to a car accident where a fellow student dies. This led Hannah with so much guilt, that she couldn’t live with herself. It led me to think of when girls start cheating on their boyfriends and you’re left to not say anything because you are too scared of the way you’ll be treated if you come forward. It’s a moral dilemma, you want to do the right thing- but you just can’t.
Tape Twelve- Barbaric Bryce
Bryce rapes Hannah in his hot tub, she says no several times and tries to push him off but he shifts her against the corner so she’s trapped. Rape happens every day, everywhere. Everybody knows somebody who has been sexually abused or raped. And sadly, there are still some people who think if a girl wears a certain item of clothing, it’s okay. It’s not. Unless you get a yes, don’t even go near her.
There are some charities that can help you if these things have happened to you:
- Rape Crisis England and Wales: https://rapecrisis.org.uk/
- The Survivors Trust: http://thesurvivorstrust.org/
- Victim Support: https://www.victimsupport.org.uk/crime-info/types-crime/rape-sexual-assault-and-sexual-harassment
Tape Thirteen- Mr Porter and his denial
Hannah told Mr Porter that she secretly desired to kill herself and informed him of what happened with Bryce. Mr Porter told Hannah that unless she was willing to press charges, she should get on with it and move on. This is testament to the way institutions deal with rape, they see it as an every day thing and very rarely pursue the case. Also school councillors have a reputation of only doing right by the school and making sure the pupils know how to balance their school work among the personal issues- they don’t actually care or help with them like they are supposed to do and often that’s why students don’t pursue emotional or mental support when dealing with things. It’s really no wonder self harm statistics are so high amongst teenagers when there’s a very fake support system of help within the education system.
I would really encourage anybody that is struggling to come forward, everything will be okay and worth it in the end.