Should Netflix Remove 13 Reasons Why?
I’ve never tried to hide the fact that I suffer from mental illness, which includes having suicidal thoughts. While I feel this conversation has been dominated by people who believe we must handle those with mental illness with kid gloves, I’m not going to pretend like I talk for everyone who has ever had suicidal thoughts.
However, I wanted to add my voice to the cacophony that’s saying: No, 13 Reasons Why should not be removed from Netflix.
Let’s deal with the major concern that the other side has, and it is a genuine concern. Suicide for revenge is a real thing. Whether it’s revenge on a bully, a parent, or some random person, this type of suicide does exist.
13 Reasons Why shows this type of suicide “working.” All these people who had wronged her in life now knew through her death what they had done wrong.
This is a bad message that Netflix is showing to their viewers, especially since so many young and more impressionable viewers watch shows like these.
Secondly, the guidance counselor, and adults in general, are portrayed as incompetent when it comes to matters of depression. This is obviously a problem, because it discourages teenagers from reaching out when they are suffering from depression or suicidal thoughts.
For my argument, I won’t discuss how it is the responsibility of the parent to ensure their kids watch the proper material, nor will I point out that 13 Reasons Why shows the effect suicide has on the people that are left behind.
Instead, I will focus on the effect the TV show 13 Reasons Why has had.
Right now, in schools across the country, teachers are talking to their students about depression and suicide to counter what they see as the negatives of 13 Reasons Why. More than ever before, depression and suicide are being talked about in an open manner.
This is why TV shows like 13 Reasons Why are important. They bring depression and suicide out into the light and force us to talk about them.
Because, the other side is right. The show does teach that revenge suicide works. You want to counter that? Don’t get 13 Reasons Why removed, open a conversation, talk about why it’s wrong.
“Censorship reflects a society’s lack of confidence in itself.” - Potter Stewart.
Be confident that your truth can outshine 13 Reasons Why.
When the movie SPLIT came out about someone with DID (Split personality disorder) I interviewed my friend on how she felt about the negative representation.
She said, even these negative representations cause people to go out and research the truth behind the disease.
It’s the same thing here, except with depression and suicide. Teachers, principals, and others who have power over children are doing the research and feel the need to counter the negative message of 13 Reasons Why.
13 Reasons Why is a good TV show. It has some bad lessons and some good lessons. However, asking Netflix to remove the show due to the bad message misses the point. Bad messages exist in this world, and for the most part we can’t make them go away.
What we can do is counter them with facts and hope people choose the truth over the fiction.
How do you feel about 13 Reasons Why? Let me know in the comments.