Thirteen Reasons Why - Explained
Thirteen Reasons Why
I’ve seen a lot of posts about Hannah being a ‘drama queen’ or overreacting to small things everyone did so I thought I’d explain a bit about what I understood.
1. Justin - Justin exaggerated what he and Hannah did. While this seems mild, it set Hannah up for a terrible high school career because she earned the reputation of 'slut’. This happens so often in schools and in the adult world and can RUIN someone’s life in a certain, if not all areas.
2. Alex - Alex put Hannah as having the best ass against Jessica as the worst. It is clear that the internet is doing its thing again and not taking time to understand things properly; this was NOT A COMPLIMENT AND HANNAH HAD EVERY RIGHT TO BE ANGRY. It was a clear violation of friendship and an obvious example of men pitting women against each other for their own benefit.
3. Jessica - I’m going more by the book here, but Jessica was on the tapes because she didn’t believe Hannah and abandoned her when she needed her. A clear example of how people can easily be lead by others and girls turning on each other because of guys. Jessica deserved to be on the tapes because she didn’t hear Hannah’s side of the story and instead took her anger out on her first friend at the school.
4. Tyler - I don’t think I need to explain much about this, but he abused his position as a photographer in school to violate boundaries for his own pleasure similar to how a lot of people in a power exploit those below them. He made Hannah feel vulnerable and took the lack of comfort she felt at school to her own bedroom.
5. Courtney - I suppose this is kind of harder to understand. Courtney was a closeted lesbian and therefore it is understandable that she was upset at the thought of her being outed before she was ready, but Hannah confided in her to help her expose someone else and instead she protected herself by further ruining Hannah. This shows the selfishness of those who feel the need to protect themselves by harming others.
6. Marcus - I haven’t seen much on Marcus honestly, but I dislike him immensely. He took advantage of Hannah because of the impression of her he had put together from rumours created by other reasons (Justin, Courtney) which is an expression of how men feel owed something from women, especially those who are seen as 'slutty’.
7. Zach - At first glance, Zach doesn’t seem too bad. At half a second glimpse, this changes. Hannah rejected him because he said something silly, a mistake, and if he had made an obvious effort to explain and apologise, he could have helped Hannah. Instead, he chooses to punish her by preventing her from receiving happiness from others. This is one of the clearest examples of how men can’t handle a woman’s right to say 'no’ and reject him…
8. Ryan - This tape is similar to that of Tyler in that he made her feel unsafe. What Tyler did was worse than Ryan, however the effect of Ryan’s actions had (in my opinion) worse consequences that Tyler’s. Ryan published her poem because he thought it was something that needed to be shared, a selfish and naive action (when considering the maturity of high school students), which meant that Hannah’s personal thoughts were no longer her own. She was not comfortable at school, home or in her own mind.
9. Clay - Though I agree when Hannah states that he shouldn’t have been on the tapes, Clay does represent 'everyone else’ who stands by and watched people like Hannah slowly fade and retreat into themselves because of the actions of others. The 'bystanders’ if you will, whose lack of part in our stories can be just as important as those who intrude on us.
10. Justin - It is evident in the series that Justin was extremely haunted by the rape at Jessica’s party and this is probably why he is gaining so much sympathy… this is also why I recommend you all READ THE BOOK. Justin stood by and watched his friend rape his girlfriend, why is he receiving more sympathy than I’ve seen for Jessica? Of course it was hard for Justin to witness that, but staying friends with Bryce and staying with Jessica without telling her is reason enough for him to be on the tapes again.
11. Jenny - Jenny was kind to Hannah, offering her a lift home, but she didn’t take responsibility for knocking down the stop sign which lead to someone’s DEATH. The guilt that Hannah was left with from this (because she was in the car) was understandably overwhelming, especially as the victim was a classmate who was blamed for drunk driving. Jenny is an example of how our reckless actions and lack of responsibility for them can destroy other lives; is that not the entire plot?
12. Bryce - Lord help you if you need an explaination.
13. Mr Porter - A perfect example of how there is not enough support out there for students (and people in general, honestly). The counsellor advising Hannah to 'move on’ after she confides in him that she was raped is one of the most haunting moments in the entire series, solidifying her reason for suicide- she had no comfort amongst her classmates, in her own home, in her mind and now, the specialist designated for dealing with situations like this bore no real interest in her problems and told her to 'move on’.
It’s extremely important for us when watching shows with topics like this to remember many things.
First, the show is not just this situation. Everything represents something more in society; each tape side is a problem in the world that leads to suicide, not only a small action by one character leading to Hannah Baker’s suicide. If you need help in understanding this, or want something else similar to this story, I recommend watching or reading 'An Inspector Calls’ by J.B. Priestly- a masterful piece tackling classism/sexism and how each person’s seemingly small actions lead to a girl’s suicide.
Second, memes are sometimes funny. The 'Clay every time he sees Tony’ memes are really funny, the 'fuck off, Courtney’ memes are funny, but the 'welcome to your tape over a slight inconvenience’ memes, they’re not. The show is raising awareness for the seriousness of suicide, not to create a fanbase of jokes about it. Promoting these after you watch the show, is a clear statement that you haven’t understood why it was made and is completely unacceptable.
Third, separate the character from the actor. Justin Prentice is NOT Bryce Walker, do not spam his comments with disgusting name calling or threatening- this is CLEARLY wrong and unnecessary. This also works the other way: Brandon Flynn is NOT Justin Foley. Just because Brandon is attractive and nice, doesn’t mean his character becomes as such.
Please don’t turn 13 reasons why into another generic element of pop culture. I love pop culture, don’t get me wrong, but we have a tendency to begin digging for meaning and giving up halfway; overusing the profound starting points of progress we find by loosely throwing them around, emptying them of all meaning.