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The Important Points We All Need To Take From '13 Reasons Why'


There's been so much talk on social media in the past week or so about the new Netflix series '13 Reasons Why' and I think it's great for many reasons, so great in fact that I felt I needed to write today's post. I'm going to start off by saying that this post might be a little more serious than the ones you're used to hear on Penneys To Prada, but I think it's an important discussion to get involved with.

I actually read 'Thirteen Reasons Why' about five years ago when I was in school and it was the type of book that you read and never really forget. The ideas and thoughts I had whilst reading that book have stayed with me and when I saw they were turning it into a TV series, I was both excited, because it's the story is so brilliant and thought provoking, but also kind of nervous, just in case the TV series didn't do the book any justice. 

As soon as the series was available on Netflix last week, I think it took me a total of three days to watch all 13 episodes that are each an hour long, which was pretty impressive as I had quite a bit of college work to get done at the same time. I was pleasantly surprised by the TV series, it definitely strayed from the book quite a bit, but it still got the messages that were so important to me the first time I read the book across perfectly.

I think seeing the events of Hannah Baker's story unfold was a lot more hard hitting than reading it, but that's exactly what was needed. The producers of the series didn't shy away from the rape scenes that make your stomach turn, and they didn't gloss over how cruel teenagers can really be. '13 Reasons Why' is hard to watch, and it should be. It shoves these real life issues in your face and makes you really think about them, and how you would feel in that situation.

The main reason I think it's fantastic that Netflix made this series is that it will reach a whole new generation of teenagers who need to be made aware of issues such as bullying, mental health and rape. My sister, for example, is almost 17 and is completely hooked on the show, but had never heard of the book before. It's creating a huge discussion online about how your actions can affect others and I really do hope it resonates with people enough that the next time they go to make fun of someone, or start a nasty rumour, they'll think twice.

I've experienced my fair share of unnecessary nastiness growing up, and looking back it amazes me how cruel children can be. Maybe that's why I loved the book so much, because in a way I could relate to some of what Hannah Baker (the main character) went through. When I was about 14/15, there was a horrible rumour spread about me, and for years people would bring it up, so I know how it feels to have to learn to laugh it off, and pretend like it doesn't affect you. I also can relate to having friends stab you in the back, or completely desert you all together, as I'm sure many of you can too. 

Now I was by no means a saint back then either, and I was definitely guilty of being a bitch when it just wasn't needed. I learnt to give as good as I got, and developed a seriously tough skin, so that when people hurtled insults my way, I could laugh them off and not give them a second thought. Looking back, I wish that I could have kept some of the soft naivety that children are gifted with, and I think maybe if '13 Reasons Why' had been on TV, maybe people would have thought twice about their actions.

So by now you may be bored of my rambling and asking, 'so what are the important points we all need to take from this TV show?', well here they are:

The Important Points

  • Be as kind as you can. Obviously, if someone is being a total dick to you, you don't have to shower them with love, but if you can help it, don't fight fire with fire, just walk away.
  • Sexual assault is never the victims fault and you should never feel ashamed enough to stay silent. I have a whole post on consent that you can read right here.
  • Remember that everyone is going through their own stuff, and you probably have no idea what that is, so give people a break once in a while.
  • Talk to people about how you're feeling. Bottling up is never a good idea, and as they say, 'a problem shared is a problem halved'.
  • That super cheesy quote, 'It gets better', is actually true and if you can just put your head down and push through the bad times as best you can, you'll look back one day and be happy you didn't give up. 
  • Putting things into perspective is easier said than done, but try to ask yourself 'Will this matter 5 or 10 years from now?' because being a teenager can make any small problem feel like the end of the world, but chances are, if you look at the bigger picture, it's just a small little bump in the road.
I think those last two points are the most important ones that I took from reading 'Thirteen Reasons Why'. I'm sure you can all think back to being a teenager (or if you are a teenager now), and remember how the smallest thing could feel like the end of the world. Your friend not talking to you at lunch because you bought the same dress as her was enough to make you cry yourself to sleep, or that boy you fancied not texting you back was enough to make you question every detail about your appearance. Being a teenager is seriously tough, especially with all of those out of control hormones and I wouldn't go back there for all the tea in China!

At the time I was reading the book, I was going through a very hard time with my mental health. Reading about Hannah Baker, and the thirteen reasons that resulted in her deciding to take her own life and the impact it had on the people who loved her, made me realise that nothing, no matter how bad it may seem, is ever worth ending a life for. I think back to how low I felt around that time, and just wish I could time travel and tell myself how much better it all gets.

I hope that this Netflix series gives that same mindset to the younger generations and that it helps people to speak out if they need help, be kinder to others and have more hope for the future. If you have been affected by any of the issues I've discussed in this post, or in '13 Reasons Why', there is a website that will give you the details of organisations that can help in your country -

Have you been watching '13 Reasons Why', or have you read the book? I'd love to hear your thoughts on it, so please do leave a comment below, or on Facebook and Instagram!

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