Disclaimer: Mild spoilers
Like most of the population, I just recently binge watched 13 Reasons Why. And naturally, I have something to say.
If you live under a rock and haven’t heard of this show (or the books it was based off), the SparkNotes are as follows.
A teenage girl commits suicide and leaves behind 13 recorded tapes. Each tape is a different person or reason that contributed to her decision to end her life. And, she makes sure they hear them. Heavy, I know.
But, this might be one of the most important shows to hit the Netflix-sphere to date. And not for the obvious, “you never know what someone is going through” reason.
Rather, it discusses something that most are afraid to discuss. Something that is often denounced to a lesser crime than it is. Something that until now, has never truly been portrayed realistically in mainstream television and movies.
That issue being rape.
We see it on the news occasionally. “School jock accused of rape” and more concerning, “School jock gets off with a slap on the wrists“. Rapists like Brock Turner, who are repeatedly underreported on, get away with less of a sentence they deserve because of their high-status athleticism (in that case). Protecting the perpetrator is depicted in 13 Reasons Why but, in real life, this happens all the time.
13 Reasons Why does something that other media is afraid to do. Show the realistic picture of sexual assault. Girl gets assaulted, boy gets off easy. It doesn’t shy away from the ugly, uncomfortable truth. That society has created this notion that sexual assault is less of a crime than it is. If you go to any bar after 2 a.m. I guarantee you will witness some form of it. And that’s not okay.
13 Reasons Why made me uncomfortable and it made me question a lot of things. It made me think in a way that I don’t usually think unless a news story about rape is being projected on a television screen in front of me.
As a society, we should be held accountable for our actions. It is our fault that victims are afraid to reach out. It is our fault that pompous pricks feel they can get away with such despicable acts. We put people like athletes, geniuses, “talented” individuals on a pedestal and feed them praises and encouragement that makes them feel invincible. This can be seen in all aspects of life. From the high school jock who thinks he can get any girl he wants, to the disgusting President of the United States.
13 Reasons Why made me so incredibly angry. And I know I’m not alone. To that I say good, it should be making us angry.
Make society angry enough that it actually changes the current climate.
I have not read the books so I cannot give accurate speculation on what happens to Bryce now that people know he’s a rapist. I can only hope his punishment is sufficient. But, 13 Reasons Why has done an incredible job at being real and true to actual life. So I wouldn’t bet my bottom dollar on appropriate retribution.