Why ’13 Reasons Why’ Is Such A Cultural Phenomenon
13 Reasons Why faces backlash from people on social media, and things are getting pretty ugly.
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– Pijama Squad (@pijamasquad) April 30, 2017
It’s been only four weeks since Netflix dropped the whole Season 1 of 13 Reasons Why, but it seems like the show based on the book by Jay Asher has been around for years.
On top of being a critically-lauded TV series, 13 Reasons Why is facing backlash from people on social media for seemingly glorifying suicide. And while showrunners strongly dismiss that glorying suicide was their goal, doing so would only aggravate suicide rates in the U.S.
In America, suicide is the second leading cause of death for people aged 10-24-years, according to the Jason Foundation.
13 Reasons Why writer defends show’s graphic depiction of suicide https://t.co/l4aTJIaSiY pic.twitter.com/o0zR9ynQyE
– Education Review AU (@EdReviewAU) April 21, 2017
13 Reasons Why centers on a high school teenager, Hannah Baker, who takes her own life and explains her decision to commit suicide in a series of cassette tapes. And many critics say the Netflix series does it in a way that allegedly shows the bright side of suicide.
And while 13 Reasons Why has undoubtedly caused a stir among people – reviving cassette tapes in the process – it has already become a cultural phenomenon.
The phrase said on a cassette tape by Hannah as she reveals her latest antagonist, “Welcome to your tape” is being widely used on social media, and concerned parents and professionals alike are weighing in if 13 Reasons Why is appropriate for teenagers to watch. Meanwhile, merchandise shops are cashing in on clothing with 13 Reasons Why-related prints, while Instagrammers and YouTubers are posting images and videos related to the new cultural phenomenon.
bloop: RT 13ReasonsPostss: why 13 Reasons Why destroyed me pic.twitter.com/hXngDns50v
– zecal — JFB/UNFOLL!? (@juffleit) April 21, 2017
But 13 Reasons Why fans who want to get in on the trend have gone beyond that. As it has become a trend to explain different things in 13 Reasons Why language – ranging from “13 Reasons Why condoms should be used” to “13 Reasons Why my cat is sad” – 17-year-old teenager Daniel Sanchez got inspired by the Netflix show to make a promposal to his girlfriend.
So Sanchez bought multiple cassette tapes and a tape recorder, and outlined 13 Reasons Why his girlfriend Andrea Cerda had to go to prom with him. Cerda was impressed – as were 13 Reasons Why fans who read that story – and she quite expectedly agreed to go to prom with him.
Cerda even took to Twitter to showcase the promposal, calling it the “best promposal ever.”
But not all Twitter users were impressed by Sanchez’s seemingly innocent gesture, as many criticized the teenagers for trivializing suicide. There’s an ongoing heated battle between 13 Reasons Why fans and 13 Reasons Why critics ignited by the promposal.
Twitter is not the only social media platform that is all fired up about 13 Reasons Why and the cultural phenomenon it has become.
Ever since Selena Gomez, who serves as executive producer on the Netflix show, flaunted blue-painted nails at the 13 Reasons Why premiere last month, Instagram girls have been showcasing blue nails in memory of Hannah Baker.
Exploring teen suicide is not the only theme 13 Reasons Why centers on, as it also explores teen bullying and sexual assault.
The message behind 13 Reasons Why is the most important message I’ve ever seen in a show pic.twitter.com/pQRIf7HAIu
– Movie Quotes ♡ (@MoviezQuote) April 25, 2017
13 Reasons Why writer Nic Sheff wrote a lengthy guest column for Vanity Fair, where he defended the show’s graphic depiction of Hannah’s suicide. Sheff wrote that “the most irresponsible thing” would have been not showing the suicide at all.
Sheff also wrote that 13 Reasons Why had the “perfect opportunity” to show what an actual suicide “really looks like” and to dispel the “myth of the quiet drifting off.”
Creator Brian Yorkey has previously told The Hollywood Reporter that the suicide scene was something the 13 Reasons Why creative team contemplated and turned into a “nakedly honest” portrayal of teen suicide.
Thread of 13 reasons why characters
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[Featured Image by Richard Shotwell/AP Images]