13 Reasons Why: informative, or just plain triggering?

14:00


When browsing Netflix about a week or so ago, I saw that there was a new addition, which was '13 Reasons Why'. I didn't click on it, but it looked interesting from the title and the photo for the series, so I decided to pop it into My List for a later time. Until this day, I still haven't watched this series, and I've actually removed it from My List. 

Why? Let's delve a little further.

Note: This post is going to contains mentions of: suicide, self harm and rape, so if these will trigger you, please do not read further. Also, there will be spoilers in this post, so if you're not a spoiler fan, don't read on.

So, what's it all about? 

13 Reasons Why is based off a book (of the same title) from 2007 by Jay Asher. It follows numerous high school kids after a girl, named Hannah, has committed suicide. She had recorded on 7 tape cassettes as to the reasons why she had decided to take her own life (hence the title name). The series essentially is all flashbacks, with the final episode being Hannah taking her own life.

I've seen people raving about the book and the series, saying that they loved the book and couldn't wait to watch the visual adaption. However, I had no idea it was a book, previously, or what the content was. Only, I looked on Twitter a few days ago to see that a few of the people I follow have watched the series, and have actually been triggered by the series. Now, I know that the aim of this show and for the book is to show that actions and words have consequences, and it shows how horrible and nasty some people in this world are.

This post/review may seem a bit biased, since I haven't seen the programme, or read the book, I'm merely going off the research I have done.




Sometimes when I want to watch something I haven't seen before, or heard of, sometimes I check IMDb for their parents guide just to ensure there's nothing I'll come across that will trigger me. In my life, the things that have triggered me are: rape, sexual abuse, self harm, so I have been skeptical on things. However, I don't really get triggered by these anymore (as tested, I have watched the horrific scene in Game of Thrones featuring Sansa Stark and Ramsay Bolton, and I didn't get triggered off it), but I'm still cautious in case I'm caught off guard.

Now, I have read that in 13 Reasons Why, rape is a theme which is mentioned and occurs in the series. However, I don't think you see what is going on, but it is mentioned quite a bit from episodes 9 onwards (10,11 and 12, I think). IMDb does claim that "There is no graphic nudity, only buttocks were shown" and that the perspective is on the person witnessing what's happening. Now, I'm not sure if that would trigger me, but for others, even the mere mention of the word 'rape' can make skin crawl, tears form and for people to become to shaken up by it. It's so unfortunate and horrific that nowadays, this still happens to people. It's honestly disgusting, and I wish it didn't exist at all.

Taken from IMDb Parents guide
This is a reason why I really like the parents guide by IMDb. It lets you know what can be particularly intense, bothersome. This is something I wished that Netflix would do in the season and episode summaries, as it would benefit a lot of people who may not know or not if something triggering will come up. However, the downside of this is that Netflix would have to trigger warn a lot of different things, as there are so many triggers out there (for example: outer space, aliens, zombies, blood, gore, serial killers). So it would be a lot of effort for them to go through, thus meaning that releases would be out a lot later than planned.

Another topic in 13 Reasons Why I'd like to address is the concept of self harm. I know it's essentially a big part of the show, as that's how the main character has ended their life. I've read in the parents guide that it's only shown in the last episode, and it is pretty graphic, as stated in the photo above taken straight from IMDb. Mentions of self harm, personally, don't bother me... Just seeing it does bother me. It doesn't trigger me anymore, just makes me feel a bit upset and a bit sick. This occurred during the first season of American Horror Story with Violet, and it made me feel so uncomfortable and ill, I had to skip it straight away.

Overall, 13 Reasons Why is informative as it delves deep into the consequences of people's actions and it's powerful in its messages, so hats off to them for that, because I feel like something like that is needed nowadays, as rates of bullying are still high and mental health issues resulting from it. I do find the main character related, as I was bullied myself and it did cause me to become depressed, so yes, it is relatable. However, I've heard that episode 9 onwards is a bit of a slog due to the feelings and vibes people were getting from what was occurring in the show.

Will I give into the hype? Honestly, probably not. That's just my opinion, and as much as it would be relatable and informative... I'm taking the triggering issues into account more so than anything else.

What are your thoughts on 13 Reasons Why? Is it triggering, is it informative, both? Let me know in the comments and let's have a discussion!

Disclaimer: Header image is not mine, so credit to the rightful owner(s)!

Feel free to follow me on Twitter: @chloemtommo, Instagram: @chloetommo and Bloglovin.
Have an amazing day!

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18 comments

  1. It's a bit of both to be honest. And I completely understand your reasons to not watch it. Personally, when I started watching it, I realised how real and raw this was. It was like someone has put every tiny detail that one goes through (especially in high school) into a show.

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  2. Of course, and it's good that something like that is out there to give an insight as to what can go on for people and how it can affect them.

    - Chloe
    xoxo

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  3. Now, I will admit, I haven't read the whole post, due to spoilers (I'm working my way through the series!) but I love how you frame this almost as a debate. Good work, keep it up!
    Lydia
    Mademoisellewomen.wordpress.com

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    1. Thanks lovely! I didn't want to make it biased in any way, so I'm glad it came across that way!

      - Chloe
      xoxo

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  4. I'm not jumping on the bad wagon either. I love love love the fact that they're raising awareness etc. But I personally can't watch something that raw. Even thinking about it makes me uncomfortable. I totally agree with everything you've said. Great, well rounded post hun!xx

    theassortedwriter.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. Me too, really. I'm so glad there's something out there which hits you hard and makes you think, but with it being so raw and potentially harmful mentally, it's not for me. Thanks so much for reading, lovely!

      - Chloe
      xoxo

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  5. I watched the first episode and couldnt really get into it. Big Little Lies has already been triggering me with Nicole Kidman's abuse so I cant handle it 2 in 1. I do know people that have watched it and can only watch an episode at at time. I think these shows are great for people that are clueless, but for people that have been through and witnessed these situations it can make for distressing watching. x
    Lola Mia // www.lolitabonita.co.uk

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    Replies
    1. I've heard about Big Little Lies and was going to watch it, so thanks for telling me about it! Also I agree with you so much. Having something like this around can have its benefits and drawbacks.

      - Chloe
      xoxo

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  6. I'm so glad that I read this. I also had it in my queue but after reading this - I don't think I'd be able to handle it. Like you, raw scenes like that just make me feel extremely uncomfortable - spreading awareness is amazing/great. I absolutely admire that and praise their efforts...

    Hm, we will see if I end up watching it but thank you for your insight!

    ♡ Christine Anne
    A Blueberry Girl

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    1. I've seen the suicide at the end, and it made me feel sick and the reactions literally made me feel like I could feel her pain - felt so uneasy! I admire that too, in all honesty. Publicly, we need things like this for awareness purposes.

      - Chloe
      xoxo

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  7. I completely understand your reasons for not watching 13 Reasons Why. I adored the book and I am currently watching the show and it is very harrowing. I think it is a mix of both but definitely serves as a lesson or educational experience to those who have never experienced anything like the situations before. Thanks for sharing! Xx

    Kirsty | The Monday Project | themondayproject.co.uk

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    1. I agree with you 100%. It does educate and show that all actions do have a consequence, whatever it may be. I may read the book, as words don't really tend to trigger me, but visuals do... If that makes sense? Thanks for reading and commenting, lovely!

      - Chloe
      xoxo

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  8. I haven't seen 13 reasons why yet but I intend too asap. Kirsty watched it and absolutely loved. And I think it was triggering for her. And addictive. I don't know if i'll enjoy or be able to stand it but I feel i need to watch it. So I'll be able to tell after I watch it! xx corinne

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    1. I really wanted to until I saw the reactions from who I follow on Twitter. I may read it and see how it goes, but I'm unsure if I'll watch it. I may give in to the hype at some point, who knows? Hopefully you find it enjoyable, insightful and non-triggering!

      - Chloe
      xoxo

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  9. Love your post! We're on episode 6/7 of this now and I do feel like a programme like this is needed to show people like you said, what people say can hurt others and have consequences. But I completely get where you're coming from and your reasons for not wanting to watch. As I said I'm only on episode 6/7 so haven't seen anything that you've mentioned happens in later episodes xx

    http://bethcarney.com

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    1. I wanted to make this as weighted as possible in terms of debate, however, since I haven't watched it I can only go so far, thank god I can research stuff! I hope you find the show enjoyable and non triggering!

      - Chloe
      xoxo

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  10. I watched the entire series in less than 24 hours and lets just say I wasn't prepared, I had no idea what it was really about if I'm honest as I'd never read the book, just seen everyone raving about this new Netflix series on Twitter! I think it's a great series but it is triggering, I found the last couple of episodes hard to watch, especially the very last one with Hannah.

    Alice | alicemaysnell

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