A Critique of the Netflix series: Thirteen Reasons Why
-Suicide should never EVER be used as a plot device. Doing so is in a way sensationalizing mental illness.
-Suicide is not anyone’s fault. Guilt tripping others into thinking they drove someone to suicide won’t make that person come back.
-The show graphically depicts rape, sexual assault, and suicide.
-Suicide is never the answer but the show depicts it being an effective way to get people to own up to their actions. Suicide isn’t about revenge. It’s about feeling so broken and hopeless, that you come to believe the only way to escape the pain is by ending your own life. When you see yourself as a constant burden to yourself and others, suicide can be seen as a way to end not only your suffering, but also the suffering of those around you.
-13 Reasons portrays the therapist in a bad light, which can lead to people not wanting to seek professional help when they need it most.
-There are very few (if any) content/trigger warnings or information embedded in the show describing how to help someone suffering from mental illness.
-Suicide is portrayed as an effective attention seeking method instead of as a devastating result of mental illness.
-Clay implies that he could “love” Hannah out of suicide when that is impossible. You can’t “love” anyone out of mental illness.
-In the show, Hannah essentially became popular after her death; again, glorifying suicide.
-There are other ways to increase awareness of depression, suicide, and mental health that don’t involve a show that uses suicide as a plot device.
Thoughts on the New Netflix Series: To The Bone
I’m extremely concerned about the Netflix show “To the Bone”. I refused to watch the trailer due to fear of triggering myself. While I understand Netflix’s attempt to spread awareness and spark discussions surrounding mental illness, I don’t believe this is the right way to do so. Many people struggle with an eating disorder, and this show has massive potential to trigger them beyond belief. The storyline involves a caucasian girl who gets called fat, develops Anorexia, and ends up in a treatment center. The trailer gives in to some (if not all) eating disorder stereotypes. In other words, not all individuals who have eating disorders are female, caucasian, and have Anorexia. In fact, a fair amount of individuals who have an eating disorder are in the “normal” weight range for their age and height. Not only did Netflix have the audacity to create “To the Bone”, it also poured salt in the wound by categorizing the show as a “comedy-drama”. There is NOTHING funny about mental illness, let alone one that has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric illness. If you want to learn how devastating and insidious eating disorders are, watch Someday Melissa or Thin. Those movies are documentaries. REAL documentaries. No scripted lines, no actors. Recovery does involve some laughs, but it also involves a lot of crying, screaming, and hitting rock bottom over and over again. Oh, and did I mention Netflix renewed “13 Reasons Why” for a second season?! As if one season didn’t do enough damage. When I signed up for Netflix, I wasn’t anticipating on paying $12 a month for a subscription service that sensationalizes mental illness.