If 13 Reasons Why season 2 glorifies suicide, than every action film glorifies violence; every thriller glorifies murder, every documentary glorifies the topic they’re covering…
This past weekend, the Anxiety Gone team took the time to binge-watch the season 2 of 13 Reasons Why. We loved the first season and felt like there were far more positive messages to be heard than negative. In fact, we personally believe that a lot of people are against the shows contents because they are accurate. While we understand 13 Reasons Why may not be for everyone, there is nothing in that show that the world doesn’t already know. The only difference is that society has turned a blind eye to many of the topics covered; society likes to pretend like these things aren’t going on – or worse, aren’t a problem… And they are. They’re a big problem.
The world is trying to silence this show just like it is trying to silence these issues.
13 Reasons Why season 2 brings these issues to light, issues that we shouldn’t be afraid to learn about, discuss or recognize. People can hate that 13 Reasons Why season two (and one) is about suicide, but it’s reality and one the world needs to face so that a change can be made. These are the messages you need to hear.
16 Powerful Messages in 13 Reasons Why Season 2
13 Reasons Why is full of messages we all need to recognize, so much so that we wrote thirteen posts on the messages in 13 Reasons Why for the first season. Today, we are discussing the 16 most powerful messages 13 Reasons Why season 2 covers, and why this show needs to be watched by every teacher, every counsellor, every online therapist, every bully, every jock, every cheerleader, and every student including those that are suffering… If they believe they can watch it in a healthy manner.
#1. Everyone has a story
Yes, even the jocks; the popular kids; the kids with money, etc. It’s easy to assume that these are the types of kids who “have it all”, but often times, the people you are convinced have the perfect life have a story you know nothing about. Speaking from personal experience, the kids who seem to have the life you dream of are simply better at hiding their truth.
Everyone has a story.
The school bully lashes out on others because he’s parents beat him at home; the rich kid has parents he never sees and thus, goes to extremities to fulfill his loneliness; the cheerleader has all the friends in the world but has never felt so alone; the ‘loner’ actually comes from an awesome family, etc.
Everyone has a reason for being who they are today. If we all start to offer little more compassion, we can start to look beyond exteriors and stereotypes and start helping those in need, even if it doesn’t seem like there’s a problem. Flashing a friendly smile or offering a helping hand to “that weirdo”, “that slut”, “that bully” or even that popular kid you hate, can change the course of the world.
#2. Girls need to start sticking up for girls
It’s high school culture for girls to go against girls. We would rather bully than be the person being bullied; we would rather have our boyfriends backs even when they’re in the wrong instead of our own best friends; we would rather tear one another down instead of lifting one another up. It’s absurdity, and it’s time for females – girls and women – to realize that we need to stand together. No one understands us like we do, and we need to stop being intimidated by the other girl’s success, and start embracing, empowering and encouraging one another.
Who run the world? Girls.
But we can’t run the world if we’re constantly battling one another for absolutely no reason other than our own insecurities.
#3. We need to start being louder with our support for one another
The simple words, “I am here for you,” can make a world of a difference. Don’t be ashamed or scared to tell someone in need that you are there when they’re ready. That might be all they need to find the strength to come forward or to stay alive.
#4. Sexual abuse victims needs to stand by one another
The sexual abuse statistics are atrocious. It happens to most of us and it occurs from all types of people – the neighbour; the teacher; the cousin; the friend; the stranger; the doctor, etc. We need to recognize that we are not alone and by standing by one another, we can make a difference.
By sharing your story and finding the courage to take down who has hurt you, you can prevent it from happening from many other girls and boys. It won’t be easy but together, as a family of sexual abuse survivors, we can make a change for the future.
I’ll share a personal story with you in short version, as the full story can be read in ‘Sexual Abuse Kept Me At My Job‘. I used to work at a fast food restaurant and when our boss got traded in for a new male, everything turned for the worse. This new boss used his power and authority to do whatever he wanted. He would touch the girls inappropriately and say horrible things on a regular basis. I reported it. His boss protected him. And despite most of the girls I worked with who were also victims saying they would stand by me and come forward with their story, when the powerful duo threatened our jobs, I stood by myself. Everyone else was too scared. Eventually, my boss bullied me to the point of quitting.
5 years later, he allegedly raped one of the girls. This could have been prevented if we all just stood together when it was initially reported. Today? He works at a college dorm for females.
We need to stand by one another the FIRST time something happens, so there isn’t a second, third… tenth time.
If we say nothing today; we can’t expect nothing to happen tomorrow. A predator rarely stops at one victim, but you can stop them.
#5. If schools do nothing about it, the problems continue
While most teachers, guidance counsellors, and principals are in the field of education for the right reasons, there are others who are not. Some are there for the sports; others are there for the pay cheque and some simply won’t go the extra mile. But these are the type of teachers that keep the problems coming and worsening.
There are teachers who will turn a blind eye. I’m sure each and everyone one of us is thinking of “that teacher” right now. They’re out there and if you happen to stumble across one who simply isn’t providing you with the help you need, know that there are many more who will go to great lengths to make sure you’re taken care of.
More importantly, if you’re a teacher or principal who thinks 13 Reasons Why isn’t going on in your school, or that bullying isn’t a problem, you’re wrong. 13 Reasons Why happens in every school; maybe not to such extremities but it happens. Don’t be ignorant to the issues that are staring you down in the hallway like a deer in headlights.
#6. Good Teachers Shouldn’t Be Expendable
Being a teacher isn’t just about teaching children a lesson plan. It’s about being a parent, support system and friend to students when they’re away from their home for those 8-hours each day.
I felt this was an important message in 13 Reasons Why season 2 because the teachers (and guidance counselors) we want in this world do not get enough credit. Often times, they’re expendable. Why pay top dollar for a top teacher when you can pay much less for a mediocre teacher?
We need to start supporting and recognizing the teachers who aren’t just teaching but who are changing the lives of kids.
So, the next time you’re angry because teachers are protesting for more money or because they get the summer off, remember this – being a teacher isn’t a 9-5 job. They work day and night; they parent; they babysit; they counsel; they protect; they dedicate their own free time to coach, supervisor and monitor, and they prepare our future generations.
#7. Suicide creates a vicious cycle for everyone
For the teachers and students who like to turn a blind eye, know that you aren’t exempt from the vicious cycle that follows a suicide. It affects everyone and it will create an avalanche of problems that will continue to snowball. If we recognize this today, maybe we can stop the avalanches that are taking over the majority of schools today.
One suicide in your school is not just one suicide. Everyone is negatively impacted.
#8. Adults often dismiss teens problems as being nothing more than that
Being a teenager is tough. You care about things that you wouldn’t even think twice about 10 years down the road. Losing a friend or having rumours spread about you can seem like the world is collapsing.
To adults, these problems are nothing more than teenager drama – things everyone goes through. But to those teenagers going through it, it’s the end of the world.
We all need to think back to when we were teenagers, and remember just how damaging it feels to have rumours spread about you at that age, or your best friend dating your ex boyfriend, or whatever it is. These problems are teenage problems but they should not be dismissed as such because they are detrimental at that age.
#9. Suicide is not going to bring justice to those who hurt you
Suicide is a final answer. You may think that it’s the answer that will bring justice or that will make bullies’ pay for what they did but if you aren’t here to back up your story, very little can be done.
More importantly, you can’t expect others to fight your fight once you’re gone. This is your fight and if you surrender with your life, there’s no going back and the other team has won. Choose life and choose to stay here to stand your ground.
#10. People can turn your story into anything they want once you’re gone
With the prior mentioned, it’s important to know that once you take your own life, you’re silencing your own voice. You are putting your story in the hands of people who may twist and construe it until it’s a story you no longer recognize as your own. And you won’t be here to correct it. The only way to ensure your story actually makes a difference is to tell it, loud and proud, and alive.
#11. Your suicide will drastically impact the lives of your loved ones
After speaking with many sufferers of manic depression and survivors of suicide, there’s one thing I’ve come to learn – most think that they won’t be missed or that their loved ones will move on. The truth is, this couldn’t be any more inaccurate and it’s a topic 13 Reasons Why season 2 emphasizes.
Losing a loved one to suicide rips a hole inside of your loved ones; a hole that will never be repaired. Even at times when they are able to pull together the slightest smile, there will forever be many nights of tears. Life changes for everyone when a suicide happens, and in the worst ways imaginable. You aren’t just taking your own life; you’re taking many others. Even if you think no one will care or that everyone will move on, something as simple as taking a wrong turn down a familiar street or hearing a song on the radio can send them into an emotional turmoil that takes days and sometimes even weeks to come out of.
So, know this – no one is better off without you. Your suicide does not make life better for those around you.
#12. Men are sexually abused too
While there’s no denying that most sexual abuse victims are women, it’s important to also recognize that men are victims as well. We need to stand by them, and encourage men that it’s okay to tell their story and to seek the help they need to heal.
#13. Students need to know about guidance counselors
When I was in high school, guidance counselors were nothing more than old, unrelatable people you could talk to about your school credits or what college or university to go to.
We were never told that there were there to help us on a personal level; we were never told that they were there to counsel us or anything of that nature. Not only that, but we didn’t know them. We were provided a counselor based on the first initial of our last name. If we made an appointment with them, we would see them (and talk about college). Or, they were simply outdated, un-approachable people who sat in a separate office that we would never even see, let alone get to know on a trusting level.
As a result, we would go to our favourite teacher or worse, hold all of our personal problems in because we were never told that there were people there to help us beyond our school career.
This is a problem.
#14. You are who you are, so don’t try to hide it
Gay, black, lesbian, straight, trans, asian, white, brown – you are who are you. 13 Reasons Why season 2 has a lot to do about owning who you are, even if it means you’re “different”. Those who love you will continue to support you, so don’t try to hide who you are for fear of rejection. Own it. Love yourself. You’re you and you deserve to embrace that.
#15. The truth will set you free
There are several times throughout 13 Reasons Why season 2 where someone is plagued by this burden of the truth coming out, but then, they speak their own truth. They come to terms with being gay or they come to terms with being a drug addict; a victim of sexual abuse; a bully, etc., and that sets them free.
Lies can take a hold of you. If you’re feeling weighed down by keeping your secret or someone else’s, know that you can speak up. You deserve to be free from deception.
Click here for more powerful messages hidden within the 13 Reasons Why series.
#16. There are more reasons why not than there are reasons why
The most important message to take away from 13 Reasons Why season 2 is that, regardless of how many reasons you may have to take your own life, there are many more reasons not to. Focus on the reasons to live; not the reasons to die.
13 Reasons Why starts off talking about the reasons why Hannah took her own life; 13 Reasons Why ends with hundreds of reasons of why not.
13 Reasons Why season 2 tackles all kinds of important issues; these are only just a few of our personal favourites. So, while many like to argue that it glorifies suicide, we believe the opposite. It brings awareness to a subject that has been overlooked for too long. Kids are taking their own lives because they don’t know how or aren’t provided with the necessary tools and support to overcome their pain and struggles, and more importantly, that adults (both parents and teachers) aren’t paying attention to what’s really going on.
Caution: The Triggers in 13 Reasons Why Season 2
If you are easily triggered by topics of suicide, depression, sexual abuse and bullying, then this is not a show you should watch. We all have triggers. I’ll never forget walking out of ‘Coach Carter’ in the theatres because the basketball team was doing ‘suicides’. After experiencing my brother’s near-fatal experience with depression, the word ‘suicide’ was something I couldn’t even bear to hear, even though the context was entirely opposite to what I was experiencing. I made the choice to leave and to avoid certain movies, songs and television shows until I was ready. You have that choice as well. If you can’t handle the topics covered in 13 Reasons Why, make the wise decision to avoid them.
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