13 Reasons Why: A New Vision on Dealing with Bullying

Bullying, something that decades ago had no media space, now appears in several works ranging from commercials to movies. 13 Reasons Why, the new Netflix series that premiered on March 31, is no different and brings with it an additional attempt to understand and overcome this problem.

13 Reasons Why tells the story of Hannah Baker, a high school teenager who commits suicide for being teased and harassed at school. However, moments before taking her life, Hannah decides to record on tapes the thirteen reasons that led her to make this drastic decision. The tapes are then secretly distributed to the thirteen people who made her life unbearable. One of these people is Clay Jensen, a teenager who was platonically in love with the girl. And that’s where the show’s appeal and conflict come from: both Clay and the viewer want to understand what role the young man plays in that decision of the girl he liked.

Although the series was based on the book by the same author Jay Asher, Netflix has been strongly applauded for improving the work. For example, Clay takes longer to listen to the tapes of his beloved in the series, increasing the complexity of a character who would have difficulty dealing with the situation. Other characters, such as the bullies themselves, have more developed personal problems than are seen in the book. But the happiest and most appropriate change is that, unlike the book that relies solely on more traditional modes of bullying, the series updates the problems faced by children today, highlighting online abuse.

From thinkers to entertainment personalities have already commented on problems brought about by new technologies. Famous director Steven Spielberg, for example, said that while technology may be our best friend, it can also disrupt our story and daydreaming ability because we’re always checking messages on the phone. If neutral messages are enough to disrupt a story, it can be difficult to understand what children who abuse the internet should feel. And this is the story of Hannah, a girl who not only finds it difficult to find true friends, but is constantly reminded of her social problems through the internet. So your inability to forget your sad condition is what defeats you.

The creative and painful approach that 13 Reasons Why gives to bullying does not mean that the series has no problems. Hannah’s cassette tapes reveal a strong and charming girl, often making it seem like the decision to commit suicide was a brave act. Even so, during the season, his voice becomes weaker and the saddest act. But more importantly, it is Clay’s handling of the event. Instead of listening to his friends and colleagues, who try to deal with the event indirectly, Clay invites everyone, the innocent and the guilty, to see themselves as part of the problem to be corrected. In a powerful and sad series, Netflix shows that everyone has a role in building a better world.

(article translated from the original version in portuguese, by Google Translate)

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