Thought Catalog
May 10, 2017

13 Reasons Why NOT

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I confess. I’ve been pretty caught up on the ’13 Reasons Why’ hype. 

And I don’t regret it. 

Tales of teenage angst are my forte, and as far as they go, this one is easily one of the most compelling. Probably because it’s both entirely original, yet painfully relatable at the same time. But because it’s so relatable it’s facing criticism for promoting suicide as a viable solution to these problems. As though people who experience similar heartaches will consider taking their own lives as a suitable way of finding resolve. Whether that’s a reasonable concern, or it’s a case of people being over cautious about the gullibility of the audience, I don’t know. I suppose ultimately it depends on the person watching. 

Either way, I thought it would be a pretty good idea to provide some balance and create an opposing list. The 13 Reasons Why NOT. 

Because, as much as I liked the story – and however much I understand that her death was the premise for the entire plot – if she was a real girl, there’s NO way she should have killed herself. And here’s why…

(*Spoiler alert* If you haven’t finished watching the series just yet, don’t read any further. Just in case.)

1. So she got the reputation as the school slut, yet she never actually did anything to deserve it. Admittedly that’s pretty rubbish, but she shouldn’t have spent her time being fixated on the labels they gave her. She knew the truth, so that should have been the only thing that mattered. 

2. Even if she had done all the things they accused her of, so what? By being so ashamed of it, she only reinforced that same old, tired, sexist attitude that girls are condemned for doing things that guys are congratulated for. She could have done the rest of the girls favor by pointing this out. A kind of, kill-the-sexism-not-yourself, sort of thing.

3. The same goes for the whole ‘best ass’ scandal. She was smart enough to not be flattered by the objectification, and smart enough to point out the inequality of the situation. She should have run with that and objectified them right back by making that smallest biceps list she joked about. Ordinarily I’d agree that two wrongs don’t equal a right, but in this case there’s room for an exception. At least it would highlight the inequality she knew was wrong.

4. She was all around pretty smart. Certainly a lot smarter than the others. She should have enjoyed that. 

5. Oh, and she could write. Not everybody can do that. And even fewer people can write poetry. A God given talent like that shouldn’t be wasted. 

6. Sure she had some pretty toxic friends, but at least she found out early they were dangerous to be around. At least she didn’t waste years with them, only to find out they were never her real friends in the first place. She had the rest of her life to make new amazing ones.

7. In the meantime, she had pretty amazing parents. They got a new car just so she didn’t have to drive to the school dance in a tin can. They were a massive reason to stick around.

8. And then there’s Clay. Enough said. 

9. The party was a bad one. She witnessed some horrible things. She couldn’t change them after they happened, nor could she easily forget them, but there were a lot of other victims who came off worse than her. She should have spent less time being consumed by her own misery, and more time helping to make things better.  

10. The rape was real. It was devastating. It wouldn’t be easy to move on from that, but it didn’t have to define her. 

11. The School Counsellor was atrocious, but he’s not the only source of help in the world. She should never have hinged her life on the opinion of one person.

12. Everyone knows that the best revenge is a life well-lived.

13. But when she killed herself she lost all ability to rewrite her ending. Instead, her ending became her entire story. Nobody will remember anything else about her life. She’ll just be that girl who killed herself. Nobody wants that. TC mark