Mental health professionals, educators, doctors, parents – many are upset with Netflix for producing and distributing a second season of the teen-centered show “13 Reasons Why.”
The show follows teenager Clay Jensen, in his quest to uncover the story behind his classmate and crush, Hannah, and her decision to end her life. The series deals with suicide, sexual assault, drugs, and many issues facing young people in a very raw, brutal, and graphic approach. There have been many claims that the show has romanticized suicide and that it exacerbates feelings of hopelessness and depression that many teen viewers may already be feeling.
The National Center on Sexual Exploitation takes issue with the move of Netflix to include gratuitous amounts of nudity (teenage character nudity specifically) and repeated graphic depictions of rape and sexual assault. Netflix’s irresponsible approach is only further normalizing and glamorizing these harmful and dangerous behaviors. How can Hollywood and the public allow this to continue in light of the #TimesUp movement?
NCOSE hypothesizes that sexual assault is likely more rampant on school campuses than in workplaces. We must move the conversation of #MeToo to include sexual assault and harassment of our youth. However, Netflix’s attempt to do this is misguided and misinformed and is only serving to promulgate the rape myths already so prevalent in the sexual templates of young people educated by hardcore violent porn.
While Netflix may be attempting to expose the harms of sexual assault and harassment through “13 Reasons Why” it is misguided to simultaneously portray gratuitous nudity (intending to depict teen nudity) and graphic sexual acts. By depicting these issues so graphically it both increases the likelihood that a victim of past assault will be negatively triggered by the content, and it decreases the likelihood that viewers will thoughtfully analyze the harms of sexual exploitation. It would be easy for Netflix to portray the harms of sexual violence or lack of sexual consent without simultaneously “profiting” from a sexually objectifying and voyeuristic motif.
Here is a summary of sexually exploitive content in season two of “13 Reasons Why:”
Episode 4: A photo shows a teenage boy engaged in sex with an unconscious teenage girl (shown w/nudity); a photo shows a teenage boy as he rapes a teenage girl (shown w/nudity); A teenage girl grabs a teenage boy’s genitals through his pants and talks about sexual assault;
Episode 5: Two teenage boys talk about sexual pleasure and pornography; A teenage boy looks at pornography. A woman talks to the teenage boy seductively; A teenage boy talks to a woman in lingerie through a webcam; The pictures of the sex with an unconscious girl; a teenage boy pleasures himself using pornography (shown w/nudity); Several women’s breasts can be seen; A photo of a man in tight underwear can be seen–the top of his genital area is visible;
Episode 6: Teenage boy and girl have sex shown w/nudity; Teenage girl wears thong underwear and is topless;
Episode 10: Sexually explicit texts are visible on a teenage boy’s cell phone; Several photos of teenage girls in sexual positions with teenage boys are visible; Nude teenage boy is shown in a photo; the sexual assault photos;
Episode 11: Two teenage boys talk about oral sex; a teenage girl is raped; a teenage girl’s groan is heard during a sexual assault; girl tells graphic details of her sexual assault;
Episode 12: Teenage boy takes secret lewd pictures of a teenage girl and shows other teen boys
Episode 13: Graphic depiction of a boy anally raped with a broom by a group of other boys in the school locker room; detailed verbal description of a sexual assault on a teenage girl
Netflix is currently considering a third season of “13 Reasons Why” – contact them to say NO!