As I sit and write this, I’m coming off the tail end of having almost literally just finished “13 Reasons Why.” I pretty much put the controller down no more than half an hour ago and I needed a few minutes to really ingest the narcissism that was this show.
Bear with me, because you won’t like what I have to say, I guarantee it but at least try and consider it and truly think about it in terms of the show and not the book (which I haven’t read and cannot comment on.)
I’ll deviate from my title long enough to say this. Tony said it in the show, and I’ll say it too- No one was responsible for Hannah Baker’s suicide except Hannah Baker.
Trust me when I tell you that I have been so completely depressed from trauma and life and abuse that I (in fact) did try and commit suicide at a young age, so I completely understand the feelings of nothingness and mental health issues not only run in my family (severe ones, not little issues) but I have them myself (smaller issues) – So I am not blowing smoke out of my butt in saying that I know what it’s like to be there and I’ve been right next to it.
She chose to kill herself instead of pursuing the good parts of life. Clay (which she knew was her own fault) for one.
Shows like this are so extreme that they’re almost meaningless because very few girls are Hannah (when I say that, I don’t mean very few girls are raped- I mean very few of them run into as much trouble thing after thing after thing as she does. That is all drama and storytelling and very little of it mimics reality. Reality is actually much harder because often the things that lead up to a suicide are slower, less noticeable, less obvious.)
Movies and shows about suicide have an interesting trend rollercoaster. They happen and everyone watches and talks about them, the content, the characters, and talks about how we can change things.
But here’s the truth-
There isn’t a lot that “we” (you and I) can do to change the fact that people are cruel to others and always will be. Most of the people who read this book, watched this show, and actually care would never ever BE in this list of horrible people who hurt Hannah Baker from the start. If ANYTHING we’d probably be an “Alex” “Ryan” or “Zach” and not any of the others. Most of us knew even in High School that you didn’t do things like, rape someone or “take candid photos” of someone. Or “share photos all around school” of someone’s personal moments. Most of us knew that and still know that.
Most of us are not any of those children/ teens.
Someone is a Tyler
and we need to talk about that boy because more than likely, you know him. You don’t necessarily know someone who’s going to go on a rampage and shoot everyone at school (as some of the ending implied) but you do know a young man who’s at his wits end… So, while not all of them apply to Tyler specifically, and some are merely moments in the show, here are 13 reasons that we need to be talking about Tyler.
Reason #1. – Research shows that men are up to three times more likely to commit suicide than a woman regardless of age. So while this is about a young woman, and very, very sad statistics show that we might need to be doing better with our boys.
Reason #2.- I never say, “Boys will be boys” as an excuse for lewd behavior. However boys ARE boys and society continues to (thanks to things like feminism) pressure them into acting “non-male.” More and more classrooms are acting like boys are all potential rapists and murderers. Boys are looked at as violent for wanting to play with toy guns (even squirt guns) or suspended for making pop tarts look like guns. (what?) Boys need challenges and outlets for pent up energy and anxiety. They are not getting those things and the more they’re being shut down, the more that they feel useless as their BIOLOGICAL NEED is to do things that are challenging, to hunt, to play puzzle games, to build, to climb, to dare.
Reason #3- Female rape is horrible, but let’s put that aside for a moment. You might not believe this, but if you’re a man, being raped is MUCH harder than being a woman. Because society acts like men are always wanna be rapists or naturally just sexually charged all the time, this means that they must always want sex. So men “can’t” be raped. (I’ve actually heard this statement many times from both men and women) “Men can’t be raped! You have to be physically excited to be raped!” – In the same breath, women will explain how sometimes during rape, your body might “excite” to protect itself. Hmmmmm… Double standard. Young men are molested and raped all the time and are looked at as “pansies” or “pussies” if they didn’t enjoy it, or suck it up. Likewise, people more easily brush off the sexual assault of men as funny or “no big deal.” Would we permit/ allow “pantsing” of a young woman? Or do we call that sexual assault? It’s definitely sexual assault, however, when it happens to Tyler, he just needs to “get over it” because it’s “bullying” and “Everyone is bullied.” Right? While I see women being “victim blamed” sometimes, I see victim blaming happen far more often with men. “You are a dude, you definitely wanted it.” “You should have sat back and enjoyed the ride.” Etc. Take it or leave it, that’s my experience. https://youtu.be/Ikd0ZYQoDko
Reason #4- We treat smart and artsy boys like they’re “nerds” and act like they should be punished for this. Smart and artsy boys are simply that, smart and artsy. They are often (in the future) the very types of men that we need to build upon our society.
Reason #5- Men especially insult other men by tearing down their sexuality. “What, Faggot? What you say limp dick?” – All of this language does cause major disrupts in young men. Especially men with smaller bodies and interests that are not football and beer pong.
Reason #6- There are nerdy boys everywhere. They often grow into fine, wonderful individuals. But they struggle because of how they feel about themselves. Similar to women who are overweight or insecure, a lot of nerdy boys feel that they are not manly enough or even “men” if they don’t have the body, the looks, and the charisma of the “school jock.”
Reason#7. We as a society exclude people who we think are different from what we believe “normal” is. What Tyler did was despicable, but even the other people on the tapes kept trying to exclude him. The only person who didn’t was Alex.
Reason#8.- School shootings. Many of the reasons that I listed above lead to things like school shootings.
Reason#9.- This sad and very tragic cautionary tale is about a woman who sadly lost hope and while others might have been able to love her better… it’s very hard for young people (and old) to love “a young man” better. Women in general are easier to comfort, easier to talk to. We just are. That’s our nature. We talk, we nurture. Men are often more lost. They don’t know how to handle the deep, hurting emotions that slowly boil over time. They don’t know how to “take it like a man” or “Stop crying.” They know that they feel these horrible things, but have no idea what to do with them. Many of them don’t know how to ask for help, because they don’t even know that they need help because everyone around them keeps insisting that they need to buck up, man up, grow up, etc.
Reason#10.- Men especially in young groups make other men feel like if they’re “not getting any” – then they’re gay, unattractive, unwanted, etc. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard of young men TRYING to wait, and their friends shove a hooker onto them, sneak them off to a strip club (them not knowing until it’s too late), them pushing their virgin friends to get with the easy girl. It must be so hard. I can’t even imagine.
Reason#11.- In conjunction with the above and #2… Men are visual by nature and society needs to stop acting like they’re not. When we say things, “they’re just breasts!” We make all men who are sexually aroused by them (spoiler alert, 99percent of all men are) feel perverted and dirty for being sexually aroused by them. Again, I will not say, “Boys will be boys” as an excuse for bad behavior when they’re mature enough to understand. But here’s the thing- boys ARE boys and when society starts treating them like they’re gay, unwanted, too nerdy, can’t be with anyone, no one wants them, they start doing things like (but not limited to) Pornography, addiction, masturbation, voyeurism, etc. Again, I am NOT excusing these things. But similar to how things could have been done to stop Hannah/ help her from committing suicide, things need to ALSO be done to keep young men from falling off the deep end (as Tyler has). We need to make all people feel wanted, needed, important, etc. Tyler absolutely believed that he had no chance with a woman at all. I’m sure his porn collection is massive, his self-image is in the toilet, and he eventually started stalking and trying to take what he believed he never could rightfully have. Is this worthy of jail time? Absolutely. But again, look at this point… BOYS ARE BOYS and they’re visual, and desperate to feel wanted and needed. Don’t forget that. This is part of their biology, it’s not going away. They will “NEVER” be “just breasts” to men overall because God (or science if you believe in that) literally wired them to be sexually aroused by the female body. You cannot make a young man submit to your way of thinking by flanking him with scantily clad women and expect him not to react. (I mean in a sexually aroused way, not that he should or can’t control a rape or something)
Reason#12.- Tyler is a time bomb because of everything above and needs serious help and someone should have helped him and should still help him before everyone ends up where Alex did… What? You think Alex shot himself? Think a bit harder. What did Tyler buy in the alley? What did he do in the darkroom?
Reason#13.- One suicide is bad enough… however, killing several more people and probably yourself? Not good.
We absolutely need to be taking care of our women, but if that is a fact, then the statement, “We need to be taking better care of our men” is an even truer fact. Did you know that there are virtually no shelters for domestically abused men? Don’t blame “the patriarchy” – Blame society and how we treat men who are abused and feel lost. Blame us. Blame me. Blame you.
We need to be talking about Tyler. We need to be talking about him because it’s more likely that you know a Tyler than it is that you know a Hannah. Based on statistics alone, that is a fact.