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13 Reasons Why is the new Netflix show that tackles rape culture - here's why you need to watch it

A teen show with a difference.

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READY TO DIVE headfirst into another Netflix series? 13 Reasons Why ought to be at the top of your list.

The series, which is based on a young adult novel of the same name, launched on the streaming service last week and has garnered near universal acclaim – it boasts an impressive 92% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

What’s the gist?

13 Reasons Why is a 13-part series that follows a teenager’s quest to discover why his classmate Hannah decided to take her own life. He uncovers a package containing 13 cassette tapes in which Hannah clearly outlines the reasons for her decision and reveals some secrets about her classmates.

It’s written and developed by Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Brian Yorkey and directed by Spotlight director Tom McCarthy. It’s also executive produced by Selena Gomez.

So now.

So wait… it’s a teen show?

It is, but that shouldn’t discourage you from watching it. Sometimes teen shows are good! (Hello, My So Called Life and Freaks and Geeks.)

It tackles everything from teen suicide to rape culture to toxic masculinity. In other words, this isn’t a teen show about getting a date for prom or sourcing beer for a party. It goes deeper than that.

How does it tackle rape culture?

Without delving into spoiler territory, the series explores issues like sexual assault, revenge porn and slutshaming.

It examines how teenage girls are damned if they do and damned if they don’t when it comes to “putting out”. It shows how the “boys will be boys” attitude still prevails when it comes to sexual assault. And it illustrates how women are very often held culpable for their own sexual assaults.

As Bustle explained in this excellent, spoiler-laden piece:

13 Reasons Why is undeniably painful to watch, and that’s exactly why it’s such important TV for both teens and adults. Instead of dismissing a “hot or not” list or a rumor as no big deal, we need to consider the environment this creates. Once we acknowledge the magnitude of the problem, we’re better positioned to confront and prevent it.

A teen show with a message/social conscience? We can get on board with that.

It’s available to stream on Netflix now.

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About the author:

Amy O'Connor

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