Can we all please just admit that Hannah Baker is the absolute worst
Now hear me out
by Alex Wright
Everyone is obsessed with 13 Reasons Why lately, and it’s not hard to see why. It’s stuck mental health awareness well and truly in the limelight, particularly among the teenage masses, something that is increasingly important when you consider the number of suicides occurring at univeristies . Although the show has caused some controversy, with many calling it out for being “an insult to anyone with mental health issues”, let’s look past that for a moment. Not easy, I know, but if you look past the suicide plot line, you will realise that Hannah Baker is, quite honestly, a god awful character.
Don’t get me wrong, what happens to Hannah is awful, and no one deserves to go through what she went through – in terms of both the rape, and her mental health struggles. But there’s a good four, five episodes before any of this even happens, when Hannah basically just comes across as a whiny brat. She is the literal definition of a self-entitled millenial.
First of all, what sort of person leaves thirteen tapes depicting each and every reason why other people in her life caused her to kill herself, like it’s some sort of vindictive game, and then doesn’t leave her parents even a note that would give them some sort of closure? Why are the people who “killed” her allowed some closure – which they will inevitably get, once they’ve come to terms with why they’re to blame for her death (according to Hannah), but her parents aren’t? They don’t deserve that. No one deserves that.
To be honest, the only thing worse than no note was the vindictive game Hannah left for everyone else in the form of those stupid tapes. All those tapes did was shift the blame around, and it was just so petty. Seriously. Name me a more petty thing that blaming your friend for your suicide because she got mad that her boyfriend said Hannah had a better ass. That is a completely rational thing to get mad about. Sure, most people would have stayed to hear their friend out, but it’s not like she lost her friend over this. They had already regressed to the point where they could barely call themselves acquaintances because Hannah was so wrapped up in herself and feeling “left out” that she couldn’t just be happy for Jessica and Alex.
She moaned and moaned that they all drifted apart, but the only thing she did to try and stop it was turn up to the coffee shop by herself and hope that they would show as well. Even though they clearly weren’t. There are other ways to keep in touch with people than just meeting up at the coffee shop every day. Hannah was just as much to blame for the breakdown of their friendship as Alex and Jessica were, but she was so happy to pin the blame all on them because it suited her.
And can we please talk about Clay? He was forced to listen to all of those tapes, tearing himself up wondering what on earth he did wrong, only for Hannah to turn around and basically be like “you didn’t do anything, just wanted to let you know what’s going on”. SERIOUSLY HANNAH? All that boy did was love you, and you knew it, he was just too afraid to tell you. To put him through something like that is cruel. To put him in the same bunch of tapes as the guy who fucking raped her, as if he’s somehow on that same level because he didn’t have the balls to admit he was in love, is not what you do to someone you care about. The least she could have done is put his tape first, put him out of his misery.
Hannah’s life was hard, there’s no denying that. Starting a new school, losing your best friend, getting a reputation for being a slut, and being mercilessly bullied will have a detrimental effect on anyone. But she doesn’t exactly help herself. And before you start shouting me down for victim blaming, just look at the facts. She doesn’t actually seek out any help, at all.
She moans at Clay, saying “once again, you and the point are complete strangers”, and then just walks off without actually explaining it to him, helping him see why he acted like a douche. She moans about all the unwanted attention she gets from guys about her looks, and then attacks Clay every time he awkwardly gives her a compliment that doesn’t really come across as a compliment. She moans that she has no friends, but doesn’t really do anything about that either. Basically, all she really does is moan. That’s it.
Hannah Baker’s storyline is a sad one, but it’s also a very two dimensional one. When you really look past the suicide and the rape plot lines, there’s nothing more there than a whiny, self-involved, self-absorbed, entitled middle-class girl who thinks she should be able to turn up and everyone will arrange themselves around her, and her whole “I’m not like other girls so nobody likes me” attitude is boring.
She gets a lot of people blaming themselves for her death, when they did virtually nothing wrong. And I know the whole show is about how little things add up to become big things, but that’s bullshit. What tipped her over the edge was Bryce raping her. There is no getting away from that. Alex didn’t kill Hannah Baker. Jessica didn’t kill Hannah Baker. Neither did Clay, or Justin, or Courtney. Hannah Baker killed Hannah Baker. Bryce killed Hannah Baker. The rest of the show is just some average 16 year old moaning about petty, insignificant things, and wrapping them all up into some little tapes so she can make everyone else feel shit as well. She may have been a victim, but she was also a bully.
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