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Commentaries on this Media!

An Arrangement

by Lee Conderacci

Hannah has made an arrangement with Zach. She has decided that rather than leaving it to chance, she wants to make a conscious plan to lose her virginity to somebody she likes. This example, like many others, incorporates common cultural values that frame virginity, and losing one's virginity, as A Very Big Deal.

There is a social power differential here, as Zach is a popular guy and Hannah is somewhat of an outcast. As far as sexual consent is concerned, the show does not explore this as a possible complicating factor. However, this difference in social status is ultimately a primary contributor to the dissolution of Zach and Hannah's relationship (which is a common trope in romantic narratives). Though the two seem to have an active, joyful, mutually satisfying, and fully consensual sexual relationship in this scene and beyond, as well as a legitimate personal connection, Zach does not legitimize the relationship within his own social circle. He will not acknowledge to his friends that he is involved with Hannah, and the show suggests that this is a factor that contributes to her subsequent suicide.

This is also an interracial couple, which could have certain implications with regard to sexual power dynamics, but 13 Reasons Why does little to address race in this scene or anywhere else in the show.

This particular scene is shown as a flashback, so the audience already knows Hannah's fate, but this moment is presented as a slightly awkward yet sweet, romantic, generally positive, and fully-consensual first sexual encounter.

13 Reasons Why: I Love Your Body

13 Reasons Why is a Netflix series about the events surrounding a teenage girl's suicide. Sex and sexuality, as well as sexual violence and assault, play crucial roles in plot development and are represented frequently in the show.

from 13 Reasons Why (2018)
Creator: Brian Yorkey
Distributor: Netflix
Posted by Lee Conderacci