Why is 13 Reasons Why Rated MA? Unveiling the Controversial Rating Decision

Why is 13 Reasons Why Rated MA? Unveiling the Controversial Rating Decision

Why is 13 Reasons Why Rated MA? Unveiling the Controversial Rating Decision

In recent years, the TV series “13 Reasons Why” has received both critical acclaim and intense controversy. Based on the novel of the same name by Jay Asher, the show follows the story of a high school student who takes her own life and leaves behind a series of cassette tapes explaining her reasons. While the show tackles important issues such as bullying, sexual assault, and mental health, it has also sparked significant debate and concern, leading to its controversial MA rating.

The Impact of 13 Reasons Why

One of the main reasons why “13 Reasons Why” received an MA rating is due to its graphic and explicit content. The show doesn’t shy away from depicting difficult and sensitive topics, including scenes of sexual assault and suicide. These depictions, while intended to raise awareness and start conversations, have been criticized for potentially glamorizing or romanticizing these acts.

The graphic content is not the only factor contributing to the MA rating. The show’s portrayal of mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety, can be triggering for some viewers. The explicit depiction of suicide has raised concerns among mental health experts who worry about its potential impact on vulnerable individuals.

Controversial Rating Decision

The decision to give “13 Reasons Why” an MA rating was not without controversy. Many argue that the show’s content is important for starting conversations around difficult topics and raising awareness about the challenges faced by teenagers. However, others believe that the explicit nature of the show could have negative consequences, particularly for those who are already struggling with mental health issues.

The Role of Parental Guidance

One of the key considerations in rating a show like “13 Reasons Why” is the role of parental guidance. The show deals with complex and mature themes that may not be suitable for younger audiences. The MA rating is intended to provide a clear indication that the show contains content that may be unsuitable for viewers under the age of 17 or without parental guidance.

Parents and guardians play an essential role in helping young viewers navigate the potentially triggering and distressing content. By watching the show together or engaging in conversations about the themes, they can provide support and context to help them process the material in a responsible and healthy way.

The Importance of Mental Health Resources

Regardless of the controversy surrounding its rating decision, “13 Reasons Why” has brought attention to the importance of mental health resources and support systems. The show’s creators have included warning messages and resources at the beginning and end of episodes, encouraging viewers to seek help if they are struggling with similar issues.

It is crucial for viewers to understand that seeking professional help is always the best course of action when faced with mental health challenges. If the show evokes strong emotions or triggers difficult thoughts, individuals should reach out to counselors, therapists, or helplines for support.


The MA rating of “13 Reasons Why” is a result of its graphic and explicit content, which includes depictions of suicide, sexual assault, and intense themes related to mental health. While the rating decision has sparked controversy, it serves as a reminder of the need for parental guidance and mental health resources when engaging with sensitive content. It is essential for viewers to approach the show with caution and seek support when necessary.


1. What does the rating “MA” stand for in regards to “13 Reasons Why”?

The rating “MA” stands for “Mature Audiences” in regards to the TV series “13 Reasons Why”.

2. Why was “13 Reasons Why” given an MA rating?

“13 Reasons Why” was given an MA rating due to its explicit and mature content that may not be suitable for younger or sensitive viewers.

3. What factors contributed to the controversial rating decision?

Several factors contributed to the controversial rating decision of “13 Reasons Why”, such as its portrayal of sensitive topics like suicide, sexual assault, and substance abuse, along with graphic scenes and mature themes.

4. Who determines the rating of TV shows like “13 Reasons Why”?

The rating of TV shows like “13 Reasons Why” is determined by the Motion Picture Association (MPA) in collaboration with the Classification and Rating Administration (CARA).

5. What guidelines do the MPA and CARA follow in assigning ratings?

The MPA and CARA follow a set of guidelines that take into account factors like violence, profanity, nudity, drug use, and adult themes when assigning ratings to TV shows like “13 Reasons Why”.

6. Can younger viewers still watch “13 Reasons Why” despite the MA rating?

While younger viewers can technically watch “13 Reasons Why” with parental supervision or consent, the MA rating suggests that the series contains content that may be unsuitable or disturbing for younger audiences.

7. Have there been any controversies surrounding the rating of “13 Reasons Why”?

Yes, there have been numerous controversies surrounding the rating of “13 Reasons Why”. Many argue that the explicit content and sensitive themes depicted in the series may pose potential harm or trigger suicidal thoughts among vulnerable viewers.

8. How does the MA rating affect the availability of “13 Reasons Why”?

The MA rating ensures that platforms or networks broadcasting “13 Reasons Why” adhere to age restrictions, making it less accessible to younger viewers and only available to mature audiences.

9. Are there any age recommendations specifically associated with the MA rating?

While the MA rating does not have any specific age recommendations, it suggests that the content of “13 Reasons Why” may be more suitable for viewers who are at least 17 years old or older.

10. What precautions should parents or guardians take with younger viewers interested in watching “13 Reasons Why”?

Parents or guardians should exercise caution with younger viewers interested in watching “13 Reasons Why”. It is recommended to engage in open conversations, provide emotional support, and consider watching the series together to address any questions or concerns that may arise from its mature content.