Why do so many kids have tattoos in 13 Reasons Why?

Firstly, I have nothing against tattoos. I am definitely not one of those "your tattoos make you a horrible mother" Facebook page weirdos. However, after a few episodes into 13 Reason's Why on Netflix, I couldn't help but notice the startling amount of teenagers with tattoos. 

I first noticed Tony's stars behind his ear and cross on his forearm but dismissed it as part of his bad boy persona. But then I noticed Justin's tattoo at the basketball game and then there's Skye’s in your face throat tattoos.

I was able to rule out a lack of makeup to cover up the tattoos with a quick search through several cast member's instagrams because the actors don't have those tattoos in real life. So the tattoos was a deliberate costume choice but how realistic is it to have so many minors with tattoos? Where are their parents?

But I suppose that's the point. Either the parents are absent or they are so out of touch with their kids that they don't have a clue what is going on in their child's life. The deliberate choice of the tattoos points to the lack of parental presence in 13 Reasons Why.

Justin's mother is a drug addict and takes little notice of him. Her boyfriend is abusive. 
We never see Tony's parents. We also never see Skye's parents but we do see the cuts on her wrists that presumably her parents do not know about. 

Undoubtedly the worst of all the students in question is Bryce. Though rich, his parents are never present in the show. We only see what the look like through a family portrait that Jason stares at. When Clay asks Bryce "You keep [your weed] on the coffee table?" Bryce replies by stating they're not home. 

Even the parents of the characters without tattoos have parents are just as absent. In the first episode, Clay's mother informs him that the school emailed to which he replies "explains why Dad showed interest in my life". This leads us to believe that Clay's dad doesn't normally interested in his son's life. Later, we find out that Clay's parents don't even know who his friends are. 

13 Reasons Why doesn't hand blame to any single person. The characters in each of the tapes should be held accountable for their actions and the various ways they let Hannah down. Tattoos or not, the characters on the tapes are children plain and simple and therefore the parents in the show also bear some of the blame. 


  1. I noticed all the tattoos as well and thought it was strange!

  2. Hi Cynthia. Thanks for sharing this. I am hesitant to watch the 13 reasons and a lot of people are talking about it. I just thought what is the point of watching it if it is something about suicide. But tonight i am watching it.

  3. There is a lot of controversy over this show. Primarily how it glorifies suicide and "alternate" social groups (heavily tatooed teenagers?! really!?). I wish I could ban if from my Netflix so my teenager doesn't watch it.