Streaming Sexual Violence: Binge-watching Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why

Horeck, Tanya (2019) Streaming Sexual Violence: Binge-watching Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why. Participations: Journal of Audience & Reception Studies, 16 (2). ISSN 1749-8716 (Accepted)

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Abstract

This article explores the politics of streaming sexual violence through the case study of Netflix Original 13 Reasons Why (2017-). Evaluating the observation that long-form drama with its extended temporality can engage with rape culture in more sustained and critical ways, this article argues that this is not necessarily the case. Tracking the ways in which Netflix hooks and trains its audiences to binge-watch 13 Reasons Why—in both its narrative hermeneutics and its structures of reception—I argue that those reception practices and narrative hooks, particularly around sexually graphic content, are cultivated around successive levels of intensity, similar to levels in a video game. In effect, sexual violence is gamified in 13 Reasons Why and is used as a structuring punctuation device for the full-drop season, which aims to keep viewers locked into Netflix’s streaming interface. I conclude that the seriality of 13 Reasons Why as a binge-able Netflix product places a premium upon the ‘next episode’ in a way that ultimately forecloses a deeper, more meaningful engagement with the serious issues of sexual violence and victimization. This article argues for the importance of examining how new technological and networked modes of delivery and response are shaping audience’s affective encounters/engagements with images of sexual violence in the digital streaming era.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: sexual violence, seriality, Netflix, binge-watching, gamification, rape culture
Faculty: ARCHIVED Faculty of Arts, Law & Social Sciences (until September 2018)
Depositing User: Ian Walker
Date Deposited: 20 May 2019 13:35
Last Modified: 20 Nov 2019 02:02
URI: http://arro.anglia.ac.uk/id/eprint/704350

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