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Trigger Warnings - Courtesy or Avoidance?

Ms_Muffintops

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Today, a professor of mine posted this article on Facebook.

TL;DR for those who don't want to read the article, it's a history teachers sarcastic syllabus which includes trigger warnings for each topic they will be covering.

So it brought on the thought...

We all get the purpose of trigger warnings, it's a warning for those who have suffered or are suffering from what have you who might have an emotional or physical response to the topic or theme.

My professors stance: She thinks younger generations are becoming too sensitive to the point that we might be hurting ourselves in the long run. All of the other professors commenting on the post agreed.

I was curious what other people thought of this seeing as we're the generation that kind of created and embraced this courtesy.

I kind of agree with my professor. Older generations too were like "Let's just pretend this doesn't exist..." kind of attitude. But at the same time, I think some of our generations approaches to their issues aren't any better. If we have an issue that is such a sensitive topic to us to the point that we can't even bear to have it mentioned or discussed around us, perhaps it's a sign we need to seek help and seriously take on our issue. And that perhaps exposure to the topic will actually help us with acceptance and getting over our trials in the long run.

My friend once made a post on Tumblr of a S&M theme and someone chewed her out for not adding a rape trigger warning to her post. She went and vented to me about how horrible she felt and all I could think was "Why should you feel bad? You didn't do it on purpose or maliciously."

And that's when it really begins to bug me... when those who made the post are made to feel bad, kind of like a bully, or like they did something wrong when their intentions were completely innocent.

The internet is a wide open space, and I think it's insane to go onto the internet not expecting to find something you might find offensive or a bit jarring.

So what do you guys think?
 

Nihilistic_Impact

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I think in Academia it has no place. You are there to learn about the world, there is no hiding from it. For such things as tumblr I believe it's alright, though some people take it too far as seen in your example. As a means of helping to categorise and cater to people's interest within a social medium for entertainment purposes limited warnings can be useful, if only to make navigation easier.

At the same time the whole notion of trigger warnings is pretty banal as there's no guarantee as to what will actually trigger someone. It need not be anything in particular, a word, smell, any fucking little thing.
 

MellowYellow

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Sep 28, 2013
In theory the idea of trigger warnings could be useful. People do have their own traumas and averse reactions to certain things, so it makes sense to try and warn them away from such things.

In practice however, this is very rarely the case. Nowadays, most instances of people having 'triggers' comes across as shorthand for 'I don't like this particular thing, so I'm going to whine about it until people listen.'

As with all things, I blame tumblr for being the newest cesspit of the internet. The overabundance of that term being inappropriately used there has led to the concept of a trigger warning being trivialized and made a mockery of, so even if you do wat to use if genuinely it's that much harder for people to take much notice of it.

All the same, I'm going to side with your professor on this sort of thing. People now seem to have no real thick skin and seem to actively seek out reasons to get offended or shocked. It just makes it harder for people with genuine problems.
 

CyanideDisaster

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I'm with the professor here. People are far too sensitive and emotional about issues that truly don't effect them-- especially past events. Sure, listening to what happened in POW camps if you're from a Jewish family would be difficult, but it's for educational purposes. You yourself weren't held in a POW camp, so you can't *really* feel the trauma from being there. However, if you're from Iraq and you were taken prisoner, beaten, raped, and what-have-you then yes, maybe hearing about what the US did in Iraq would stir up some trauma.

The idea that hearing about a topic you plan on learning about will 'trigger' emotional issues though that would make you incapable of sitting through a class is ridiculous. I applaud your professor's use of sarcasm to get this point across.
 

KuraTenshi

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Mar 27, 2011
I believe you grow stronger from everything. I don't mind discussing 'trigger topics' what I care about is if people talk about trigger topics in insensitive ways.

Example of rape jokes or saying, "She's a slut and deserves to be raped." or having jokes about similar things. I've learnt to tolerate a lot of it. I know some of my friends say them as jokes, but I keep my mouth shut. They sometimes call ME too sensitive when I would get upset about them making inappropriate jokes.

I myself have been through sexual abuse and I know how sensitive the topic is. I believe it SHOULD be discussed in an appropriate manner. Perhaps the causes, or why things happen; not being a hater and saying "I hope you get raped" or something similar with malicious intent.

I do believe society needs to not be /as/ sensitive to certain things. I think it is best if we face the problems we are given and work on them rather than trying to conceal, don't feel our problems.
 

Trygon

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I don't mind if people want to have their own communities where they forbid words. Whether it be rape, assault, tongue or moist (EW), it doesn't affect me at all.

When it does affect me is when some rockheaded 'feminist' tries to jump down my throat for something I said that she happened to see/hear.

The public does not owe anyone any concessions. A certain level of thick skin is necessary to exist in the world. Those that lack it are gonna have a bad time, and I feel no obligation to try and lessen that bad time.

It's negative-sum. If you hear something that makes you feel bad and you immediately do what you can to make someone else feel bad for causing you to hear it, then two people suffer. If you hear something and shrug it off (ideally) or at least keep your fucking yap shut about how wounded you are, then nobody else has to suffer for your weakness. This is besides the additional negatives, like making an entire college of professors agree that this oh-so-important social rule you've been trying to instate is the stupidest shit in the world.

If people who were triggered had quietly and politely asked only people that care about their wellbeing to be mindful of certain words, we might have actually seen a growing social consciousness that words can hurt etc. Instead, the term 'Trigger' has become a parody of itself.

It reminds me of when I first heard the word, in rehab. Someone found my snuff bullet offensive, as bullets like that are frequently used for cocaine. He tried to have snuff banned, due to just how awful it was to see. I agreed that perhaps such a ban would have merit, and presented my own list of triggers that I would like removed if they decided such a policy was wise. The only one I remember offhand was requesting that 'hash' browns not be served, spoken of, or printed on any material anywhere in the center. As we had a sizable library and nobody wanted to scan every newspaper we got for errant breakfast mentions, it was all thrown out. And, wouldn't you know? The loudmouth never was compelled to run out of the center and buy cocaine from seeing my bullet.
 

Alvis Alendran

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THe overuse of 'trigger warnings' and other amounts of enforced PC works do seem to be getting overly excessive. Irritatingly so. At the same time, if you're going to approach a problem, I prefer it being done in a measured format. The big wave of sarcasm that the article provides? entirely easy to dismiss as it comes across as someone being kind of an asshole about it.

Maybe it's just the tone that I read it in, but... if I had this professor, I'd be giving a very firm "You're not wrong, you're just an asshole." statement to him.

I've noticed more and more as I talk to people belonging to the younger generation, and the different approaches to how people are being raised. And more often than not, I see people being taught that it's okay to run away from things that make you uncomfortable. Which..is in no way helpful in hte real world. Growing up, if I was going to be doing something that made me uncomfortable, one of my parents would stand by to let me know that someone was there if it went wrong, but I was expected to still do it. And after awhile, you just get used to doing things that you might not be comfortable doing, and get it over with.

Now, I see a lot more pats on the head, and "You don't have to do that, it's fine now." Which does legitimately bother me. Maybe it's further proof that I was born too late by a long stretch, but realitically, I see a lot of people with this outlook and just want to shake them and tell them to grow the fuck up.

Now, I freely acknowledge the existance of triggers, and that there are a few issues that should be fair to warn a person about if it's not fairly obvious in the title of the subject matter. So... he's not wrong, I just think he's kind of an asshole about it, and not presenting much of an argument in a way that can easily be taken seriously.
 

Cherry Shithead

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I lived in various treatment centers for 3 years. Every single day girls would get triggered by something, and attack someone, usually me. I looked at a girl for like, two seconds, so she bit me. One girl called another girl a whore, so some other girl started crying. A girl tried to finger me, so I punched her in the face.

Anything can trigger anyone. In my personal opinion, you're a little bitch if you expect the entire world to cater to your emotional instability, especially without giving the same courtesy for others.
 
V

Vic Rattlehead

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I'm more worried about trigger warnings be used as a means of censorship. Its bad enough when fundamentalists and parents with nothing better to do want books banned in school, but wanting to get rid of certain books because they might "offend" someone is insane.
 

Cherry Shithead

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I still don't think the government has the right to tell me what I can and can't say. If someone else wants to warn you that their post has some racy stuff in it, that's all fine and dandy. But don't expect me to cater to your whiny bitchitude.

It's weird how on the radio, they can talk a bunch of shit about girls in G-strings and doing coke, but they gotta bleep "god" out of "goddamn". Because it might OFFEND someone.
 

SithLordOfSnark

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Cherry Shithead said:
I still don't think the government has the right to tell me what I can and can't say. If someone else wants to warn you that their post has some racy stuff in it, that's all fine and dandy. But don't expect me to cater to your whiny bitchitude.

It's weird how on the radio, they can talk a bunch of shit about girls in G-strings and doing coke, but they gotta bleep "god" out of "goddamn". Because it might OFFEND someone.
Agreed fully.
 

Ms_Muffintops

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Vic Rattlehead said:
I'm more worried about trigger warnings be used as a means of censorship. Its bad enough when fundamentalists and parents with nothing better to do want books banned in school, but wanting to get rid of certain books because they might "offend" someone is insane.
This is going a bit off topic. That's censorship. Trigger warnings are not censorship but something more along the lines of warning, kind of like with the rating system: "Rated R for violence and sexual nature."

So you guys please remember, this is about trigger warnings, not censorship. The government has no place in this discussion as there have been no laws placed in support or against trigger warnings.
 

SithLordOfSnark

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Ms_Muffintops said:
Vic Rattlehead said:
I'm more worried about trigger warnings be used as a means of censorship. Its bad enough when fundamentalists and parents with nothing better to do want books banned in school, but wanting to get rid of certain books because they might "offend" someone is insane.
This is going a bit off topic. That's censorship. Trigger warnings are not censorship but something more along the lines of warning, kind of like with the rating system: "Rated R for violence and sexual nature."

So you guys please remember, this is about trigger warnings, not censorship. The government has no place in this discussion as there have been no laws placed in support or against trigger warnings.
The only time I will personally put a trigger warning is if I'm talking about rape. Period. Otherwise, there is no need.
 
V

Vic Rattlehead

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Ms_Muffintops said:
Vic Rattlehead said:
I'm more worried about trigger warnings be used as a means of censorship. Its bad enough when fundamentalists and parents with nothing better to do want books banned in school, but wanting to get rid of certain books because they might "offend" someone is insane.
This is going a bit off topic. That's censorship. Trigger warnings are not censorship but something more along the lines of warning, kind of like with the rating system: "Rated R for violence and sexual nature."

So you guys please remember, this is about trigger warnings, not censorship. The government has no place in this discussion as there have been no laws placed in support or against trigger warnings.
While I'm normally against slippery slope arguments, but books have been banned in school for being offensive. Whats to stop people from wanting to ban The Great Gatsby for having misogyny and domestic violence in it?
 

Nihilistic_Impact

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Nothing, but that's not this thread. This thread is slapping a great big sticker on the book saying warning misogyny and domestic violence contained within, do not read if you can't handle that shit.
 
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Vic Rattlehead

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Fair enough. I just don't see why people cant google/sparknote a book, to get the basic gist of the book.
 

Ms_Muffintops

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And there's a difference between 'I don't want to see that' and 'I can't see that.'

Trigger warnings are for people who will have a mentally or emotionally negative reaction to something seen or being said. Such as panic attacks, anxiety, flashbacks, relapses, etc.
 

Rudolph Quin

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Ms_Muffintops said:
And there's a difference between 'I don't want to see that' and 'I can't see that.'

Trigger warnings are for people who will have a mentally or emotionally negative reaction to something seen or being said. Such as panic attacks, anxiety, flashbacks, relapses, etc.
It's about personal responsibility, then. It was one of the things that came up when I was in rehab that when people talk about drinking in chats it's the same as being offered it at someone's house. Saying that "when so and so talks about (insert topic) it makes me (do something)" is bullshit. Same with whatever trauma you have suffered. You cannot go through life living in a bubble. We're not made for that. We're very adaptable creatures and believe it or not we don't stand for uncomfortable/stressful situations for very long. It's why Stockholme Syndrome exists; it's not usually orchestrated by the kidnapper but occurs as a result of someone being in a tense, traumatic situation for too long. We adapt and make it livable. Same with trigger warnings. Sometimes I feel like people work themselves up and play the victim because it is easier than moving past it. You hang onto a comfortable place and let people know about it repeatedly so you don't ever have to face it and overcome it. But in so doing that you make it so that EVERYONE now has your weakness as we walk on eggshells for you.
 

SithLordOfSnark

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My personal policy is... if you know it has the potential of triggering you, don't read it. I'm not going to hold your hand through every little post I make, because you're a special snowflake.
 

Absinthresher

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Social Justice and "Trigger Warnings" are people trying to be morally superior to other people by stomping into other people's intellectual spaces and yelling "YOU'RE WRONG" as loudly as fucking possible until all activity THEY deem "unacceptable" has been silenced, or until that community somehow successfully fights back and drives them off.

Trigger Warnings are actually more damaging than helpful. The people who use these fucking things are the same people that suggest that we don't teach laws on rape IN A LAW CLASS and also suggest that examination of evidence in a rape case NOT be done "Because it could be harmful to the accusers" regardless of whether that person is actually telling the truth or lying through their teeth. Yes, I know, the idea of someone lying about something so heinous might make someone's brain explode but you're not getting a trigger warning from me.

These are the same people who want to No-Platform Christina Hoff Summers and Milo Yiannopolous. A wonderful lady with wonderful ideas, and a dangerous faggot whom I admire greatly.

Personally, I think Trigger Warnings are a hindrance and that Social Justice needs to be stamped the fuck out before it can spread any further. Just imagine what these bone heads could do if they ever get into positions of powers (Not that most of them will because Gender Studies Degrees are actually LESS useful than English Degrees at this point).
 

Rudolph Quin

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Gender Studies Degrees are actually LESS useful than English Degrees at this point).
Wait for it. They're about to get relevant real fast if people continue not being able to handle transgender issues in a grown up manner.
 

SlytherinDesires

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I definitely think this generation is way too sensitive and scream triggered over anything that remotely bugs them. Unless you have some form of flashback and huge anxiety attack like someone with PTSD, you aren't being triggered, you're being a baby. My veteran family members find it insulting the sjws of today start acting like they are survivors of war because someone mentions blood in an assignment once. It's degrading.
 
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I think trigger warnings as a bare concept are pretty harmless and damage-preventing--in case you didn't notice, our TV and movies already have some aspect of them (people seem to forget that the symbols in the corner at the beginning of each show actually tell you each potentially upsetting element.) It's kind of warped into this label that you can stamp on anything mildly upsetting to someone now, though, and not the kinds of things that CAN very easily upset someone (rape, extreme gore, motor accidents, seeing someone who's caused you massive trauma...)

But avoiding exposing a person you don't know to shit like without ample warning that is just being a decent human being, because most people don't want to see those things regardless of whether they've had traumatic experiences. I've also seen a few websites around the bend specifically made to warn people about very upsetting things in movies, shows, videos, as well. In a way, pretty much everything already has "trigger warnings" where they're needed, even if it sometimes means having to go out of your way.

And then there's people who seem to misunderstand what a "trigger" even is. Being grossed out by spiders is fine and understandable, but it's kind of ridiculous to ask everyone on your dashboard to tag them when most of the people you follow will probably only post the odd spider picture once in a blue moon. And then there's people who ask to have things tagged like "skin" and "humans" that make me honestly wonder if they can even look into a mirror or down at their hands without turning into a mess. Which in turn makes me wonder how they would've EVER decided the great WWW was a safe space for someone clearly still very much struggling with some issues.

Beyond that, it's practically impossible to avoid ever being upset by something. People are unreliable and forget things and the concept of putting warnings on everything is tedious and not realistic. If someone has crippling panic set on by something that's very easy to stumble across, well, that's why therapy exists. Personal responsibility first. It's kind of a tough fact, especially since people with trauma didn't even ASK to be so easily affected by a certain topic, but just relying on everyone else is just setting yourself up for failure.

A combination of trauma therapy and being VERY MUCH AWARE of the content in any media I'm consuming has pretty much kept me from having to deal with the things that can literally reduce me to meltdowns for over a year. Hoping to keep the streak.
 
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