No trigger warnings.

6 Jul

I hate this self-absorbed me-me-me-and-my-feelings complaining that there is no trigger warning on content published on a website that is geared towards general population, or in a place where trigger material could be expected. Also, what is trigger material? For all I know, your child recently drowned in the sea; now I have to feel bad about not putting a trigger warning above my sunset-above-the-waves photography…

I refuse. I am counting down the seconds to the first comment complaining that this post was triggering. LOL.

Requests for trigger warnings on platforms not geared towards trauma “survivors”, the mentally ill, or the emotionally unstable, are something I HATE and consider rude, selfish, and very, very, weak, infantile and whiny. I know better than to make rape jokes on sexual abuse self-help forums. But Facebook? My blog? DeviantART? LOG OFF if you can’t deal with people saying or showing whatever they like. General population areas of the internet are to be entered at one’s own risk. If you know you have triggers or other issues, use your better judgment. Don’t ask the internet to babysit you.
Hell, I once saw someone posting suicidal thoughts on a suicide self-help forum… “PUT A TRIGGER WARNING OMG!!!” Hello? You came to a suicide forum. What did you expect? Puppies and rainbows? Moron. Yes, I just called a victim of emotional instability (which is the determining factor in how we deal with traumatic experience, even more so than the experience itself) a moron. How insensitive. Just as insensitive as demanding people self-censor in order to spare the irrational emotional reactions of strangers on the web. What if what I have to say is extremely important to me? Now whose extremely important issues matter more – my extremely important desire/need to express myself, or your extremely important emotional safety?

I refuse to tiptoe or to put trigger warnings everywhere. Hell, the multiple choice question where I had to rephrase the sentence “He did not live up to his promises” which was repeated and rubbed in my face in 4 more ways, almost triggered renewed heartbreak in me; I was sitting there trying to keep the tears from falling – should I go cry to the ministry of education for exposing me to such a phrase on my Hebrew proficiency test without a trigger warning?

No.

As someone who has “survived” a lot of traumatic things, I understand why trigger warnings exist. Let me just say, I hate the term “survivor” when it comes to non-potentially-lethal-physical trauma… none of those things kill you unless you kill yourself because you can’t cope so stop being dramatic. You survive wars. You survive life-threatening disease. You survive attempts on your life.
Am I being insensitive, again? Well, let’s see. If 100 people respond to a similar experience in 80 different ways, then I guess we really can’t label anything as definitely very traumatic. Otherwise everyone would respond similarly. If different people respond differently to the same thing, it’s obviously strictly subjective. I’m not downplaying any crimes or horrible experiences. Hell, death penalty to any violent criminal such as rapists, armed robbers, etc. I’m just saying, trauma and triggers are subjective which makes potentially anything traumatic or triggering.

I just don’t think that someone’s responsibility to cope with their own experiences should be dumped on the public. I’ve had pretty much everything happen to me, and honestly, bleh. Some things “trigger” me but it’s my own responsibility to deal with that. So many things trigger me. I can still feel the cold fur and blood of my puppy after a car pressed his brains out his ears. I can still smell the nose breath of one of many sexual assaillants. God I hate bad nose breath. I can still remember the shape of my miscarriage. The laughter of my bullies as they kicked me deeper and deeper into the creek. And so on. So fucking what. It sucks, it hurts, I get up, I move on. If a thin-skinned crybaby like me can do it, then maybe you can’t, but I can’t cater to that by changing my routine, including how I express myself on the net. Triggers are not a real problem. They are in your head. Some people have cancer. Cancer is real. Triggers are memories flaring up unpleasantly. Sit down. Look at kittens. Leave me alone.

Here, have Hitler making out with a Jewess.

Obviously, I would never make a dead baby joke in a mothers’ group, a Holocaust joke among European Jews, or a rape joke in a self-help group of sexual abuse victims. But in general or unrelated settings, I think people need to simply suck it up that their trauma is their business. I hate being made to feel like I need to tiptoe around people. If you expose yourself to the risk, you can’t blame others for triggering you by using their right to free speech. They are not actually hurting you. It is not about you. It’s really not my problem that someone else is likely to lose control over their emotions over topics people should be free to discuss whenever, wherever, except in totally inappropriate or specific settings. Demanding so is actually rude in my opinion. I deliberately never, ever use trigger warnings. I don’t wish to cater to this. I have a million triggers, and the job to keep control over them, is mine alone.

Here, have some soldiers shooting shit or getting shot.

Really, what’s a trigger? Hell, a blog post about my beautiful dogs once triggered a woman who saw her child mauled by a dog of the same breed. You can’t even declare some topics as obvious triggers, because some people deal with their trauma better than others and may not see the point in a warning. For example, I have so far dismissed any sexual abuse I’ve personally suffered, as bad sex, a shitty encounter, or no worse than a fist fight. This other woman was triggered by my blog post explaining why I love the Akita breed. You might as well put a trigger warning above anything. European Jews may get triggered every time someone says something about Hitler. Dog bite victims may be triggered by the sight of dogs. Burn victims by a tasty stew on the fire. Let’s all starve, a burn victim might not like that roast.

What’s black and blue and hates sex?
A rape victim.

I’m sorry something bad happened to you, but I will not self-censor under 80% of circumstances. Like phobias, trigger responses are irrational and can’t be blamed on the surroundings or the trigger unless the trigger is the actual, original, cause of the response like YOUR rapist, and not just some random guy talking about sex. I can’t demand zoos cover their tarantula displays for my visit because spiders drive me out of my skin. I can choose to walk past spider displays without looking. I can choose to stay out of the spider and snake house altogether. I also cannot be asked to put warnings on all my art and writing just because my work spares no one.

Here, have a decapitated kitten.

Sometimes triggers cannot be avoided, but if you’re gonna go to a platform with a specific topic, you can assume to be triggered and have the choice to not visit that site or view its content.

This post sums it up perfectly how I feel about trigger warnings: http://mic.com/articles/87283/9-feminist-arguments-against-using-trigger-warnings-in-academia

I am empathic to trauma. This post may not sound like it, but I feel sad for anyone who has been hurt without deserving it. But how you deal with it, is up to you.

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One Response to “No trigger warnings.”

  1. ambivalencegirl July 6, 2014 at 10:25 pm #

    I can’t help but giggle because you are SO right. Also an apology since I started my last post with the dreaded TW.

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