Rebloggable by request.
The stupidity of trigger warnings.
oh god just preach it gurl
except when you go out to the museum you can reasonably guess what you’re in for and therefore you can prepare for it, while on tumblr things can just show up on your dash and smack you in the face and trigger an anxiety attack??
like yeah maybe the anon message was weird but just because some weird people need trigger warnings doesn’t make the concept itself ridiculous??
Cave to Canvas is an amazing site that brings art to your home. It’s the closest many people get to a museum anymore. If you follow it, you know you’ll see some artwork you like, some you don’t, and some that just makes you uncomfortable…just like being in a museum. I understand what they’re saying.
That said, I think trigger warnings are a personal choice. I don’t think any tumblr users are under any responsibility to tag things, just like no one is under any responsibility to follow those people. People get downright mean about it, possibly because not having to deal with people face to face makes them braver than they may be in everyday life. The anon above is a great example of that. The tone used was extremely rude. If they wanted to unfollow, they could have just unfollowed, or even just said something nicer like “Hi, I just wanted to let you know that, due to today’s postings, I’m unfollowing this blog. It’s bringing up horrible memories of _________. A trigger warning would be helpful; I simply can’t have this on my dash for my personal well-being. You may want to consider adding them for the future so others in my situation may avoid this.”
I have a lot of problems with the concept of trigger warnings because I can see both sides of it. Yes, we all could stand to be more aware of what we put out into the universe. There are people out there with genuine issues, and our culture as a whole needs to do better about how we handle these things.
But — The fact of the matter is that the internet is not a “safe space”, inherently. You can’t be protected from everything on it any more than in the rest of the world. I also think that a lot of the backlash against trigger warnings comes from the overuse of the term and the rapidity with which some people pounce on those who fail to use them. I honestly just do not believe they are as universally necessary as some people would have it. I think people too often claim to need them when really it’s a “I would just rather not see this/be bothered by it/have to deal with it” thing, not a true “This gives me PTSD flashbacks/anxiety attacks/nervous breakdowns” thing. I think the percentage for whom it is an actual threatening trigger is very, very small — and I think the people doing the snarling about them are rarely the same people who need them, but rather people who have decided this is their Internet Cause To Be Angry About.
And that grates on people and causes backlash against the concept. Jumping down people’s throats in a rude manner, as all too many do, isn’t the way to get more people to agree to the idea of using the warnings. I’m not saying it’s right, but I think that’s where a lot of the resistance comes from.
I don’t want to discount that small minority who genuinely need — not just want — these things, I just think that they’re not actually being represented in a way that solves the problem.
I can use myself as an example here. There are a lot of blogs I follow on Tumblr (and a lot of people I follow on Pinterest) that post things about their weight loss goals and their fitness plans, or who just feel compelled to discuss their body image in a way that seems, to me, to be excessive. There are a lot of people I know in real life, too, who cannot shut up about their diet plans and exercise regimens and weight loss goals. I want to be happy for them, but it really gets aggravating to me sometimes, because the more I hear all of that, the more I want to go home and eat nothing but cereal for a week. And have done. That kind of talk is triggering for me, not in the panic attack way, but in the death of a thousand paper cuts sort of way.
But — I’m a big girl. I have never chastised any of my friends for expressing themselves, online or off, and I’ve never asked anyone to change their blogging or tagging styles on my account. I’ve just learned what Pinterest boards to unfollow and what tags to Savior, and if necessary, what people to unfollow. In real life, I know what conversations to disengage from. I see all of that as on me, not on anyone else.
But — I also know that my approach to mental health is not anyone else’s. I hated therapy the one time I was in it, and I think most of it is totally useless. I pride myself on solving my own problems, on clawing my own way out of my issues. I reject “help”, because I typically don’t find it all that helpful, so as someone who’s dealt with anxiety, depression, and a mild eating disorder… I think that feeds into how I feel about this sort of thing on the Internet. I don’t see my mental health as anyone else’s responsibility but my own.
IDK. I mean, I say all of this as someone who uses trigger warnings. At least for the major things. It would be impossible to ever cover all of them, because you don’t know what might trigger someone. Depending on the traumatic incident, it could be… a kind of tree, or a bedspread pattern, or god knows what else. But I try to cover the largest bases, and I tag carefully because I figure it doesn’t cost me anything to do so. I bridle, however, when it becomes an expectation or something I would be shamed for not doing.
This got way too long, and like I said, idek because I can see both sides of it. Personally I like to err on the side of causing fewer internet arguments, not because I’m a good person but because I just don’t have the fucking energy.