You may notice warnings on almost all of our blogs. There is a specific reason for this and we wanted to share our thoughts with you. For the purpose of this blog, we are only discussing triggers related to auditory and visual items. Please know that touch and smells can also be triggering for someone.
This is our opinion based on our personal experiences.
What is a trigger?
A trigger is something that could cause emotional pain for an individual when seen or heard. This relates to visual mediums like movies, pictures, posters, or written material. Also, to auditory items like music, vocal sound from people like grunting or whistling, specific noises made by anything.
In the realm of creating content, trigger warnings encompass anything you include that affects someone's emotional state.
Have you ever watched a movie and experienced a panic attack due to the content of the film? That is a trigger. Triggers can be mild to severe. Maybe you watch the movie and feel uncomfortable, but you can process the reason behind the feeling. This would be a mild trigger. A person could experience an extreme reaction like a flashback or a complete breakdown in need of medical care.
Our Opinion on Trigger Warnings
We include trigger warnings on our content because we discuss sensitive topics. Our content is centered around trauma, disability, autism, medical conditions, and the challenges that occur because of these things. We discuss personal experiences of discrimination, healthcare, and complicated, sometimes negative social interactions.
The topics we cover can easily trigger someone. We want our readers to have an advanced warning so they can make an educated choice as to read or not to read.
Some of the triggers we add are from feedback, personal triggers, and really just common sense. If you are discussing violence, harm, or abuse then it is important to add trigger warnings.
We have been triggered by unwarned content. Some may say “freedom of speech, freedom of content. If you can’t handle it, don’t read it.” That is 100% valid, but how can you avoid triggering content if you don’t know it is there?
An informed decision on what you put into your mind requires you to know the trigger exists.
Now once you see the trigger warning, you are accountable for knowingly engaging content that may be triggering for you. Also, if certain topics bother you, it is your responsibility to avoid those spaces. For example, if you are triggered by discussions of trauma, reading on mental health blogs would not be a wise choice. In fact, if anything surrounding mental health is triggering, even our blog may not be the best place for you.
That is okay! There is no shame in knowing your boundaries and avoiding information that is not right for you.
When it goes too far
We were in an online community that put intense emphasis on trigger warnings, but it crossed a line that we feel is important to discuss. They started a running list of “black-listed words” and encouraged the community to add their personal triggers to the list. This was good as it encouraged awareness of mental health and being considerate. It was bad because it took away the accountability of members and allowed them to set unreasonable expectations and enforcements.
For example, banned words were: Cat, Spanish, LGBTQ+, Rainbow, Bear, Pizza….you get the picture.
People used the community’s willingness to enforce trigger warnings and ban triggering words to be inappropriate and discriminate.
You cannot ban words like LGBTQ+ without supporting oppression and discrimination. This of course led to many negative interactions in the community to the point that it was closed down.
Trigger warnings are supposed to keep people safe by empowering them to CHOOSE what they consume. It is not a way to impose on human rights or census information.
Trigger warnings are about information and we encourage everyone to use them when reasonable and applicable to the content you create.
What are your thoughts on Trigger Warnings? We would love to read your feedback in the comments!
Read more Opinions on Trigger Warnings
IMPORTANCE OF TRIGGER WARNINGS
Are Trigger Warnings Helpful? A New Study Shows They Do Help People Feel Better. Psychology; Graduate Student; Izzy Gainsburg
Association for Psychological Science The Following News Release Contains Potentially Disturbing Content: Trigger Warnings Fail to Help and May Even Harm