Trigger Warnings: A Good Idea Gone Too Far

tumblr_novd61T6me1rphc69o1_540Trigger Warning: the very phrase is, ironically, enough to make some people put their fist through their computer monitor. Although it started out as a good idea–letting people know that a news item, video, or blog post has content they might find disturbing–the idea of what can actually constitute a trigger warning has really gone too far.

The problem is that the Left is so easily offended that anything can become a trigger. If a woman says she doesn’t need feminism, she’ll trigger someone. If a black person (or, God help us, a white person) says that black and white lives both matter (as do all the other races, obviously), they’ll trigger someone. If a gay person admits to being conservative, they’ll most definitely trigger a large section of the population. Even saying something as innocuous as “I am not a vegan” can trigger people. (Really.)

But, really, the term “trigger” isn’t the right way to express this. Trigger comes from PTSD flashbacks that are caused by things like loud noises, explosions, and the like, or else a new experience that makes an autistic person withdraw into themselves. These are serious problems that deserve our concern and respect, whereas someone saying they’re “triggered” by a man looking at them when they’re half-naked is just a sad, pathetic individual without a thick enough skin to cope with everyday life.

So, for the rest of this article, I’ll refer to people being triggered as being ticked off.

Now, I think we can all agree that many things in life tick us off. Even just narrowing these irritants to what can be found on tumblr, I have a pretty good list. Mindless liberalism, in which the babblings of the Huffington Post and MSNBC are viewed as truth directly from God Himself, is obviously a big one. Then there’s the Michael Brown case, which cropped up on blogs that had, until that time, been strictly fandom oriented. Rabid feminism, usually accompanied by the hilariously oblivious question of “Why does everyone think that feminism is about female superiority? Kneel, males!”, is another one that really annoys me, and also saddens me that these women have chosen to lead a life devoted to conflict. I also don’t like having to deal with gratuitous violence and pornography, both of which have shown up more than once on blogs I thought were free of this type of content.

But, where most liberals would have complained, ranted and raved about the fact that viewpoints divergent to their own existed, I took another road.

I simply stopped following the blogs that featured aspects I disliked.

You could say that I was triggered by some of the above, but I know that these people hold strongly to their beliefs, and that nothing I can say will ever convince them otherwise, just as no matter how many times I see pro-feminist or race-baiting comments, I’ll never subscribe to those worldviews. So I let them live their lives, giving them the courtesy that I most likely would not have received in return.

Now, I do believe that we need some form of trigger warnings, in order to keep inappropriate content from people whom it could truly have an adverse effect upon. There’s a reason that we don’t let three-year-olds watch Kill Bill or Animal House, and I think this should be equally applicable to the internet. Several online news services preface potentially disturbing articles with things like “explicit” or “graphic”, thus giving squeamish people (like myself) to know that something disquieting is fast approaching. There are also, of course, blocks against explicit content on computers that are used by children (something that tumblr should really consider adopting).

But continuing to refer to anything that you even mildly disagree with as a “trigger” only accomplishes two things. It makes a mockery of people for whom trigger warnings are actually a serious matter, such as veterans and people with severe forms of autism. And it makes everyone you come in contact with who hold those views you consider “triggering” to view you as the lowest form of life on the planet.

Basically, grow up, people.




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