In Defence of Trigger Warnings

November 24, 2019 posted by

ooooo, it’s about to get controversial up in here! Hi everyone, I’m Jenny and welcome back to my channel if you’ve read the title you
probably know where I’m gonna talk about today I’ve been scared to make this
video I’m scared about a backlash against it or just not being articulate I just
thought I really feel strongly about this I’m gonna make this video because
I’ve seen a lot negativity in different places about trigger warnings for books
and I think they are so good and it’s such a positive thing if you
can stop someone feeling rubbish because they read something that triggers them
or makes them relive a very traumatic experience or just makes them feel
really sad and I don’t understand why being kind to someone and considerate
and thoughtful in that way can be seen as a bad thing
and I absolutely hate things like seeing when people talk about trigger warnings
being pointless #GenerationWuss on Twitter or #snowflake because do you know what? snowflakes are amazing they’re all
unique they’re all beautiful in their own way
don’t knock snowflakes and also just because you talk about your mental
health which is a really hard thing to do, it takes so much strength – does not mean you’re weak, just because you feel depressed does not mean you’re weak and I think
that even though it’s great we’re having more conversations about mental health
attitudes towards especially young people and calling them snowflakes or
Generation Wuss shows that there’s still a lot of work do to destigmatise
mental illness well I think if you look at films they have an age rating and not
only that it will say at the beginning of the film when that comes up on the
screen what content has made it that age rating whether it’s abuse or
violence or sex or drugs or language or whatever it is and that for me is really
helpful and I when I have watched booktubers talk about a book if they’ve
given trigger warnings there have been some books I’ve not read and I’m really grateful
that they gave that trigger warning so why would you just expect someone to get
on with it if it because it’s a book I don’t
understand because if someone if I if I like my boyfriend was allergic to walnuts
and you brought two cakes and one had walnuts in and one didn’t
have walnuts in and you knew well maybe you don’t even know but like you knew
that I had a walnut allergy you would tell me eat this this cake because this
one doesn’t have walnuts in, so you will enjoy this cake so much more because you
won’t get a bad allergic reaction you would take that seriously because you
can see that I would be affected by it but I don’t understand why just
because it’s mental and it’s not as visibly obvious you wouldn’t take it
seriously in the same way to say like oh don’t read this book because this might
upset you or or even if you don’t know the person just just to say this book might
upset people who’ve had these experiences or are just generally sensitive
to this subject so I don’t necessary recommend this for you but here are all
the other great books that you could read I I don’t understand why you would think
it’s okay to just expect someone to relive a bad experience and get on with
it and not be upset by that and not be sensitive to it and it’s even in
academic circles as well especially in my subject in English which is really sad
there have been academics that have come out saying that it stops free speech
and it’s shielding young people from the horrors of the world but look if you’re
sensitive to things like rape or sexual abuse like I am I still know that exists
you know I it’s not that I want to block it out completely but I know that there
are some books like A Little Life I will never read I don’t want to read
that book I know I’ll find that far too upsetting but I was in my college year I
had to read The Kite Runner and there is a boy on boy rape in that book and that
was all I knew about it going in and we had to study that chapter because it’s a
catalyst in the narrative and I found that really hard and even though I know
I still would have had to be in the lesson I wish I would have felt
comfortable enough to tell my teacher by the way this upsets me and I find this a
very sensitive subject I really wish that especially educational
spaces and also booktube or just in general it could feel like a safe space
I’m not saying they don’t at all ever I’m not being extreme and saying the world’s gone mad and everyone hates each other I’m not saying
that but I just wish the people who don’t need trigger warnings look I’m so
happy for you I’m so happy nothing terrible has
happened in your life or that you if something has terrible has happened that
you don’t feel the need for those because you’ve got to a place where
you’re okay I’m so pleased for you I don’t wish anything
bad on anyone of course but I wish that people could appreciate for the ones
like me who do want trigger warning sometimes I really wish they could just
let it go because what does it actually do to you does it affect you if someone
tells you a trigger warning you don’t need a trigger warning you say okay thanks
cool I’m gonna read it anyway you know I just I just wish they could be nice to
each other and and not be mean to people have mental health issues because it’s a
real thing and it’s such a struggle and it’s also such a struggle to say that
you are upset by something because it’s such an internalised thing and to try
and express that and then just get told that you’re part of a generation of
people who are really soft it’s not helpful that is so toxic can we stop
please so sorry that was a bit of a ramble but let me let me know if you’ve
ever found trigger warnings helpful because I think it’s surprising how many
people do appreciate those and yeah as you can see I feel strongly about it I
should calm down now and drink some gin excuse me it’s actually just water I
wish this was gin though but yeah look you’re welcome to disagree like
obviously I hope you can sort of see what I’m saying I’m you know you’re entitled to your
opinion but just I think there’s a way of talking about it
there isn’t so negative because it’s not fair on people who give trigger warnings
who are just trying to help an average person out what’s wrong with
that nothing nothing is the answer there is
nothing wrong with trigger warnings can we just agree yes please
excellent thank you and I will see you soon for more bookish shenanigans when I’m hopefully less calm Less calm? I mean
hopefully more calm. Bye! by


14 Replies to “In Defence of Trigger Warnings”

  1. K Kelly says:

    I’m just sorry you had to make this 💙 get a life, haters.

  2. Regina Lemoine says:

    Some people seem to think being sensitive to other people’s feelings, or being kind or inclusive somehow takes something away from them. It’s really ridiculous. My last semester as an undergrad I took a philosophy of film class. One of the assigned films contained a very brutal rape scene. The professor not only gave a trigger warning for the rape, but also time stamps. It was the students’ choice whether to watch the whole film, skip the scene, or not watch it at all. Those who chose not to watch it were given an alternate film to watch. I think everyone watched, but quite a few of the female students, including me, did not watch the rape scene. Anyway, I fully agree with you. If I can spare someone pain or emotional distress, that’s always the option I’ll take.

  3. forreste fires says:

    Sweet darling, eloquence holds a lesser place of importance than consideration. Even if a person doesn't have a mental or emotional disorder, they should understand because these things ought to upset all humans. Disorders can intensify those disturbing thoughts and feelings, especially when someone has suffered a trauma. Touching those imprinted memories is a delicate process and hardly bestows enjoyment. I so wish there was a content rating system for books, as we have for other media.

  4. tortoise dreams says:

    I'm reluctant to respond since you seem to have already made up your mind when you say "what's wrong with trigger warnings — nothing." You ask, "does it affect you?" Yes it does. Everyday I have to deal with well-meaning non-professionals who have tried to "help" someone with mental health issues and have aggravated the situation, sometimes to a serious degree, which can include self harm. It's more than "feeling rubbish." These well meaning people can include other students, teachers, even school counselors (who are almost always underpaid and undertrained). It can take very little to set someone off. Even when careful I can make mistakes; even a single syllable can take hours to remedy. A well-meaning fellow student who "helps" their friend can undo weeks of work. "Just trying to help" can hurt. Trigger warnings, poorly done, can in fact trigger certain individuals, perhaps some of your viewers, to harm themselves and you will never know. You're working in a one-sided medium, you can't respond instantly to their reactions. You don't have the case histories of viewers. Trigger warnings have helped you and your friends, which is good. But we don't know who and how many may have been harmed by people playing amateur psychiatrist. I live with that fear everyday. Your analogies are sadly inapposite. With an age rating, telling someone they're too young doesn't show them the inappropriate part of the film. Telling someone a food contains an allergen doesn't expose them to the substance. But you don't know whether telling someone a book contains an episode of abuse or assault will trigger them. It could be the tone of your voice, the emotion you demonstrate, your own history displayed on your face. I do not doubt your good intentions and that you're trying to "be kind" or "to help." You may say I'm just being negative, but the arrogance of ignorance can have horrible effects. I'm not trying to break a butterfly on the wheel — some of the time trigger warnings will help some people, that's good. My only suggestion, without undergoing medical or therapeutic training, is to be less certain and more careful. Sorry to go on so long, I feel I've wasted time for both of us.

  5. Novelle Novels says:

    I always give trigger warnings on my books that I’ve read as I so agree with you. Thanks for doing this 💜

  6. Tom Reads Things says:

    This is an important video. Thank you for making it. Never be scared to speak the truth on this platform ( I lose subscribers everytime I mention not eating animals)!

  7. Charlie Brook says:

    This is so so important ❤️ Well done you for speaking about it !! I totally agree ❤️I actually think the publishers should print inside on the first page as standard practice like you said the movies do it why not books!! Sending you love incase you need it too ❤️❤️

  8. Spinster's Library says:

    Fantastic discussion, and I agree with everything you said! People who call other people snowflakes are usually the ones that get outraged when not everything resolved around them… trigger warnings should not be controversial: if you don't need them, good for you, they literally don't take anything away from your experience of a book.

  9. Hannah's Books says:

    Thank you for this important and powerful statement. I am more careful about film stuff than with books, where I feel I have a lot more control already. But yes, having a little knowledge about what is coming feels really important to me. Often I decide to read/watch anyway and I especially appreciate knowing what I am getting into rather than being shocked and taken aback.

  10. Daniel Jackson says:

    Great video! I don't understand why trigger warnings are so controversial for books but routine (and often compulsory) for TV and films. I bet that lots of the people who object to trigger warnings have decided not to watch a film or TV programme that has graphic violence or explicit sexual content in it after seeing an advisory.

  11. Meghan Hanet says:

    Trigger warnings are so important! Thanks for making this video.

  12. Twana: My Bookish Life says:

    I need and appreciate trigger warnings.

  13. Art K says:

    Thanks for this video! It was helpful to me personally to hear your view on this subject. I don’t usually give trigger warnings when I recommend a book to people but I will definitely start doing that.

  14. Conquest says:

    I have a big problem with your assertion that just because some of us don't need trigger warnings, it suddenly mean that we have never experienced it… i'm disappointed that that's how bLack AND white you see things

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