Trigger Warnings are CENSORSHIP, and Other Nonsense
ETA 1: Stephen Fry has posted an apology for his remarks about abuse.
TW for references to rape/incest.
A friend on Facebook linked to this article: Stephen Fry hits out at ‘infantile’ culture of trigger words and safe spaces.
There’s just too much ignorance for me to address it all in one blog post, so I want to focus on triggers, trigger words, and trigger warnings: what they are, what they aren’t, and what Fry seems to think they are.
“There are many great plays which contain rapes, and the word rape now is even considered a rape. They’re terrible things and they have to be thought about, clearly, but if you say you can’t watch this play, you can’t watch Titus Andronicus, you can’t read it in an English class, or you can’t watch Macbeth because it’s got children being killed in it, it might trigger something when you were young that upset you once, because uncle touched you in a nasty place, well I’m sorry.”
First of all — and I say this as someone who’s written multiple books that deal with rape — fuck you. Fuck you for belittling people’s trauma with that last line.
Second, to your claim that the word rape is considered a rape? Yeah, I’m gonna just take this screenshot from xkcd and leave it right here.
(If you don’t get it, that’s basically a more polite way of calling you on your bullshit.)
Tumblr user Marija095 used Wreck-It Ralph as a way of demonstrating what people mean by the word “Trigger.” If you’ve seen the movie, do you remember Sergeant Calhoun’s reaction when Felix called her “a dynamite gal”? The phrase triggered a visceral reaction of grief and horror, a flashback to seeing her fiance killed in front of her.
Felix never uses that phrase in front of her again. Not because he’s coddling Calhoun’s “infantile self-pity,” but out of basic human decency, the desire to avoid twisting a knife in an open wound.
We don’t always know what might be a trigger for a trauma survivor. It could be a phrase, a smell, a sound… Many veterans have pushed for regulation and restriction of when fireworks can be set off, because the explosions trigger their PTSD.
Go ahead, Fry. Stand up and tell those combat vets they’re being infantile. I’ll be over here selling tickets and popcorn.
Getting back on track, what’s the point of trigger warnings if we can’t know everyone’s individual triggers.
It’s true, we can’t. But we have more than enough information and research to know about common traumas in our society. PTSD in combat vets is one. Rape is another. Child abuse. Domestic violence. All are obscenely common. If you’re speaking to a group of more than a handful of people, you can pretty much guarantee you’ll have survivors of rape or abuse.
“But that doesn’t mean we should censor everything!”
I agree. Fortunately — now listen closely, please — trigger warnings have nothing to do with censorship!
A trigger warning is a way of telling people about the content so they can make their own informed choice about what to do. They might choose to walk out. They might choose to stay. That warning might be all they need to brace themselves.
We do this all the time! We put content warnings and ratings on movies. We write summaries on the backs of our books so people know what they’re getting. Convention programs note “Adult only” programming.
None of this is censorship. It’s just giving people a heads-up about what to expect.
Fanfiction tends to be very good about this, tagging stories to warn readers what they’re getting without spoiling or ruining the story.
But what if people who aren’t personally traumatized use trigger warnings to decide what to watch or read?
So what? How does that hurt anyone or anything? Heck, I’ve read so many poorly-written stories dealing with rape, I might take advantage of a trigger warning to reconsider whether this is a book I want to read.
Why the hell are people up in arms about giving others more information so they can decide what to read, what to watch, and so on?
There’s a lot more I want to talk about from that article, but I’ll end up with a 3000-word blog post if I do, so I’m going to keep the focus on trigger warnings for now, post this as is, and go get dinner.
Comments welcome, as always. (And as always, don’t be a dick.)
ETA 2: Follow-up post, talking about the idea that trigger warnings interfere with mental health, and if you really want to help someone who’s been traumatized, you have to expose them to the source of that trauma.
April 12, 2016 @ 7:36 pm
Jim, I will *second* that “Fuck you!”
I was thinking him pretty ignorant when I was reading his words. Then, like you, I got to that last line. Wow.
He is not merely ignorant of the definition of censorship, he seems to be ignorant about how human beings feel, if they feel any way he does not.
I am in fact glad he is ignorant about how such things feel–I don’t want any human on or under this earth to have gone through abuse or deep trauma such as I did. But to react to an annoyance that he has to note such warnings by sneering at what may constitute the most shattering experience in a person’s life simply stuns me. There is a sense that if it is a short event, or one so “simple”, somehow it cannot be very serious, and that someone must be a whiner if they care.
But the problem is that time does not exist during some trauma. It is feels literally interminable to the person affected, in a real way. The part of the brain which keeps time is the temporal lobe. The older part that encodes traumas is the hippocampus, and it has only the “eternal now”. That part of the brain is designed to keep you alive, but the memories it holds are pretty visceral, and *they feel like you are right there again* every time they are triggered. That is essentially what a flashback is.
So, you relive the worst things that ever happened to you, and you feel just as hurt or humiliated or terrorized as when they first occurred. If you have not experienced a flashback, it is easy to fail to understand how physically and emotionally real they are. So perhaps he doesn’t see how such a touch could be bad to remember “after all that time”.
But one other way things are learned is by transmission of one person’s experience to another, through the mechanism of speech. He could *listen* to others’ experiences, rather than characterizing them so flippantly. He could try to interact respectfully, and hear new things and encounter new ideas. He could in short, act like a human.
April 12, 2016 @ 7:37 pm
I’m so glad that someone has pointed this out!
I often consume media that contains my triggers — but being warned in advance means that I’m not going to be ambushed, and I can prepare myself. My understanding is that this is a common approach, especially in academic settings where a person may not have a choice about what they’re reading or viewing.
April 12, 2016 @ 7:40 pm
I read things with trigger warnings, I even read the comments which I wouldn’t recommend for most people. All a trigger warning does is let you know there is something there that you might find problematic and allows you to decide whether to continue or not, kinda like when you pick up a movie and look at why it got the rating it did, was it swearing, violence, sex scenes etc.
Gotta wonder why so many people are against others making informed choices or being able to mentally prepare for something that might be harder for them to deal with that it is for others.
April 12, 2016 @ 7:41 pm
Exactly! Every single time I hear someone spout off about the ‘evils’ of trigger warnings, I can’t help but think, ‘Have you never heard of viewer discretion advisories or movie rating systems?!’
April 12, 2016 @ 8:06 pm
To further the debate (not that I’m pushing for one view or another) but I think the argument could be made that Stephen Fry isn’t saying that the person who suffered doesn’t have value – grow up, nobody cares, you’re a loser… yada-yada. I understood it that it’s more a perspective on tolerance. These enlightened cultures are supposedly open and full of tolerance, accepting all kinds of people from all walks of life. But tolerance has to work both ways.
Our culture seems to be moving more toward a catering culture in which everyone is supposed to have value over everyone else, which easily negates itself in any group over two people.
For instance – where the idea of triggering = censorship plays – at an office workplace there are 20 people (for round numbers), and two of them strike up a conversation about fitness and diet. “I’ve been working out more and need to eat more proteins to help rebuild muscle, what kind of suggestions do you have for cooking meals so I’m not eating baked chicken all day, everyday?”
It’s a common enough conversation, quiet enough for the two in dialogue but still a small office in which others can overhear. Let’s say one person is a hard core Vegan and another is someone who struggles with personal image issues and weight loss. These two happen to overhear the conversation. Just to generalize and push into the offensive stereotype layer, let’s say the Vegan is a gay man and the person with image issues is a depressed woman.
The problem arises now that the two people having a small personal conversation have “triggered” the Vegan who finds the consumption of all animals an unconscionable crime and becomes very vocal about every ‘fun fact’ in their protest bag. The woman becomes upset because they are talking about food consumption that she has issues dealing with because of depression and self-image problems.
Crossing the line even more, let’s say there is an internet, meme-tastic “femi-Nazi” who feels their talk is “raping” the depressed woman because she knows the woman feels so badly about herself.
So, this whole shitty scene I’ve set up, which I admit is horrid, goes out of control. The two cannot have innocuous conversation because they have to now account for each and every person within their vicinity, many of whom will have opposing, or even wildly irrational, perceptions and ideals. This translates to the censorship because without knowing each and every office worker’s background any conversation could be construed as offensive and triggering in some way. So, get back to work, and only talk about spreadsheets and TPS reports… and no eye contact because you could be objectifying someone or insinuate a threat.
It’d be totally understandable if there were two white dudes trying to tell racist jokes others could overhear, someone having a totally biased political discussion about the right or the left being whatever, or two black guys talking about divorce and “the bitch had it coming”, religion, whatever. All those types of conversations belong only within the like-minded cliques and private places in which they belong.
Instead, by catering to each and every “unique” snowflake all progress, thinking, and discussions risk becoming stunted or halted altogether for fear of someone being offended. If a classroom will be discussing Shakespeare’s Macbeth then maybe some alternative could be provided for a traumatized student who may react poorly to it, but not to prevent the overall learning for an entire class because of a minority. Otherwise, no one could study any literature or film because of all the drama that may offend someone.
By creating an environment of tolerance the two people discussing fitness and diet could have the conversation regardless of the two viewpoints who disagree because we all must get along on this little blue marble spinning through space. And it works the other way, those two may have to tolerate the Vegan’s possibly excessive views on animal cruelty in food, or do their viewpoints about meat even matter because they aren’t as important as the Vegan’s fragile sensibilities. Maybe everyone in the office thinks the “femi-Nazi” is utterly irrational and over the top but obviously they can’t conduct themselves in any way that would communicate the idea that no one wants to hear her views, that would be disrespectful of her values.
It really does spiral out of control. The message then is tolerance in which there are so many people around that have views, ideals, perceptions, and trauma and ignorance all counter to one another. Everything is complex and there are very little topics that can be considered absolutely right or wrong. There is always a pro and a con, everyone can learn tolerance instead of fixating on their own selfish perspectives.
Don’t get me wrong, there is an answer somewhere in between this, and this is where the argument has find that middle ground in which we all have varied backgrounds but on a scale bigger than each of us it doesn’t matter as much as ensuring we all have a place amongst each other. But it also highlights the other area that isn’t being discussed. If the depressed woman with self-image issues is suffering then she should have easy access to help that can identify this behavior and help find a way to accept it, change it, or simply manage it – nobody else, especially in this fictional office, is qualified to handle that kind of trauma in ways that would be positive for the woman and not reinforcing it.
Have I gone too far or is there something I’m missing as I witness the cultural changes we are currently undergoing?
April 12, 2016 @ 8:17 pm
I agree with what you’ve written. But… I also hear of situations where it’s taken too ridiculous extremes.
This piece by a black female professor who taught a course on the evolution of the representation of sex throughout American Cinema, and was driven out of teaching by the level of trigger warning demands and people leaving class when she was screening film clips. If you read the name and description of a class like that, you should realize there will be pretty frequent triggers and it might be better to take something else. There has to be a middle ground between the extremes.
April 12, 2016 @ 8:39 pm
Well, it’s a fine straw man you’ve created there. Of course it has nothing at all to do with “trigger warnings,” nor much to do with situations that really happen.
April 12, 2016 @ 8:42 pm
I’ve considered putting a keyword topic on the back cover of my books, mainly the topics that are addressed within the story. But then, I’m afraid I’ll miss something. I wish there was a unified list of commonly accepted triggers because I’m perfectly willing to tag them.
But, minimizing someone’s paid is just rude and insensitive. There was a story (http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2007417,00.html) about food allergies. It was the writer’s going from being insensitive about one thing (food allergy) and treating it as a joke before he found out his own child had it.
That crash insensitivity reminds me of this author. “uncle touched you in a nasty place, well I’m sorry.” is said by someone who hasn’t held someone going through a flashback or having their own child go through the very thing. It isn’t staring at a sign on a front yard asking not to set off fireworks knowing that the man inside was cowering in the backroom because he was afraid someone would mock a big bad marine of being afraid.
I may be compassionately handicapped but it really it a matter of treating people with respect and not assuming my personal experiences are the “end all” and “only” answer to any problem. Just because I haven’t had it doesn’t mean no one else does and it is my job to understand that enough to treat them with decency.
April 12, 2016 @ 8:48 pm
“is there something I’m missing”
Well, firstly, you’re completely missing the meaning of the word censorship. So you might want to go look that up.
Secondly, those examples of conversations that you say “belong only within the like-minded cliques and private places in which they belong” were at one time, and in some places still are, considered acceptable anywhere. People fought long and hard (and are still fighting) to get racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. speech and behaviour out of public life. And there were people who fought back against it just as hard as similar people are fighting now against things like warnings.
Thirdly, there is a world of difference between asking a colleague not to discuss a subject in one’s hearing because one finds it personally upsetting and asking that an institution or business forewarn about the presence of the most common topics that are likely to cause trauma to others.
That you can’t see the difference is telling. That you think because we can’t keep everyone safe we should keep no one safe demonstrates a distinct lack of empathy and makes me sorry for the people with whom you come into contact.
April 12, 2016 @ 9:01 pm
Well, setting aside the other problematic aspects of the system (because HOO BOY are there problems), you could adapt something like the US MPAA rating system (i.e., G=everybody; PG=parents should probably read it first; R=Under 17 not admitted without parent; NC-17=no one under 17 admitted period; and the old X which became XXX which I suspect is self-explanatory).
Or, you could adopt something like the AO3 tags system/warning system (http://www.archiveofourown.com/: i.e., Graphic Depictions Of Violence; Major Character Death; No Archive Warnings Apply; Rape/Non-Con; Underage Sex/Violence). Actually, there’s some interesting stuff in the AO3 tags, too.
Or accept that you’re not going to make everyone happy and “tag” for those things you know might be triggering and learn when something else comes up.
And I say this having written a fic, under a different pseud, that has probably had half the readership it might have (and it still has a healthy readership) because we tagged for A LOT.
April 12, 2016 @ 9:04 pm
One example of an extreme situation is definitely a valid counterargument for helping people. We shouldn’t help anyone because some people might take it to extremes. Thank you for clarifying that.
Did you actually read that whole article? Her argument is basically “trans people and black men are being murdered every day so privileged college students shouldn’t be coddled by not having their trauma shoved in their faces.” Except there’s this thing called intersectionality and oddly enough trans people and black men are also college students who’ve been traumatised.
She also says, “I do know that if you promote trigger warnings in subjects that are supposed to make people feel uncomfortable, you’re basically promoting a culture of extreme privilege”
Yes, it’s SUCH a privilege not to unexpectedly relive trauma and end up sobbing and shaking in public. It is similarly a privilege not to get stabbed and yet somehow no one ever argues for the pro-stabbing cause.
Jim C. Hines
April 12, 2016 @ 9:45 pm
Pretty much anything can be taken to extremes. While it sounds like this example is more of a mess, I’m sure we could find instances of anything being misused or abused. But even if that’s the case, to use the extreme as representative of the whole is fallacious…in the extreme.
Edward Martin III
April 12, 2016 @ 9:48 pm
The only people who think of trigger warnings as “censorship” are people who want to act in a way that trigger warnings contraindicate. These are people who WANT to cause unexpected harm SPECIFICALLY in ways called out by common triggers, but are now feeling social pressure to no longer do that.
This social pressure to not hurt others IS causing them to feel censored.
April 12, 2016 @ 10:17 pm
There are enough straw men floating around re trigger warnings to create a scarecrow army. I’ve been trying to figure out where that visceral anger some people experience when asked to think about the effects their words or behavior might have on others (not to curtail said words or behavior, just to provide a heads up), so I’d love to see your thoughts on this, Jim. In my experience, visceral anger of this kind often stems from fear. It might be useful to figure out if that’s the case here, and if so, what it is the people who get so outraged over the concept of trigger warnings are afraid of.
April 12, 2016 @ 10:24 pm
I’ve always found it sadly ironic that the people who complain the loudest about “sensitive” people who want trigger warnings are the first to get up in arms over spoilers for movies, tv shows, and games. They’ll moan about how a film is ruined for them by hearing about a detail from within the first 15 minutes, but anyone asking for a trigger warning for graphic rape scene is somehow “coddled” who want to “censor” everybody.
April 12, 2016 @ 10:35 pm
I respect the use of trigger warnings, it’s sometimes really helpful to know what you’re approaching rather than smashing headfirst into it. Look, I was the kid who combed the backmatter and summary of books to make sure nobody died. Last year I didn’t want to read any dead parent books, having just lost my dad–getting the gist of the content ahead of time was useful. Years ago I didn’t have even a way to explain what I was experiencing when I was triggered by a childhood trauma. When I ran headlong into an unexpected trigger I didn’t have the words or frame to describe what I was going through. I felt ashamed and crazy and lost.
April 12, 2016 @ 11:59 pm
There’s another quote from Fry making the rounds, where he complains about people who claim to be offended about X. ‘Well so what?’ he asks. ‘Well,’ I reply, ‘This is your opportunity to put your big boy britches on and ASK THEM WHY, rather than dismiss them out of hand.’
He’s a funny guy, but good God, he’s becoming a poster child for overprivileged jackassery.
April 13, 2016 @ 1:10 am
Though I generally agree with Jim and will do my best to include trigger warnings where/if advisable, the topic is not simple.
At latest when you start formalizing the rules (e.g. as laws), they will come at costs and have effects that can resemble censorship.
If you e.g. look at the topics around Facebook (and others) taking down “indecent” pictures (including breastfeeding mothers or 19th century artwork), you will notice that this is due to companies trying to avoid the trigger warning “unsuitable for minors”. While this is no censorship neither, the effects feel similar.
Formalized rules about communication always have a stiffening effect and increase transaction costs (which may cause participants to shut up).
This is not an argument against trigger warnings. Actually the best way to avoid this mess (and legal regulation) is to be considerate all by yourself and remove thereby the necessity of formal rules. But as this is the Internet …
April 13, 2016 @ 2:04 am
This arguement bugs the fuck out of me. I firmly believe that people who mock others for being triggered lack basic human decency. Or they’re the kind of people who say “my dad hit me and I turned out fine,” as a way of justifying that everyone should hit their children because they should “tough it out.”
I am very rarely “triggered” to the point of a serious attack. However there was an episode of Daredevil (I quit watching the show as of that episode but I already found the series vile in its torture porn) where Kingpin has a flashback to a very graphic beating his mother receives from his father. You only see the initial blow, but when the camera pans to the child hearing all of this, you hear the thudding of the blows and the mother begging for him to stop.
That was all it took for a full 2 hours of hyperventilating, hysterical weeping. I wasn’t expecting it, I had no way to know that reaction was coming, but as someone whose father was abusive to both children and mother when I was growing up, it literally pushed things to the surface that I had no way to handle.
A simple warning for scenes of domestic abuse would have helped me decide not to watch it, or at least to steel myself because I knew it was coming. Telling me that something so simple and obvious would be “coddling” me is another layer of abuse.
April 13, 2016 @ 3:32 am
Becoming?! He’s been that poster child for a while.
April 13, 2016 @ 5:36 am
Thank you Jim.
As someone with an obvious trigger I would never dream of asking anyone to censor themselves to avoid hurting me. But it is nice to know in advance if I should read or watch something, or if skipping it might be a better idea.
20 years ago that might have taken the form of asking friends if they liked a movie. But most of my friends don’t know about my trigger and I don’t want to bother them with it. They don’t have any way of knowing they should warn me about *that* scene.
It’s so much easier to say “Oh, I read the reviews, it didn’t look interesting to me, you guys go on ahead without me.”
What’s wrong with that?
April 13, 2016 @ 5:55 am
Jayle Enn, I’m reading this one differently. To me, ‘Well so what?’ is a question. You’re offended. So what? Now that you’ve said you’re offended this is an opportunity to figure out WHY you’re offended and WHAT you’re going to do about it.
There’s very little that offends me and if I find I’m reacting that way, it’s pure emotion. I have to slow down and figure out what just happened and why I reacted that way. Once I know that, I know what I have to do about it.
I used to be offended by a couple of people in my life who lied to me. I ignored it and tolerated it, and they continued. “So what?” was a better question to ask. I figured out why this offended me, and what I was going to do about it. The solution was to ask them to stop, and when they didn’t, I removed them from my life. They’re lying to other people now. And I’m happier. Instead of having an emotional reaction that didn’t solve anything, I figured out what the problem was and fixed it.
If I say something that offends you, it’s not really my problem unless you can explain to me what I just said that’s wrong. I’ve offended you, so what? You can be angry, you can try to solve the problem, or you can block me. But none of these things involve me unless you choose to include me in them. There may be people reading this now who have no intention of ever replying, who are offended.
So what? How can I even know, unless they tell me?
April 13, 2016 @ 7:38 am
Point of fact, Stephen Fry describes being raped at school in his autobiography. I don’t think it makes what he said any more acceptable; I think what he said was awful and a collection of the most unbelievable straw men, but I think commentators starting from the position “He can’t possibly know what it’s like” are misreading him; I think he’s saying “I toughed it out, so so should you.”
April 13, 2016 @ 8:36 am
For years I’ve always tried to remember to note in my book reviews when there’s potentially problematic material, such as rape or child molestation. I also try to note whether it’s handled respectfully or whether it’s lurid. ‘Trigger warning’ was such a nice shorthand when it showed up.
It reminds me of ADD. ADD caught on and got used improperly in some cases, and because of that people shoved back by saying it wasn’t real. That’s pretty damaging for those people who could use help for their problems but get told their issues aren’t ‘real’. I feel this is similarly damaging for those with PTSD.
Jim C. Hines
April 13, 2016 @ 10:53 am
Marley – I might be misunderstanding what you’re saying toward the end there, but as a thought experiment, try replacing “offended” with “hurt” and see if it changes anything. Because often (not always), we’re talking about things that are genuinely hurtful.
If I hurt someone, is it fair to fair to say it’s not my problem until the person I’ve injured can explain, to my satisfaction, exactly why and how I hurt them?
Jim C. Hines
April 13, 2016 @ 10:57 am
I wouldn’t categorize removing breastfeeding pics as an attempt to avoid trigger warnings. Possibly *content* warnings. And I think there’s a very important distinction between saying, “Hey, there may be ________ in this picture/story/whatever; click if you want to continue” and “Hey, there were _________ in this thing, so we’ve preemptively deleted it.”
April 13, 2016 @ 11:31 am
Yes! Not long after my dad died, I would have LOVED trigger warnings for parental or painful death, because I ended up ugly crying during Torchwood: Miracle Day, a Supernatural episode, and things I don’t even remember. Being able to either brace myself or put that aside until I was ready would have made all the difference.
April 13, 2016 @ 12:08 pm
I think it would help, certainly in fanfic circles, if social pressure could be brought to bear on people (and there are regrettably many of them, particularly in some of the megafandoms such as Sherlock) to NOT use terms like “triggering” when actually what they mean is “the wrong people end up in bed together in this fic.” If people could treat that sort of usage as the equivalent of able people knowingly parking in disabled spots because they’re handy, it would help a lot.
April 13, 2016 @ 12:23 pm
I think you’re overstating the case. I don’t think it is censorship, though I do think ratings and warnings systems have the potential to turn into censorship even if they aren’t Government required, if the person operating the ratings and warnings can actually operate control over relevant bottlenecks in the distribution chain by whatever means. An obvious example is an ISP (private commercial enterprise) operating parental guidance filtering software which automatically assigns an adult rating to LGBT content of any kind (actually this happened on Amazon about 5 years ago, when for the whole of one Easter all LGBT content including Mary Renault’s The Persian Boy and a friend’s academic texts on changing concepts of gender in 20th century Britain were alike classed as “pornography”).
Worries about the use of trigger warnings as part of a slippery slope which leads to ISPs deciding it’s simpler to ban may be unfounded, but I don’t think it helps to assert that the other side HAVE to want to cause deliberate harm.
April 13, 2016 @ 12:33 pm
Your point here is exactly why I prefer to use the term “content note” rather than “trigger warning.” Quite apart from anything else, it’s more value neutral, in that people can have triggers (I’ve got a specific sort of haemophobia which means certain visual or aural content will cause me to faint) about things which are part of other people’s day to day existence, and I think it would be very rude to put: “Trigger warning, child rape and polycystic kidney disease” as though the two things were morally equivalent. That said, I’ve been criticised for using “content note” because it doesn’t apply the right level of seriousness to the matter and might be overlooked by someone looking for trigger warnings.
April 13, 2016 @ 12:35 pm
If trigger words are supposed to help people with traumas, I wonder how. I am no psychologist, but people are always saying avoidance isn’t the answer. Seeing how rape seems to be the common theme here, no decent person wants to read about or imagine rape. Taking that for true, the only function trigger warnings have is self-inflicted censorship, and the question becomes “does this warning harm more than help?” It all comes down to choice. A person can always walk away if they find the material upsetting, just as a person can choose to ignore trigger warnings. Just about equal in my eyes. Outside choice it becomes about what is best for society. For that I can’t comment.
What I find is that Stephen Fry is expressing a concern about the misuse of trigger words leading to censorship and the apparent pandering to the minority at the expense of culture. For you to say this cannot be so sounds naive. You can easily classify material by trigger words.
Jim C. Hines
April 13, 2016 @ 12:59 pm
Matthew – I don’t mean for this to be insulting, but if your understanding of trauma is based on, “people are always saying ______,” it might be helpful to do a bit more research into the subject. In addition, giving people a heads-up about content isn’t the same as avoidance. It’s giving people a choice–giving them control.
Particularly with rape and other forms of abuse, regaining a sense of control is tremendously important.
April 13, 2016 @ 1:19 pm
I’m sorry, I stopped reading at Feminazi.
April 13, 2016 @ 1:29 pm
I want the choice to walk away BEFORE I stumble upon the thing that will trigger me.
I want the option to know, going in, that I might get triggered.
I want the option to choose whether or not to read a book with (rape, animal death, family abuse, gaslighting, child abuse).
I want the option to say: I am interested in this story or this book but I am not in an emotional place to deal with some of the subject matter right now.
If I had known going in that there was a rape in The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, I never would have read the first book. Yet there are other books I have read and enjoyed in which rape plays a very much on-screen part (The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo springs to mind–and no, I didn’t enjoy the rape scene nor Salander’s revenge).
I have friends who warn me about movies where the dog dies. I am struggling to recover from a lifetime of gaslighting and I still enjoy watching Bates Motel–even though it sometimes triggers the hell out of me. We all have our limits, but I want the right to choose when or whether I read or view material that will push those limits.
Like Jim said: Trigger warnings aren’t about avoidance. They’re about letting me make an informed choice.
April 13, 2016 @ 1:32 pm
Maybe I’m reading different fics than you are, but I haven’t seen a lot of that sort of use of “trigger warning” in them (and I include reading in Supernatural and Sherlock and MCU in that.)
April 13, 2016 @ 1:33 pm
You made it further than I did, then.
April 13, 2016 @ 1:51 pm
Matthew, here’s the difference:
A psychologist or therapist will advocate facing the traumatic or triggering thing under their supervision, or in known safe and controlled circumstances, and at the moment their patient feels ready to try. MOST people with triggers want their triggers to be reduced or to go away, and are more than willing to go through this exposure and desensitization. And in fact it’s the therapist’s job to encourage this.
No therapist worth their salt would deliberately spring a trigger on a patient without warning, out of the blue, nor would they encourage others to do so. They’d discuss it first, set up the situation, talk the patient own after.
And if the patient was planning to go and deal with something triggering that can’t be handled in office (say, dipping a foot in the ocean where they almost drowned or attending a party like the one at which they were raped) the therapist would discuss howto go about this safely, how far to go, what to do to prepare mentally. They wouldn’t crash the patient’s house with a bunch of drunken friends and a keg of beer.
The trigger warning, like the therapist, lets the person mentally brace themselves before taking a chance on the book or film or show. Read Gabriel F.’s account above for what happens when smacking into it unexpectedly.
And if sometimes a trigger warning causes someone to not read something at all — well, is that more terrible than reading for pleasure, only to end up shaking for 2 hours straight? Trigger warnings let books with controversial material be published without hurting anyone, which seems to be the opposite of your fear – that trigger warnings somehow mean a book will never make it to the bookshelves because we make trigger warnings. I’ve been involved in a lot of discussions of books from 2015 in prep for nominating for the Hugos. Several of the most popular contenders had trigger warnings and content notes addressed in those discussions. Most people shrugged and read them without fuss. A handful of people chose not to read those books, and others said, “sounds interesting enough I’ll try it anyhow, but thank you for warning me ahead.”
That’s how it works in the real world.
April 13, 2016 @ 2:06 pm
When I used to review books, I made a point of listing things like rape, attempt rapes, and animals dying simply because I had so many friends who didn’t like those issues.
April 13, 2016 @ 2:21 pm
“You’re standing on my foot.”
“Well so what?”
April 13, 2016 @ 2:47 pm
It happens on Tumblr a good bit, and I’ve actually had someone demand of me, “At least create a warning for crackiness, OOCness, in-jokes and possible triggering for people who’ve ever gone to live in a foreign country where they didn’t know anybody. Honestly, you’d be doing yourself a favour.”
And then there was “triggerfence” – an LJ community the proprietor of which urged people to name and shame people who in their opinion weren’t doing warnings right.
April 13, 2016 @ 3:34 pm
I have heard “if you put those warnings on TV shows, then it spoilers it for the rest of us.”
Which is literally “my ability to be surprised by this TV show is more important than your trauma at being surprised at this TV show.”
April 13, 2016 @ 3:37 pm
Right, the whole “my dad beat the crap out of me and I’m just fine!”
You know, you’re not fine if you still think it’s okay to beat the crap out of kids.
April 13, 2016 @ 4:54 pm
Which I explicitly did NOT say was okay.
April 13, 2016 @ 5:37 pm
That guy’s a bingo card all on his own. Whataboutery.
April 13, 2016 @ 5:42 pm
“If trigger words are supposed to help people with traumas, I wonder how. I am no psychologist, but people are always saying avoidance isn’t the answer.”
Here you go.
YOU DO NOT GIVE PSYCHOTHERAPY TO PEOPLE WITHOUT THEIR CONSENT.
Psychotherapists treat arachnophobia with exposure therapy, too. They expose people first to cute, little spiders behind a glass cage. Then bigger spiders. Then they take them out of the cage. Finally, in a carefully controlled environment with their very supportive therapist standing by, they make people experience their worst fear, like having a big tarantula crawl all over them. It usually works pretty well.
Finding an arachnophobic person, and throwing a bucket full of tarantulas at them while shouting “I’M HELPING! I’M HELPING!” works less well.
April 13, 2016 @ 5:44 pm
“What do you mean I have to consider other people before I open my yap? I never had to do that before!”
Same people whose parents/grandparents/them were huffy at not being allowed to call black people the N-word to their face, drive drunk, smoke everywhere, beat kids in public…
April 13, 2016 @ 5:52 pm
Elusis, this is SUCH a good metaphor.
I might add, the people against trigger warnings think they’re being terribly oppressed when politely asked “Could you tell us before throwing tarantulas around? Just say ‘TARANTULA BUCKET NOW!’ and then you can throw ’em all you want after that.”
They still get to toss spiders to their heart’s content.
Trigger Warnings as an Impediment to Healing and Mental Health
April 13, 2016 @ 7:05 pm
[…] So much conversation and debate after yesterday’s post about trigger warnings. […]
April 13, 2016 @ 7:26 pm
This. And frankly, when people are so stroppy about giving others information that might let them choose to avoid a given situation, it makes me wonder what else those people are opposed to letting others make informed choices about.
April 13, 2016 @ 7:28 pm
I didn’t say you did, I said it’s the same basic argument. I don’t think either one is okay.
I think “I suffered and survived therefore so should you, pansy” is awful.
April 13, 2016 @ 7:29 pm
Poor tarantulas tho 🙁
Jim C. Hines
April 13, 2016 @ 7:32 pm
Use fire-spiders. They’re better equipped to protect themselves. Plus, they’ve got enough attitude that they’d probably go after the jerk with the bucket.
April 13, 2016 @ 7:39 pm
Ah, that explains it; I avoid tumblr fic as a general rule.
April 13, 2016 @ 7:41 pm
At the risk of responding seriously to someone who actually uses the term “femi-nazi”: the theoretical conversation you describe is an overheard, casual conversation with a non-captive audience, not any kind of work presented for public viewing. Ubersensitive vegans and people with body image issues can walk away or put on headphones. They didn’t pay for what they thought would be the privilege, nor are they required to attend for college or professional credit.
Think of it as truth in advertising, if you like.
Also: two black guys talking about divorce and “the bitch had it coming” . Wow. Racist, much?
April 13, 2016 @ 7:42 pm
The people who say books wont get published if we use trigger warnings because censorship should consider the fact that they made (and people voluntarily went to see) The Human Centipede. This movie idea is so far out of my comfort zone I’d have been happier not learning of it’s existence let alone finding out they made sequels, but I can take comfort in the fact that due to the rating system and reviews I can totally avoid them.
April 13, 2016 @ 8:10 pm
I like “content” note better as well. It’s more neutral and gives the same information without the loaded debate.
Having seen as many rounds of this in fandom as we both have, I’m more or less done with the “If you don’t include warnings you’re a bad person”/”Censorship!” dichotomy and related screaming at each other that it seems to devolve into.
Especially since requiring warnings/content notes from fan authors can set off some pretty serious anxiety issues, and loading a guilt trip on top of that doesn’t help. I’m glad AO3 has a “choose not to warn” option, even if I myself use content notes/warnings, and prefer that others do as well.
Edward Martin III
April 13, 2016 @ 8:57 pm
“Worries about the use of trigger warnings as part of a slippery slope which leads to ISPs deciding it’s simpler to ban may be unfounded…”
It’s not even a slippery slope — it’s a transdimensional warp jump to a different second place that is unlike the first place.
“…but I don’t think it helps to assert that the other side HAVE to want to cause deliberate harm.”
To be totally clear, though, this is my rationale:
If I can understand it, then anyone SMARTER than me should be able to (unless they are being malevolent) and anyone LESS smarter than me is not apparently getting the notion in the way it is delivered.
So why not try a different delivery system, I ask.
I don’t think people “aren’t getting it” simply because it’s “not being explained well enough.” (Hell, I got it the second time it was explained to me and I’m thick and stubborn) I think people are CLAIMING they “aren’t getting it” so that they can stall off doing it by making others dance the “I’ll try to explain it a different way” dance.
Which I think is pretty deliberate.
Is it purely malevolent, though, or is it just childishly refusing to be considerate out of foot-stomping spite? That’s probably not a bad question to explore.
But all that aside, yeah, I think framing the question as “why are you arguing for a position where people are being hurt?” Is not a bad place to start.
April 13, 2016 @ 9:20 pm
There is, in fact, this whole website: https://www.doesthedogdie.com/
And I applaud it. As, I suspect, do many other people.
April 13, 2016 @ 9:21 pm
I was not saying there shouldn’t be trigger warnings anywhere and was not using it as representative of the whole. I was saying that, like anything else, it can be taken to extremes – and in particular, I’m hearing multiple stories of that happening on college campuses.
What stuck me was that this was written by someone who started out sympathetic to them (as am I). I think they are very appropriate in many circumstances.
April 13, 2016 @ 9:24 pm
And, you know, it’s not like that’s never been an issue. I really doubt ZOMG TRIGGER WARNINGS ARE CENSORSHIP WE SHOULD ALL JUST SAY WHAT WE WANT guy would have told the boss exactly what he thought of his speech, made bacon jokes around police officers, or brought out Penthouse when his grandmother was over.
It’s having to consider the “wrong” people that bothers them. And that says a lot.
April 13, 2016 @ 10:42 pm
I wish there was a site like that for books. I needed such a warning for Dan Brown’s Deception Point when it came out. The dogs are killed in the first few pages of the book, so it was unavoidable. I couldn’t get past it. I put the book down and have never picked it back up. It still comes right to mind anytime the book gets mentioned.
April 13, 2016 @ 11:00 pm
The overuse of the term “trigger warning” has certainly become an issue. To me, trigger warnings are specifically for situations where someone has experienced a genuine trauma–rape, combat, abuse etc. that leaves them with PTSD or another such condition.
These days, people will indeed toss “trigger warnings” out on social media for everything from swear words to showing a picture of a spider, and that does tend to trivialize the term.
I think that some of the fear from my colleagues at the college where I teach may be from people who think they could some day get in trouble for failing to warn students that there might be spider images in a biology textbook or for failing to warn students that Shakespeare’s plays had sexism and racism (and some strong language) in them.
April 13, 2016 @ 11:06 pm
“Or they’re the kind of people who say “my dad hit me and I turned out fine,” as a way of justifying that everyone should hit their children because they should “tough it out.” ”
Sadly, there seems to be a large number of such people out there.
April 13, 2016 @ 11:49 pm
I completely agree with you, though I can also see how it would be possible for the list of potential things that someone finds unpleasant or emotionally taxing (but not necessarily triggering as in an abuse survivor situation) could become cumbersome.
I think rape, child abuse and torture are special cases for this reason–many people have experienced them, and they tend to leave serious scars, including PTSD. But certain other things I’m less sure about.
Knowing where to draw that line can be something of a challenge.
April 13, 2016 @ 11:53 pm
An excellent point here.
April 14, 2016 @ 12:34 am
Let us assume that there were a law that required to prominently place trigger warnings at the top of a web page if a certain topic is dealt with. It would soon be found out that those warning negatively impact the sites ability to monetize. This would lead to sites forbidding breaching subjects that require such warnings and the removal of violating content.
This would still not be censorship and (by far) not all sites would act that way, but the effect would nevertheless be felt. The ridiculous (at least for someone living in Europe) policies of Facebook concerning nudity have their source in exactly those mechanisms.
That is why while totally in favor of using trigger warnings, I would oppose any formal legal rules requiring them.
April 14, 2016 @ 12:36 am
I went to see The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo movie with my sister. I wasn’t familiar with the book, but she really liked it so I went with her. I made it through the movie and got home before falling apart. I stayed up for four days, not sleeping, barely eating, reading every article on rape, rape survivors, abuse, and abuse survivors I could find, while bawling so hard I could barely read, so that I could stop reliving what happened to me and maybe find comfort in other survivor stories. I don’t even know, just that I was a mess that weekend and that’s what helped.
I’d really rather have not had to do that to myself because of a movie.
April 14, 2016 @ 12:47 am
To me, “hurt” is a different thing than “offense”.
But going with Ian’s example:
“You’re hurting me!”
“You’re standing on my foot!”
“Oh, sorry!” *steps away* “I didn’t know, and ‘You’re hurting me!’ is too vague a complaint for me to be able to figure it out.”
As is “I’m offended!” That’s the whole problem. I can guess at what I’ve done that’s offended you, or you can tell me and let me understand and decide if I need to change something.
April 14, 2016 @ 1:43 am
The worst case I have encountered in my own field (law) is the one where the Cambridge law students objected to an exam question on various forms of rape and sexual offences: details here http://www.independent.co.uk/student/news/sexually-graphic-questions-appear-in-cambridge-law-exam-8641966.html
My particular objection to the student position here is that the exam was testing knowledge of the legal definition of consent in edge cases, and like most questions in law exams was based on an amalgam of facts drawn from actual cases which would have been in the syllabus, coupled with the sort of things that happen at university.
April 14, 2016 @ 1:51 am
Speaking of guilt trips, I, like you, am grateful for CNTW on AO3, and really despise the people (they hang out at fanficrants, among other places) who demand that writers only “earn” the right to CNTW if they make their personal contact details available for, and respond to direct messages asking for specific details of triggers in fics. That really is starting off down a slippery slope, and, as someone who has received death threats over a fandom spat, I’m about as willing to give my personal email to fandom strangers as I am to swim with great white sharks and for much the same reasons.
April 14, 2016 @ 1:58 am
In order to prove that no argument ever has the monopoly of jerks on one side or another, last time this argument came up in fandom circles someone who was very pro trigger warnings told the person he considered had warned inadequately, “To test my theory your story needed a warning, I gave it to a friend of mine whom I knew had been raped…”
April 14, 2016 @ 2:06 am
AO3’s idea of four major warnings, which cover the areas you’ve mentioned, plus free form tags and notes plus “choose not to use archive warnings” works pretty well in practice. You always do get people being jerks, but a clear policy makes it harder for them to be effective jerks. Not like a certain Harry Potter discussion board of about twelve years ago, where the mods required one to warn for discussion of homosexual content following people’s claims of being “triggered” by the suggestion that Remus Lupin’s relationships were interesting to analyse through the lens of queer theory.
April 14, 2016 @ 2:34 am
I think it’s a ludicrously unhelpful place to start, because assuming bad faith on the part of the other party to a discussion and assuming that malevolence or “foot stomping spite” are the only reasons for their position means that you have already made up your mind you can’t persuade them (who was ever persuaded by reason out of either of those positions?) and if they actually are arguing from a position of good faith you are rapidly going to harden their attitude.
Edward Martin III
April 14, 2016 @ 2:34 am
It is a hearsay tale, so of course is subject to any bias one prefers.
But it could be said that if giving to a person who had experienced such trouble literature that contained depiction of this trouble and most parties involved agree that this was a shitty thing to do, then that kinda proves the point.
Moreover, it underscores the greater point of people taking responsibility for their effect in the world.
Assuming such a tale described true events, then that is the intersection of TWO different entities refusing to take responsibility.
If any ONE of these probably-imaginary people had done the responsible thing, then the Fantasy Bad Thing would never have happened.
But the cost of even ONE person abdicating responsibility is an overall increased chance that an emotional confrontation such as this may occur.
Your example illustrates how important it is for EVERYONE to think carefully about their part in such events. To think about what might drive them to want to CONTRIBUTE to those events, instead of being simply one of the many links in a chain of people banding together to help each other AVOID them.
April 14, 2016 @ 2:45 am
I am not engaging with someone who starts from the premise that I’m lying.
Edward Martin III
April 14, 2016 @ 2:54 am
“I think it’s a ludicrously unhelpful place to start, because assuming bad faith on the part of the other party to a discussion and assuming that malevolence or “foot stomping spite” are the only reasons for their position…”
Well, and the possibility that they just aren’t smart as I am.
Because I got it by the second time I read an explanation.
Seriously, if I can get it, then ANYONE can.
“…you have already made up your mind you can’t persuade them (who was ever persuaded by reason out of either of those positions?)…”
Actually, I was.
The first time I heard of it, I resisted.
The second time it was pointed out that I was advocating to deliberately hurt people, it fixed my shit.
“…and if they actually are arguing from a position of good faith you are rapidly going to harden their attitude.”
Arguing that there’s no reason to let people know that common triggers may exist in a piece of work is not what I’d call “good faith.”
Sometimes ya just gotta tell people “Look, I appreciate that you think this is fun to argue and that you think other people’s trauma is hilarious, but no, it’s not, and you’ve had enough chances to learn it (but all you do is argue), so now you are unwelcome in this social circle. You may be a dick at your leisure, but you may not be a dick HERE.”
Not everybody has the time to be the Dick Whisperer.
April 14, 2016 @ 3:09 am
Coincidentally, I just came across this and it’s a perfect example of the kind of thing I mean (the word “triggering” comes in the second comment onwards): http://fanficrants.livejournal.com/11651351.html
Edward Martin III
April 14, 2016 @ 3:19 am
I accepted your exciting tale as an illustration of your point and ALSO used it to underscore the point of shared responsibility.
(And by pointing out that it was anecdotal, I avoided getting drawn into your imaginary [or not] world. Basically, I’m declaring that it DOESN’T MATTER if it really happened or not.)
Shared responsibility is a difficult subject — it doesn’t surprise me when people ditch a conversation when it comes up.
As far as “lying,” well, feh, I ain’t starting things off by assuming a pseudonym, if you know what I mean. 😉
April 14, 2016 @ 3:54 am
I agree; unfortunately from Fry’s autobiography his experiences in the public school system exposed him to an entire ethos which lauded the “I suffered and survived therefore so should you” way of thinking, and he’s obviously internalised it.
April 14, 2016 @ 8:01 am
“Stupid or evil” has a pretty clear answer when the solution to “stupid” is like three seconds on Google.
And if legionseagle wants to spend their time and effort trying to educate those people, well, vaya con dios, buddy. Seriously. That’s an admirable windmill to tilt at. But the rest of us aren’t obligated to.
April 14, 2016 @ 8:05 am
Ugh, me too.
I read spoilers on Wiki or TVTropes these days before I engage with most media. I don’t even have triggers to worry about–but life’s too short to spend my time on what sounds like a fun read but takes a random twist toward grimdark halfway through. No thanks!
April 14, 2016 @ 10:29 am
Oh Good Lord. Nicely underlining why I DO NOT hang out on ffrants. I mean, I have open PMs, and let people do that, but in cases like yours, or in cases of people with anxiety issues, or in cases of people who dunwanna (this is our hobby!), nope nope nope.
Jim C. Hines
April 14, 2016 @ 10:37 am
::Reads this comment thread::
All right, enough. Further comments on this particular thread will be fed to the goblins.
April 14, 2016 @ 11:24 am
Now that I’ve had a whole four hours of sleep, I’m going to try to expand on what I said. I’m probably just going to repeat myself, but I’m trying my best.
Two people in my life heavily lied to me. This offended me. The problem was not theirs, it was mine. They were perfectly happy with lying and seemed to think it worked for them.
I told them they were hurting me by lying to me (those were the words I used, once I got past being offended and was able to define the problem.) It was more important to them to continue lying than it was to stop hurting me. It remained my problem, and so I was able to solve it by wishing them well and continuing my life without them.
verb of·fend \ə-ˈfend\
: to cause (a person or group) to feel hurt, angry, or upset by something said or done
The problem is not that something was said or done. The problem is that a person or group feels hurt, angry, or upset. I’m not saying those feelings are valid or invalid, but only that they exist. Because they exist, they can galvanize that person or group to action.
Earlier I said “I would never dream of asking anyone to censor themselves to avoid hurting me.” But I will choose to avoid people or published works that will trigger an involuntary reaction in me. I might have to step out of the conversation when my friends talk about some cool thing that happened in Game of Thrones, because I haven’t seen it. But I would never suggest that it should not exist because I might be offended or triggered by some parts of it.
April 14, 2016 @ 11:59 am
Ironic that Fry made this point – he tends to get identified with the BBC in this country, but when I was growing up (70s and 80s), the BBC news always made a statement, when dealing with upsetting news items, that something was coming up which might distress viewers. I’m assuming they still do this (we don’t have a TV). It wasn’t called a trigger warning, but it was considered completely normal practice and people took notice.
Jim C. Hines
April 14, 2016 @ 2:46 pm
That entry appears to be locked.
April 14, 2016 @ 3:16 pm
Sorry; most of the posts in that community are open and I hadn’t spotted that this was locked. I’d better not explain further, then, but it did seem to be an example of the kind of thing I was talking about, of someone misusing “triggering content” to describe “a plot development they personally disliked.”
Taken Too Far: When Trigger Warnings Attack!
April 14, 2016 @ 3:26 pm
[…] Trigger Warnings as CENSORSHIP, and Other Nonsense […]
April 14, 2016 @ 5:33 pm
You can only know what you know.
That said, however, there is a huge difference between “unpleasant and emotionally taxing” and “triggering.” I am specifically discussing the latter in my comment.
April 14, 2016 @ 5:35 pm
Certainly Smudge would be smart enough to know the problem wasn’t the person who he’d just landed on…
April 14, 2016 @ 11:50 pm
Edward: Marry me.
Kidding. I already have a husband. But “Not everybody has the time to be the Dick Whisperer” is great.
April 15, 2016 @ 5:48 pm
Have you ever known someone who had a serious spider phobia? I have, and I DAMN WELL post “TW for arachnophobes” and put the content behind a cut if it’s got spiders in it. Even though that person is no longer in my social circle, and even though they were an extreme example. What does it cost ME to do that? Nothing, dammit. Who knows which person — someone I don’t even know — might stumble across my post and be reduced to a quivering pile of jelly in a fetal position on the floor? And for people with less-extreme versions, it allows them to brace for the picture, or decide to skip the post.
I honestly don’t understand what there is about this that people don’t get. AFAICT it’s either laziness, assholery, or a complete lack of empathy. Sometimes more than one.
April 16, 2016 @ 7:17 pm
See xkcd pic from above: citation needed. Headspace canon on this topic does not an argument make.
Edward Martin III
April 17, 2016 @ 7:13 pm
“That’s an admirable windmill to tilt at.”
Eh, maybe. I used to tilt at that windmill until I crossed social groups and saw the EXACT SAME stalling tactics used by the same people in different social groups.
That’s when I started postulating “Maybe the “person who is just clueless and only wants to have it “explained” a few million times so they can “discuss” (“argue”) more about it” is just a myth.
“But the rest of us aren’t obligated to.”
As an experiment, offering people keywords to look up takes a LOT less effort.
One can even use http://lmgtfy.com/
Edward Martin III
April 17, 2016 @ 7:16 pm
“Edward: Marry me.”
Heh — in some dimension, the writers of Arrested Development are patting themselves on the back. 🙂
“But “Not everybody has the time to be the Dick Whisperer” is great.”
It has served me well.
By allowing me to NOT try to “explain” something to someone presenting as “I just don’t get it,” it’s let me observe their process.
That’s when I started seeing it not as a request-for-information, but as a honeypot trap for resources.
Dr. Strange, copyright and other writing issues (#SFWApro) | Fraser Sherman's Blog
April 21, 2016 @ 2:09 am
[…] Hines discusses trigger warnings and the idea they’re only for […]
June 11, 2016 @ 1:43 pm
But, Dani, you could have looked up the rating and review of the movie before seeing it. There are several websites that provide information on movies in theaters, including the nature of the content and warnings about sexual violence. Parents have been using them for years. If you know that you have triggers, what is your personal responsibility to take advantage of the information that exists in order to avoid them?