[ View the story "Trigger Warnings: Essential or extreme?" on Storify] Trigger Warnings: Essential or extreme? Calls for labeling distressing content with warnings spark broader conversations over free speech.
The Stream· Thu, May 21 2015 18:42:13
Trigger warnings have long been used online, but since last year the debate has extended to whether or not they should be used in college classes and readings. The latest example occurred in April, when students at Columbia University
for a trigger warning to be placed on Ovid's "Metamorphoses", arguing "vivid depictions of rape and sexual assault" warrant it.
Ovid’s “Metamorphoses” is a fixture of Lit Hum, but like so many texts in the Western canon, it contains triggering and offensive material that marginalizes student identities in the classroom. These texts, wrought with histories and narratives of exclusion and oppression, can be difficult to read and discuss as a survivor, a person of color, or a student from a low-income background.columbiaspectator.com
The students' push is an attempt to protect trauma survivors from materials that could set off uncomfortable memories and flashbacks. According to mental health professionals,
are very personal and can be activated by any of the five senses. Consequently, emotional intensity and discomfort could be similar to that experienced during the original trauma.
@AJStream Absolutely, #triggerwarnings are important for creating safe places as it warns the possibility of a negative emotional responseAditi Bhargava
@AJStream are classrooms effective with the traumatized? Some topics may become too sensitive to them and thereby limit critical analysisLimbani Limbano
@HGChamberlainIV @AJStream @Nuri_ibrahim @mmbilal yes! Even without PTSD, remembering unpleasant memories is not exactly very nice.Habiba M Ibrahim
@AJStream I think they must have really good reason to push for trigger warnings and each case is unique so we cannot make generalisations.\\ Exams // Sahar
with the students and say the demand for trigger warnings is a "threat to academic freedom in the classroom". According to them, trigger warnings can diminish educational value as it eliminates the shock factor, and prioritizes comfort over "intellectual engagement".
@AJStream This does undermine the survivor's resilience. It also disempowers the survivor, implying s/he is passive & needs to be warned.Evakatrina
@AJStream the little students a tad oversensitive, eh?marypg keating
@nuri_ibrahim Should cinema professors give warning before showing dark films in case their are depression-sufferers? @mmbilal @ajstreamHarry Chamberlain
@AJStream any university student who is afraid of 'triggers' doesn't belong in university.Donald Kirk
This is how a professor from the University of Texas, Arlington, decided to warn students:
Trigger warnings have been extensively used online, especially on places like Tumblr. Alerts have been
to all kinds of topics such as "sex, pregnancy, addiction, bullying, suicide, sizeism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia, slut shaming, victim-blaming, alcohol, blood, insects,
" and others. Some
have gathered lists of different warnings for movies to help people avoid specific content.
Trigger warning for tonight's #GameOfThrones quite a graphic rape/sexually violent scene at the end.Libby
The Unfriended movie has no trigger warning for self harm or suicide! If you're sensitive about these topics do NOT see the movie !Oprah
I just passed a clown sitting on a stoop applying his makeup and that sort of thing should come with a trigger warning.chelsea g. summers
Some think trigger warnings have gone too far:
tumblr is literally like: CAUTION!!!!! TRIGGER WARNING!!!!! THIS MAN IS WEARING A RED SHIRT. RED IS THE COLOR OF BLOOD. STAY SAFE BOOST THISchanel oberlin
@sifgirl can u tag that trigger warning as "tr*gger warn*ng"? The letter i is triggering for mealyssa
#triggerwarning = "sorry this isn't about unicorns and puppies!"Shannon Rose Hurley
Sorry life doesn't have a trigger warning label. Go back to tumblr they'll be more sensitiveKaci
Others say trigger warnings are harmless:
If you don't need a trigger warning, ignore it like you would ignore a nutrition label you're not interested in reading. That's all it is.Bailey
If your reaction is "that trigger warning ruined the film for me" then maybe reexamine your your compassion for other people's experiencesEmily ReyNOlds
What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.