First off, what is a trigger warning, anyway?
A trigger warning usually consists of bold, capitalized, or linked text describing in a broad way what text follows it. It can be in the form of a cut, or simply the title of the text in question, warning readers what kind of triggers can be found…
First, is tumblr really so vital that unfollowing someone, for good reason, is something to be avoided? If I had a friend who always drew people getting raped I would tell him/her what a d-bag they are, and wouldnt hang around with ‘em anymore either. Sounds reasonable to me to do the same on tumblr. If you post things that I think are shitty, im going to tell you to fuck off, or ill just unfollow/not follow you.
It seems as if whats being requested is censorship in lieu of healing. I often have come across things that stir up my depression, but I face most of them out in the real world much more often than on the internet (although the web is hardly a safe space). I feel it is far more important to learn how to cope, and heal, than to bottle up anguish and pain (to be opened later via a trigger).
In addition, if I were to post something that was offensive, or acted as a trigger, I would be happy to hear criticism. How can one grow otherwise? I would evaluate the feedback and decide whether or not I wanted to honor their request. If I didnt, they could unfollow me, but im definitely not going to spend MORE time on tumblr second guessing myself, nor do I think anyone else should. This is a blog afterall, right? If you dont like what I have to say, tell me or ignore me. Thats how things work out in the real world.
I think this is kind of missing the point.
It isn’t censorship; it’s allowing others the choice of accepting or declining something that might be potentially damaging to them. You are still posting whatever content you wish, but also acknowledging and being sensitive to the fact that others may not wish to view it.
I think it’s great that you feel that viewing triggering material helps you learn to cope. Not everyone feels that way. However, your experience doesn’t negate the experiences of others, nor mine.
Some of us do not wish to view certain things that trigger us. I can only speak for myself here, but certain material has upset me to the point of debilitation. Sometimes it has caused me to feel unable to do normal activities in my life, like eating and going to work.
You can insinuate that this is weak all you like. It doesn’t exactly change it, though, and it isn’t something that I’m just going to immediately get over or change. Viewing triggering material does not help me cope, and prescribing it to others as if its going to help them is problematic at best.
Putting a trigger warning above offensive material isn’t going to keep you from posting what you want.
Obviously no one is going to make you do it, but I would hope you’d consider being sensitive about it.
I promise you I am not insinuating anything, nor do I ever for future reference. I do not believe you, who I dont at all know for one, to be weak. I do understand what you are saying, I just believe it to be really unhealthy for everyone. Part of what im pointing out, is that it is better to surround yourself with people that dont suck, than to pretend they are decent people. I think this applies to anything in life. If someone were to make homophobic jokes, I would make it VERY clear that its not ok, and not just because they are making said jokes in front of me. “No offense, but them queers..”, isnt gonna make me any less pissed either, and id rather they be upfront so that it is very clear what kind of person they are. It also is empowering, to me, to be presented with opportunities to tell people off.
Also, for example, if a survivor were to post about their assault, I think its important that they do not feel held back in any way. Analyzing what posts may, or may not, be a trigger to someone, doesnt sound healthy, especially considering tumblr is foremost a blog site.
In addition, virtually anything can be a trigger. As a personal example.. I had a REALLY fucked up six hour seizure, 5 years ago, after smoking weed (maybe my tenth time) that still totally haunts me, and my friends who were there, to this day. I was lucid dreaming a few different trails, and could hear everything people were saying to me, but I couldnt respond to anything for the first hour or two. I thought I was dying and so did my friends after a while. I ended up in the ER having doctors screaming at me “What drugs did you do damnit, I know it wasnt weed” and trying desperately to speak, while getting needles and a catheter (which wasnt put in correctly so I was just in complete pain) jammed in me. So while it sometimes sucks to have to constantly read stuff about weed on tumblr, and in real life (I live in the SF Bay Area), I dont really want people to worry about whether or not it may be offensive, as this is their blog and they should be true to themselves, and if it bothers me ill just talk to them or stop reading. However, if someones whole blog was only posts about weed, I simply wouldnt follow them. Theres no loss for me in doing so. Similarly, if someone posts a lot of prison photos, faces of meth, or whatever else, tell ‘em if it bothers you, and maybe you shouldnt read their journal if its painful. I also feel that depression and anger are both very important elements of growth, and the longer you hide from your past the worse it will haunt you.
I dont think anyone should put more time into tumblr. If it makes ‘em feel shitty, then thats just one less person using it. I totally acknowledge this is a bad habit for me.
Please understand, please, that triggering material isn’t limited to shitty people saying shitty things. It isn’t just bigotry or ignorance.
Triggering material can be news articles that describe violence, rape, or abuse in detail. Triggering material can be survivors of aforementioned events detailing their experiences. It can be people discussing their mindset when they had an eating disorder, and their habits. It can be any number of things and none of it is bad; but it has the potential and the power to drastically affect someone, or send them over the edge.
I’m all for sharing information, because this shit happens in the world and I’m definitely advocating communication about it.
It’s obvious you can’t be aware of every little trigger out there. I’m pretty sure I mentioned that in my initial post on trigger warnings. But it definitely, certainly helps, to throw a warning on something obvious.
I have been triggered by things that I can’t expect people to anticipate. But I can anticipate negative reactions, destructive ones, from some of the things I blog about, and I respect my followers enough to give them a little warning.
Also, you might consider tumblr to be a bad habit, and that’s fine. Some people get a lot out of it because they’re isolated IRL. That is not a bad thing.
If you seriously can’t be bothered to consider the emotions and mentalities of those who have also been through trauma before you hit ‘post,’ I’m done.