January 6, 2020
Did You Know Trigger Warnings Are Controversial?
Trigger Warnings: Yes or No?
A stated warning that the content of a text, video, etc., may upset or offend some people, especially those who have previously experienced a related trauma.
The distinction I make between a trigger warning and a content warning is that a content warning doesn’t involve content that triggers psychological or emotional harm. Some reviewers do not make a distinction between trigger warnings and content warnings. My trigger warnings usually consist of warnings about suicide, sexual assault, child endangerment, abuse, domestic violence, eating disorders, etc. Whereas, content warnings usually consist of content like profanity, crass language, open door romance, excessive graphic violence, references to body image, etc.
The inclusion of Trigger Warnings and/or Content Warnings have been extensively debated among reviewers.
Spoilers: Last week, someone questioned one of my Instagram reviews in which I had included a TW (trigger warning). This person was concerned that the TW could be considered a spoiler. Well, yes, that is a definite con of a TW. Interestingly, the next person thanked me for the TW!
This is a topic about which I have a strong opinion, but I don’t think I’ve addressed my position in a formal post. Since you are reading my reviews, you might be curious about my stance.
Pros and Cons of Trigger Warnings:
PROs of Trigger Warnings:
- Readers are alerted to sensitive content that might cause them psychological or emotional harm
- Readers can make informed decisions
- Readers are better prepared for difficult or triggering content
CONs of Trigger Warnings:
- TWs might contain spoilers
- TWs might give away an important plot point
- TWs might ruin the ‘twist’ or the ending
What do you think?
Do you have concerns to add to the Pro and Con lists? At first glance and considering common sense, you might say the Cons outweigh the Pros. Please hear me out.