Susannah Breslin, the writer who called feminism “cultural roadkill” has now taken it upon herself to mock the shit out of a very serious term: trigger warnings. You know, because it’s so uncool and passe to care about rape victims.
Her post on True/Slant today begins by calling us folks at Feministing self-victimizing, angry man-haters (*yawn*), setting the tone for this oh-so-expert account of contemporary feminism. What follows is joking banter about Feministing and other blogs’ use of trigger warnings with seemingly no knowledge of what they’re actually for:
I’ve noticed as of late a new addition to their bloggy style, which is the inclusion of the phrase, often IN ALL CAPS or TOTALLY BOLDED, which announces incoming SCARY content with a “TRIGGER WARNING.” WTF is a “trigger warning”? Yeah, I had to look that one up myself. Thankfully: Google.
According to Yahoo! Answers (which, BTW, is a great place to turn if you’re worried that having sex while pregnant could result in a pregnant fetus), a trigger warning is: “A warning placed in the title of an e-mail or post to let possible readers know that the content might trigger (or upset) them.” This seems different than the more widely used “spoiler alert,” which is used if you’ve seen a movie that other fanbois haven’t, and you want to reveal the ending, but you don’t want all your fanbois to freak the fuck out.
After some in-depth research (like, half an hour, maybe?), I was able to conclude that, for whatever reason, the feminists are all over their TRIGGER WARNINGS, applying them like a Southern cook applies Pam cooking spray to an overused nonstick frying pan. It’s almost impressive, really. I guess the idea is that blog posts are TOTALLY SCARY, and if you are EASILY UPSET, if you see a TRIGGER WARNING coming, you can look away REALLY FAST, or click elsewhere, so you won’t, you know, FREAK THE FUCK OUT.
But what’s funny about her “research” is that she happened to not find the second and third google results I came up with when searching, “trigger warning,” which are pretty clear explanations about how the language is used for survivors of trauma. I guess she missed these?
Actually, I don’t think she missed them at all. My guess is that Breslin knows exactly what trigger warnings are, but was intellectually dishonest about it so she could have the opportunity to make fun of feminists as irrational knee-jerks rather than come clean about trigger warnings’ real purpose: to help lessen the pain that sexual assault and trauma victims have gone through.
This is shitty journalism at its best. And I don’t know about you, but I’ll take being sensitive to survivors over too-cool-for-school feminist bashing any day.
A huge, heartfelt thanks to Shakes for coming to our (and survivors’) defense. Jill also has more.