(I apologise for my long-drawn out absence and I sure hope it’s ended now. Happy new year!)
Not too long ago, I saw a post on a blog (I know, detailed right?) titled something along the lines of “Should Books Have Trigger Warnings?” and, I’d like to share my opinion. [If you just so happened to be the writer of this blog post- because I literally have no idea where I read it- then claim it and I’ll name it. (That doesn’t make sense but I wanted to rhyme.)]
So, should books have trigger warnings?
Truly, I’m not sure. Personally, it would be really helpful if books had trigger warnings. It’s hard to go into a book and be blind-sided by something you weren’t expecting. Annoyingly enough, I have quite a few triggers. And, its especially hard when I have invested myself in a book, only to find that there’s something stopping me from continuing. But, I want to continue.
And I don’t know what’s worse:
Letting myself be triggered
DNFing a book…
I’m kidding. Of course it’s letting myself be triggered. But, I hate not finishing a book. And, I especially hate if I can’t finish a book because of my goddamned feelings. Screw my feelings, I like finishing books. It’s hard when it’s just a regular book and I’m triggered. Sometimes, there’s really no specific reason as to why I’m triggered. And, people wonder why you didn’t read the book. That’s hard to explain.
“Oh, it triggered me.” Please don’t ask, please don’t ask…
“Why do you mean it ‘triggered you’? What does that even mean? Guns, were there guns involved? That kind of trigger?”
“No, a girl was being really mean to a guy she doesn’t like.”
“He really liked her but she wouldn’t give him the time of day.”
See? It sounds stupid. ‘Cause it is. But, I can’t help it. It just happens. I don’t want to have to stop reading a book just because something small happened that I was affected by when it really shouldn’t have had any effect on me.
So, we look at the alternative: books with trigger warnings.
While I’ve said above it would be helpful, I don’t want to not read a book because it’s triggering. That’s so constricting. My mental illnesses putting a barrier on my reading. I don’t want my mental illness to stop me from reading books I want to read. It’s like fuelling the stigma around mental illnesses. We’re supposed to be getting on with our daily lives. Reading is my daily life and I don’t want my illness to affect that.
I don’t know what to think. Would I prefer to be blind-sided and risk not finishing a book or not even opening a book because I know there’ll be a trigger? I really have no idea.
Going along with this point, we can’t please everyone. The above example was something triggering for me. Why? I don’t know. But, it was. And, yes, it’s stupid but it happened. And, all publishers aren’t going to know that. I could be triggered by something like “frogs” or “water balloons” or “flying monkey” but publishers aren’t going to know to put those kind of things in their trigger warnings. Everything could be considered a trigger. The word “everything” could be considered triggering. (Little bit of a stretch but it could happen.)
What I’m saying is that, with any book I read, I can be blind-sided. It’s inevitable. I could discover new triggers while reading. I just have to deal. We all have to deal with it. Trigger warnings are useless because there’s going to be someone out there reading the exact same book as you having a panic attack all because they saw one little thing while reading. Publishers can’t please everyone. There’d have to be a sign on every single book saying “THIS MAY BE TRIGGERING FOR SOME”. And, you may be affected while reading, you may not.
What do you think? Trigger warnings or nah? Share your thoughts!
Thanks for reading!