Every time I see someone make the argument that representation in fiction isn’t a big issue, and that advocating for diversity is just a waste of time because audiences can identify with anyone, and anyway, trying to include a wide range of backgrounds is just tokenism, I have the overwhelming urge to grab them by the shoulders and hiss, “If you really believe that representation doesn’t matter, then why the fuck are you threatened by it? If not seeing yourself depicted in stories has no negative psychological impact - if the breakdown of who we see on screen has no bearing on wider social issues - then what would it matter if nine stories out of ten were suddenly all about queer brown women? No big, right? It wouldn’t change anything important; just a few superficial details. Because YOU can identify with ANYONE.
"So I guess the problem is that you just don’t want to. Because deep down, you think it’ll make stories worse. And why is that? Oh, yeah: because it means they wouldn’t all be about YOU.”
Really interesting. I try to use trigger and content warnings for certain things just cos I don’t wanna be a jerk, but I definitely can see the whole trigger warning thing going way too far.
I mean, if there had been trigger warnings when I was in college (specifically in lit classes), there is so much essential stuff people may have avoided - like anything by Dorothy Allison. Like The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison. Like Last Exit to Brooklyn by Hubert Selby, Jr. Like pretty much every really great book.
Question: How is is that they’ve have avoided this presumably assigned material?
Because no one has ever, to my knowledge, suggested that anyone should be given credit for/get out of doing assignments that contain triggering content. Just that the content should be expected so that people can brace for it/prepare themselves/put it off for a while if they’re in a particularly vulnerable moment.
But isnt there a difference between triggers in an academic setting and trigger in a social setting, such as tumblr?
In an academic setting you are usually evaluating work that can be triggering in an environment that is made to decompose and analyze works.
Places like tumblr benefit from trigger warnings because its a social setting that is use for everything for discussion to escape and fun times. If something triggers you and you are chilling at home on your computer a trigger warning may be exactly what you need.
In class though it may be better to face it and pull apart your fear in an environment that promotes that sort of discussion. And if it triggers you too much then you should be able to talk to a professor about it.
You’re right! It may be better to face it and pull apart your fear in an environment that promotes that sort of discussion. And if it triggers you too much then you should be able to talk to a professor about it. Excellent points on why trigger warnings are completely appropriate and even necessary in an academic setting.
^^That thing she said right there.
Not all academic environments are safe spaces to do this, however, which is important to note.
This article misses out on so many vital things about trigger warnings. Like the fact that trigger warnings were already always part of life, even if we used to call them slightly different. And the fact that trigger warnings often do not stop us from consuming contentand when it does stop us we have good reasons for that.
"These is no objective measure for when we need triggers" is no reason not to use them. There is no objective measure for a lot of useful shit in life. The ‘sliding slope’ fear that we may have to add trigger warnings for milk and cookies next is an irrational fear. Not gonna happen.
"The mere mention of a word probably won’t be triggering so it’s impossible to tell when content will be triggering." is true, but sometimes you can be damn sure that something will be triggering. I know any discussion of rape in a college classroom will definitely be triggering because there is always that one frikkin’ male student that starts talking about how some girls lie and some girls enjoy it and victims should not have to sit through that crap.
"trigger warnings encourage us to think of ourselves as more weak and fragile than we really are" is a bunch of crap because it prioritizes the needs of untraumatized people over the needs of those who may really need those warnings. Typical privileged thinking "I don’t need these warnings so if Joe needs them, Joe should toughen up." Bullshit. And in the same vain, the claim that trigger warnings arean “over-occupation with ones own feelings” sounds like generic bullshit thrown at mentally ill and traumatized people who are just trying to navigate the world without constantly being distracted by their own feelings.
"Trigger warnings limit exploraiton" fails to understand how trigger warnings work. They prepare people who need it, giving them the space to avoid them or to brace themselves. They make the people who have triggers more capable of exploring, not less.
Basically, this article sounds like “People are asking me to be more sensitive of their needs, but I don’t have those needs myself so I want everyone else to change into a person like me”.
"They rap but they don’t know what true rap is."
"They play rock, but they don’t know how to rock.”
"They’re funny when they don’t talk about being ___."
Always with the unnecessary commentary.
"The thrill of appropriation lies in accessing the perceived authenticity… Transfer to a white body elevates the action. It’s no longer primitive because while nonwhite culture is assumed to be rooted in instinct, white culture is one of intent… White people clamoring to up their cred by appropriating nonwhite culture do so hoping to be rewarded for choices that are falsely seen as inherent in people of color." —Ayesha Siddiqi
I’m sorry about this. Nobody who’s of one ethnicity should ever be allowed to enjoy things created by people of other ethnicities. Nobody who isn’t Asian is allowed to use paper any more. Nobody who is not Native American may eat corn or potatoes. You only get to do something if it was created by the ethnicity which you belong to, otherwise you’re just appropriating it and can’t possibly understand it.
i found the white kid
I love how when people point out how white people should stop:
- claiming credit to have invented shit other people created
- only celebrating cultural practices when white people are involved while excluding the people who created it
- redefine cultural practices over the voices of the people who create them
- redefine cultural practices incorrectly, out of ignorance
….that white people assume the ONLY POSSIBLE SOLUTION is to never use them. That is to say, given the option of listening to, respecting, and giving credit to originators is so fucking impossible for them, that the only answer is that no one could use anything.
(Abed Nadir, Community, “Basic Intergluteal Numismatics”)
Though it was aimed at Hannibal, I immediately thought of Sherlock and snickered. Moffat really rocks the Ambiguous Disorder, Magnificent Bastard, and Insufferable Genius tropes. Even the Doctor is starting to lean towards it.(via stfu-moffat)
That line “Mildly autistic superdetectives everywhere… painful writing” called out like three dozen shows at once. Brilliant.
My problem with a lot of left wing radical groups.
when men dress up as women or white people wear hijabs or darken their skin in order to “see how hard it is,” they’re simply admitting that they believe those members of those groups are untrustworthy to the point that they can’t honestly relay the reality of their own experiences.
GOD YES THIS.
the one thing that has stuck with me every day since my English teacher told me it in middle school is:
"When referring to someone, always say who they are before anything else about them, because being a person always comes first"
Instead of saying “the mentally ill man,” say “the man with a mental illness”
Putting someone’s characteristics (especially negative ones) before them is dehumanizing and rude. Don’t do it.
While it is true that whichever part you put first tends to be seen as more important (within the context of the sentence, as if you’d emphasized it), there actually have been a lot of disabled, mentally ill and LGBT+ (to name only the examples I’m certain I’ve seen) protesting this idea.
The rough counter argument is that, in English, we actually do spend a lot of time putting traits before the person. It adds clarity and allows you to include more identifiers more clearly. “The mentally ill girl with brown hair”, is an example of this: it’s more clear than “The girl with brown hair and a mental illness.”
So, insisting upon “the man with a mental illness”, rather than letting it be phrased however is most clear, implies that mental illness is more important a trait than any other.
It has also been argued that by insisting it comes afterwards, you are denying the very real importance of mental illness as part of a person’s identity. People may feel that their mental illness is a very important part of their identity, even sometimes a positive part, and it is harmful to deny that it can be so. It is harmful to say that mental illness is a negative trait.
I suggest phrasing it however you would with any other trait. If you always put the people first, continue to do so, but don’t make an exception for mental illness or disability. If someone asks you to use people-first or trait-first language when discussing them, do so, but understand it is a question of personal preference.
It’s also, in my opinion at least, also useful to consider that language is simply a means of generally-agreed upon phrases and words to refer to specific things. Conscientiousness and consideration in regards to others’ comfort zones and personal identity is important and all, but it bears little fruit to be politically correct to the point that your efforts get in the way of constructive conversation.
And also remember that there are other languages, and other dialects within your language that prioritize different word usage and phraseology. The way you perceive a phrase to be acceptable will definitely not be the same as another region’s, and this idea also applies to different social groups over the internet. So! General rule of thumb: Be conscious of several different systems of language, always accept what others say as valid (and back up their claims with research at a later date if you deem it necessary), and above all else, don’t deny others their use of language unless a professional setting deems that they subscribe to a specified standard. But that’s an entirely different can of worms.
Great stuff. The ‘professional setting’ is a different can of worms indeed. One in which my advise is often break the conventions, break ‘em all, they are designed to silence anyone without the right narrowly defined training. But, back to the topic at hand. There’s a couple of things I’m missing here:
- Language isn’t only contextual and an agreement between people, it is also ever changing. Something that is inoffensive here and now may be offensive elsewhere or it may be offensive here 20 years from now. Because language changes. So we will forever have to learn how to use language. That’s just part of the game.
- The best judge about whether something is offensive here and now is the person being talked about. Because they feel the sting of the words.
- Language has power over the person being talked about. Specifically in this case, the power to make them feel respected or dehumanized. If you are not the one being talked about, follow the traditions of the people that are being talked about. So while some people may describe themselves as ‘a disabled person’ and some people may describe themselves as ‘a person with a disability’, an able-bodied person should always follow the preferences of the disabled people / people with disabilities in the room. If the able-bodied person follows their own preference, they are saying ‘I have the right to prioritize my own language preference above your feelings of being respected or dehumanized’. That is shitty in every language.
When I say something that should not be controversial
Why aren’t 50% of coal miners women? Why not 50% of janitors or pest control workers? Don’t forget front line military!
Likewise, why aren’t men 50% of college enrollment and 50% of teachers?
We should eliminate the stupid “personal choice” thing because forcing people into certain professions is way more fun.
THIS IS NOT ABOUT FORCING PEOPLE INTO PROFESSIONS
THIS IS ABOUT WOMEN GOING INTO SCIENCE BEING DISCOURAGED
THIS IS ABOUT WOMEN BEING DISCRIMINATED AGAINST
FIRST, WHAT GBT SAID.^
FUNNY YOU SHOULD MENTION WOMEN COAL MINERS. BECAUSE I STUDY THEM. AND GUESS WHAT?
Women had to fight court cases to be allowed into coal mines as workers. Once a few women paved the way, thousands of women followed in short suit because on average, their incomes increased 500% over working as domestic workers, doing textile piecework and waitressing. Some saw their income jump 1000%.
Dig a little deeper, and you’ll find women have been mining coal for centuries. They were pushed out in the Victorian period because the mansplainers of the day could tolerate women wielding such a phallic object as a shovel underground with male workers present. And wearing pants! Still, women disguised themselves as men to work in the mines.
Oh, and World War II. Where did all the coal come from then? Oh, that’s right. Women. Women who were expected to stand aside and let the men take their jobs when the war was over and were denied benefits when they later developed black lung.
Also, can we just talk about how absurd it is to say that women don’t make up 50% of ‘janitors’?
Gee, I wonder if that’s because when a woman is hired to be the primary cleaner and caretaker of a property, it gets called ‘housekeeping’ or ‘maidservice’ and pays less than the EXACT SAME JOB, which if done by a man is given the title ‘janitor’?
Why aren’t men 50% of college enrollment? Because men aren’t 50% of college applications. No one’s exactly sure why, but the prevailing guess? Because it’s easier for men to get a professional job without a degree. Which means it’s easier for men to earn a living wage without going into debt. Which increases the already existent wealth gap, already exacerbated by the income gap.
(And if you’ll allow me to get all snarkily gender essentialist for a moment, maybe you boys just can’t cut it in higher ed. Even those of you getting into colleges are dropping out at rates WAY higher than women. They were probably just there looking for a wife to provide for them, though, am I right? Ah, get back in the toolshed, don’t worry your silly little heads about it.)
Oh my god I want to fucking marry this entire post.
The miners and janitors bits are perfection.
Also, the college enrollment difference in most countries is like 45% men / 55% women* and yet men keep going on about it whenever confronted with statistics like how surgeons are 81% men / 19% women. And then they look all satisfied, as if that doesn’t make if even stranger that men hold so many of the jobs that require a college education.
*Friendly reminder that non-binary people exist but statistcs rarely count them.
also i’m sick of everyone acting like all abuse= the absence of love
because it makes it so much harder when it’s framed that way to recognize abuse as abuse
it’s so much more subtle than that. Someone can care about you enough to sacrifice everything for you and still be an abuser.
Just because someone loves you doesn’t mean you have to put up with that
I think this is one of the biggest things that stops people from recognizing themselves as abusers. Which, let’s face it, is a big deal. Abusers are not pantomime villains who cackle at the idea of their victim’s suffering. Far more often, they’re people who often love their victims very much and (1) think their love entitles them to something from the person they love and (2) express that love and sense of entitlement in the absolute worst way possible.
We do not have to be nice or forgiving to abusers. Not at all. But painting a realistic picture of abusers is necessary if we believe that preventing abuse starts with teaching people not to be abusive.