A little definition section; content warnings (CW), trigger warnings (TW), disclaimers, disclosers, whatever you prefer to call them, are what they say on the tin. They give an audience advance notice that content being presented could potentially trigger harm, trauma, etc.
There are so many forms of media that often require these. I’ll discuss universities, social media and video streaming services today, though. Mostly because they are some of the culprits in today’s mental health pandemic. An already antagonised cesspit.
So, first. Universities. Personal examples of non-CW content in classes include graphic videos of self-harm, abuse and rape. Disclaimer that, as someone who has experienced all three of those, it’s not fun to watch at 9AM in the lecture complex. Not that the time makes a difference.
It’s not just me, either. It’s an issue that affects so many people. And it’s hardly much to ask. An advance warning a sentence long. 30 seconds out of your day can make a difference in the wellbeing of your students.
Next on the agenda is social media. Specifically, Twitter and Reddit. Whether it’s a random dick pic that pops up on your feed when you’re scrolling the feed on campus or a lengthy & graphic thread about your mutual friend’s eating disorder. Never fun. Some people might think that I’m being a pedantic snowflake, but it’s just considerateness. More respect towards your friends and followers. There’s always more room for love in the world, after all.
Video streaming sites? I’m looking at you, Netflix. A vivid example is when I started watching a popular sitcom series that unexpectedly & randomly opened with an extended scene of an LGBTQ+ person getting cornered, ambushed and brutally assaulted by a large group of people in a public restroom. An event that, for anyone who has experienced abuse for expressing themselves, is likely to be ‘triggering’.
Since being triggered became the new word of choice for young people having ‘banter’, I have grown to dislike the term, but it could do with re-reclaiming. Maybe one day banter can be something that happens without the need for degradation and bullying to exist beside it. Wouldn’t that be nice?
So yeah. No matter what the far-right tell you, you should not be expected by anyone to sit through graphic content without your consent and plenty of advance warning. It’s just common decency.