Elizabeth (Lizzie) Leach
Professor Suzanne Hess
21 March 2019
Beware: Trigger Warnings Are A Scam.
“WARNING!!!, The content in this essay may not be suitable for all ages. Viewer discretion is advised.” Trigger warnings are statements that alert readers or viewers that the content to be shown may contain distressing material. Even though not having trigger warnings could show insensitivity to those who have been through trauma, they are indeed a way to shelter people from reality. I have chosen this topic because I have had personal experience with trauma. Yet, I have learned how to cope and deal with what happened. I am also able to participate in discussions involving those topics and can openly talk about what happened.
Trigger warnings should not be instituted because it could potentially hinder education since there are so many topics that could be a trigger. Adam Wolfsdorf believes that in any classroom setting, controversy equals opportunity. Students should be opening their mind to different ideas as well as looking past their own beliefs. By doing so, they would be expanding their education without realizing it (Wolfsdorf par 1). When it comes to education as a whole, professors would potentially have to create alternative assignments and students would be hindered from full education experience by not being exposed to real life situations and having free speech minimized. Today, it is disheartening that we censor content just so one person doesn’t become offended. Lauren Wilson expressed “They enable students to shelter themselves from ideas and opinions intended to be educational. They also create an unrealistic idea of how sensitive and accommodating the world and work place will be post-graduation” (Wilson par 3). Wilson also believes the use of trigger warnings will hinder education. In the article she wrote, Wilson talks about a professor she had that showed a documentary in which one of the members committed suicide. Not one of the students in that room felt compelled to leave and not participate in the discussions afterwards (Wilson par 13;14). Guy Boysen, who is a psychology professor, suggest that when choosing to take psychology students know they will come across graphic content, but that simple fact did not keep them from taking the class (Boysen par 1). Let’s be honest for a moment, there are so many topics that one could consider a trigger for someone. So, I guess that means we must put a warning label on everything.
My own personal trauma as well as my experience with sexual assault and being in an abusive relationship is one of the biggest reasons I feel very strong about not having trigger warnings. I did have to go through therapy and counseling sessions to finally be able to talk about what happened without having a mental breakdown and shutting everyone out. I also have a mental illness, bi-polar disorder (type 1), which according to Keri Martinowich “is a devasting illness that is characterized...