Vera S. (verasteine) wrote,
Vera S.

It's time to talk about trigger warnings again, apparently.

Though, seriously? Rhiannon Lucy Coslett wrote a piece for the New Statesman on the subject, because she felt trigger warnings held her back recovering from PTSD, and therefore, no one should get trigger warnings. Well, except may be a few spaces for survivors (but don't call them victims, because that smacks of "victimhood"), but she isn't clear on that.

In fact, the whole piece reads like the inescapable conclusion that Ms. Coslett rejects the victim narrative and because that worked for her, everyone else should do the same and just suck it up and confront themselves with their trauma. Too bad if they're triggered. Though trigger warnings might work for some.

Like a lot of columns I've seen lately, it doesn't actually go anywhere except describe the author's personal experience with (or personal opinion on) something, and attach a broader, wider conclusion to that that entirely misses the point that humans are not all the same.

Ms. Coslett is perfectly entitled to state that she felt that trigger warnings were coddling. That's her right, her experience, and I wouldn't deny her that. But trigger warnings aren't the default, and she acts (writes) like they are. She suggests, also a thing I've seen frequently, that free expression is being stifled by people asking for consideration (and lumps privilege checking in with this in a frankly bizarre faux-liberal confusion as to what these wildly diverging concepts actually are) as if free expression is in any way endangered by someone asking for a warning.

It's not an enforceable request. But more importantly and critical to this discussion, "free expression" as a concept, and "censorship" as its associated counterpart, are not at all at play here. Ms. Coslett is free to express her opinion, is in fact paid to do so by a private company, and can post on her twitter account with the freedom granted to her, enshrined in law. I fail to see how this is stifling. Apparently she receives criticism on twitter. Such is the way of life. Increasingly, professional writers who are in the luxury position of being paid to spout their opinions are crying censorship when those opinions are met with criticism and disdain. That's not how censorship works. It's not how free expression works. And I can't believe that these supposedly well educated left wing voices (for yes, they are all "feminists" and "liberals", though I daren't give them that credit any more when they throw me under the bus in their exercise of free speech) don't understand this concept.

I suspect, increasingly, a drive for page views and an absolute disdain for the damage done by adding these narratives to a debate that is played out in and influenced by the paid media. Trigger warnings aren't even mainstream, they're not an issue in public life as much as they should be. And I should disclose the fact that I have mild triggers and that I therefore gratefully make use of trigger warnings when provided, usually only in feminist spaces.

Ms. Coslett doesn't get to police why I need them, or if I should need them, or how I choose to recover. She doesn't get to choose whether I call myself a victim or a survivor, or both. She only gets to choose those things for herself, and while I recognise her right to say so, I question whether she should draw larger conclusions from her narrow pool of experiences. That criticism doesn't stop her being paid, it doesn't stop her from using Twitter to voice these conclusions, and trigger warnings on my blog don't infringe her ability to read it.

So I'm still not entirely sure what her point is, except to say that she didn't need them, and make wildly inaccurate assertions next. I object on the grounds that those inaccurate assertions have the ability to hurt me, down the line, and Ms. Coslett should think about that, if she wants to call herself a feminist and have the interest of women at heart.
Tags: contro-ver-sy, feminism: women are ppl too, frustration is for the frustrated, me and my opinions, mroaw! vera can bitch with the best, thoughts

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