Onceuponatime,“triggerwarning”wasanInternetshorthandfor“Hey,lookout,inwhatfollowsonthiswebsite,wearegoingtotalkaboutrapeorchildsexualabuseorsomethingreallyintense,andifyou’renotintherightemotionalplaceforthat,maybegoawayandcomeback。

”Thiswasausefulkindofthing!

Ifsometimesappliedalittlebroadly,butyouknow:fairwarningisfair?

warning。

Acoupleofyearsagonow,abigdust-upwentdown。

Oh,thoseweregoodtimes:“ThedebateoverthefeministblogstaplebeganwithsexwriterSusannahBreslin,whothinkstriggerwarningsarecondescendingatbest,andadisingenuousploytokeepfeministblogsrelevantatworst。

ThetopicthenmigratedtoFeministing,whichemploystriggerwarningsforthesimplereasonthatit‘care[s]aboutrapevictims。

’FeministingdeclaredBreslina‘certifiableasshole,’atwhichpointthedebatemovedontoJezebel,whichdoesn’temploytriggerwarnings,alsocaresaboutrapevictims,andthinksBreslinisanasshole,too。

”Hooboy!

(Thecommentsonthatpostareactuallyreallygreatandthoughtful。

)

Andnowherewearein2012,wherethisusefulthinghasspreadalitttttlefar?

afield。

TheotherdayawomanaskedaquestionofagroupofInternetstrangers(goodideaorno?

Signspointtono!

)abouthowshewasdisappointedabouthermarriageproposalwhichwasn’tallromanticenoughforher,andsomepeoplewerelike“Girl,getoverit”basically,andthensomeotherpeoplethoughttheseInternetstrangersweretooharshwithher,“thuseffectivelyshaming”her。

Andtheyalsointroducedthephrase“triggering。

”Thisisasignofhowfarafield“triggerwarnings”havegone:it’sinsulting,infantilizingandcomesfromsomepartoftheInternetthatonlyexistsinpartsofCalifornia,I’mpretty?

sure。

Here’sthepushbacktothatpointof?

view:

Triggersareaprettyspecificpsychologicalphenomenon。

Theyarenotthesameasbeingremindedofthingsonedoesnotlike。

Whenthetermbecomestoogeneralitstiflesregularconversationbecausethephrasecarrieswithit,incommonusage,theideathatweshouldrespecttheseverepsychologicalresponsestootherwiseordinaryexchanges,andshouldmodifyourbehavioraccordingly。

Inthecaseofasevereresponse,thisseemsjustified。

Inlessercasesitseemslikeawordusedtomakepeoplestoptalkingaboutsomethingyoudon’twantthemtotalk?

about。

And:

I’mkindaconcernedthatthephrasingof“triggered,”arelativelynewly-recognizedphenomenon,isjumpingpastitsintendedusage。

“Triggered”isbecomingthenew“codependent,”inthatit’sawordthat’sgettingoverusedandusedtomeansomethingotherthantheoriginalmeaning,andthereforestartstomean?

nothing。

Thereisliterallynowaythatwe,aspeopleontheInternet,canextendourempathy-watchtorandom,thoroughlygeneral,non-abuse-relatedissues。

Ithinkalotofuscanandshouldkeep“don’tbeanasshole!

”inmindmaybe?

ButtheInternetatlargeisnotasafespacefordifferentpeoplelikeyouandme(thoughtheInternetinspecificcanbeasafespace,whichisgreat!

)。

TheInternetisinfactabigweirdplace?

—?

nottomansplain,becauseyou’veprobablynoticedthatyourself。

Alsoit’snotaparticularlygreatplacetobethisweekifyoudon’twanttoseepeoplewho’vehadtheirfaceshalfeaten-offthisweek,forone?

thing!

Inbetternews,techhascomeadecentwayinlettingpeopletakecareofthemselvesonline,insteadofbeingcaredforbyrandompeople。

Forinstance:TumblrSaviorisanextensionthatletspeopleblockanyparticulartags;TumblrSafeDashisanextensionthatletspeoplechoosewhatphotostheywanttoview。

Asforthenon-TumblrInternet,you’reprettymuchonyour?

own。

Asmallupdate:Thisisn’tmeanttofurtherescalatewhat’salreadyaprettyintenseargumentoveronMetafilter。

It’sjustaninterestingmomentontheInternet,andusageoflanguage。

Pleasedon’tfeeltheneedtogojoinanypile-ons,orusethisfor?