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Trigger Warnings Part II | Manolo for the Big Girl

Trigger Warnings Part II

So I’ve thought about it and here’s what I’ve decided about trigger warnings:

Anything heavily involving eating disorders or fat-shaming is going to get a little heads up in either the headline or the first sentence.

It’s relatively little skin off my well-exfoliated nose and I think it’s fair and reasonable to presume a sizable minority here is more than usually sensitive to that sort of stuff.

I’m not going to put up any sort of Snowflake Alert because that smacks of cheap sensationalism, and we all know I like my sensationalism to be as expensive as possible.

For everything else, there’s the little X in your upper right hand corner.

There are thousands and thousands of you.

I am but one woman and I’ve got the attention span of one of those sad little PCP monkeys we all saw in middle school the week we learned about pubic hair and drugs from a grown man in tube socks who would one day teach us to parallel park.

The odds of me being able to complete a coherent thought, much less catalog and cross-reference readers’ sensitivities aren’t high even in the best of cases.

Which isn’t to say I’m not sensitive to my readers who are still wading through the sticky parts of Getting On With It.

I left the nineties with a case of bad highlights and even worse PTSD.

My grandmother –who only threatened to murder me once in the entire 31 years she knew me which is a pretty good record– could be standing right next to me, make a sudden move and I’d be clinging to the ceiling like a terrified cartoon cat. The sound of garage door openers and almost any mention of teeth can virtually guarantee nightmares for up to a week. So, you know, I’ve been there.

That being said, this is a humor/lifestyle blog, not a social justice or recovery blog. Even if you do need your hand held on the internet, I’m not the one to do it. You wouldn’t let the girl who does your lowlights also remove your appendix, and I don’t even do hair.

So there you have it.

 Agree or disagree? Put it (respectfully) in the comments.

 

 

25 Responses to “Trigger Warnings Part II”

  1. wildflower June 7, 2012 at 3:14 pm #

    That is eminently reasonable!

  2. Geri June 7, 2012 at 3:20 pm #

    AGREED! BTW, I love your writing!

  3. abby June 7, 2012 at 3:21 pm #

    i really appreciate this decision. my only issue is that i wish you wouldn’t call it a “snowflake alert.”

  4. Miss Plumcake June 7, 2012 at 3:26 pm #

    @Abby: well, you can’t have it all

  5. abby June 7, 2012 at 3:27 pm #

    clearly.

  6. Miss Plumcake June 7, 2012 at 3:48 pm #

    As always, anyone who has a problem with the blog is invited and encouraged to explore any of the millions of sites, blogs and forums where I’m not the editor. It’s a big invisible world out there and I’m pretty sure the Manolo Strikeforce hasn’t managed to sneak into people’s houses and force them to the site under gunpoint. Yet.

  7. maryann June 7, 2012 at 3:55 pm #

    Sounds reasonable to me.

  8. Thea June 7, 2012 at 3:58 pm #

    seems like a thoughtful and practical solution to me.

  9. ChloeMireille June 7, 2012 at 4:02 pm #

    This is pretty much what I’d thought you go with, and I’m fine with it.

  10. Leah June 7, 2012 at 4:11 pm #

    Applause, Gin and Tonics to you, Miss Plumcake!

    mmm…. gin and tonics….

  11. Jo June 7, 2012 at 4:48 pm #

    Is it logical that such a balanced, sensible and kind solution (as m’colleagues have expressed so well above) should come from someone with the self-confessed attention span of an…ooo, shiny things…

    ;)

  12. Terra June 7, 2012 at 4:57 pm #

    OHHHHHHH I get it! “Trigger” warnings!!!! Lol! This article is clearly not about horses, but I am totally in love with it anyway! I strive to be as clever and sassy as you!

  13. lucy June 7, 2012 at 5:16 pm #

    Uh, wow. I guess I’ll be moving along- I really don’t appreciate the tone of this and the last post, nor the terminology you use to refer to people who are triggered in ways that you don’t approve of. Of course it’s your blog, and you’re not required to cater to anyone- however, I feel extremely unwelcome, and won’t be reading anymore.

  14. cadpig June 7, 2012 at 5:27 pm #

    I think it’s caving but whatevs… as long as it doesn’t interfere with the quality writing it’s your blog and you can do whatever you damn well like.

    I will be continuing to read and hoping for some seriously over the top writing to make up for this commentroversy debacle.

  15. Lorraine June 7, 2012 at 5:45 pm #

    Agree!

  16. Lora June 7, 2012 at 5:46 pm #

    Thank you for thinking this through and the route you’ve decided to take. Your writing is already thoughtful and that should certainly be enough for the kind of blog it is.

  17. dillene June 7, 2012 at 8:30 pm #

    Brava. As you say, this isn’t a social justice blog so I’m sure the need will be minimal. But it’s good of you to care.

  18. Aimiliona June 7, 2012 at 9:49 pm #

    I read “bad highlights and even worse PTSD” as “bad highlights and even worse PSDS”. “PSDS” is RowDylin (that little place between CO and MA) for “pierced ears”.

  19. Bethany June 7, 2012 at 10:21 pm #

    Trigger warnings for topics that are known to be sensitive subjects for many people is a good idea. Calling them Snowflake Alerts is probably not such a good idea.

  20. Orora June 7, 2012 at 11:10 pm #

    An excellent solution and one that is sensitive and practical. Trigger warnings can be helpful when you know that a good deal of your readers may be dealing with a certain issue. But you can’t warn everyone of everything. That’s just not how the world works.

    Part of recovery from *any* mental disorder or trauma is figuring out what triggers you and what to do if/when it happens. Life will slap you (hard) in the face, often when you’re not expecting it or when it’s not particularly convenient. For example, the day you wear a babydoll top to work, your new co-worker asks when the baby is due. You are not pregnant, but you do have an ED. That interaction didn’t come with a trigger warning. Now you’ve got all these feelings and you don’t know what to do with them and you can’t process them as you’d like because you’re at work. So how do you handle it? This is some of the hardest, and most necessary, work you can do in recovery.

  21. Desideria June 8, 2012 at 4:20 am #

    I applaud the unique voice and persona you have crafted in this blog, Miss Plumcake. When I want simple, standard, sturdy communication without savvy fashion advice, witty cultural allusions, clever literary flourishes, or biting social commentary, I talk to my domestic partner – Mr. Whitebread.

  22. ChaChaHeels June 8, 2012 at 7:55 am #

    I don’t think this is “caving”. Maybe it is, but what is so wrong with “caving” to a request for some compassion? Nothing, in my opinion. It’s a decision that can only make you better than you already are.

    Miss Plumcake, your writing is really entertaining and witty, and everyone knows you’re bright and biting. But you can’t write or edit a blog like this without knowing that a large percentage of your readers will be involved in the life and death struggle of overcoming eating disorders. This isn’t about giving offense–you’re in the business of writing your opinions and sharing what you know, and like Oscar Wilde, a proportion of what you write is going to give offense to somebody because that is the point! But it’s not the point in this case. The readers who’ve asked for trigger warnings do need what you offer in terms of laughter and knowledge and just plain old support, but they are also required to limit their exposure to things that will alter their behaviour.

    We are talking about an illness here, and people can’t always control their reactions to the world around them when they are not in complete, robust, optimum health. It’s not a matter of “sacking up” and “putting on one’s big girl pants”. There is pathology involved: the disease is no less serious because of its psychological basis–I’d say that makes it even more serious and difficult to overcome.

    In any case, this is your readership here–no one is asking that you censor yourself, or stop writing about triggering topics outright. The request is just for some kind of heads-up, which is just a request for a little help. Yes, people may have been rude in the way they asked for this from you, but whatever their tone was, I can guarantee you it was not personal. It costs you nothing, it makes no restrictions on your abilities and talents or range of self-expression. And it does not diminish you to honour the request because all you’re being asked to do is see things from someone else’ point of view for a second, and only in that very limited regard. That way, they’ll be free to continue to enjoy your work here and free to turn away if they know something written here might set them off. They’ll come back when the coast is clear. Isn’t that better than having them turn away forever, out of necessity?

  23. tartandtreacly June 9, 2012 at 6:26 pm #

    Well, the way I see it:

    Do you service your writing by refusing to compromise the integrity of your articles with trigger warnings?

    Imagine if copies of Salome came stamped with a Surgeon General’s “WARNING: mentions of sexual harassment, necrophilia” or The Picture of Dorian Gray with “WARNING: could be triggering to persons with Body Dysmorphic Disorder” on the endcovers.

    Or do you service your readers by treating their trauma with respect and sensitivity?

    I didn’t peg Plumcake as the “O I have suffered with those that I saw suffer!” type, so frankly I was surprise by her decision, but I think it’s a good one. There is a shortage of kindness in this world, and surely kindness is worth more than a little occasional silliness when it comes to trigger warnings.

  24. S June 11, 2012 at 11:09 am #

    All this trigger stuff is such a tempest in a teapot. It’s one more example of how the internet has been around so long that it starts eating itself and the normal Regular Person behavior is waning in favor of making a big deal out of things that aren’t a big deal.

    Nobody owns anxiety, nobody gets to say how people with PTSD should or shouldn’t be treated, these things are always unique to the person experiencing them, and the blogs are just as unique and frankly, if you’re not at a point in your recovery where you can handle the inherent nature of reading a stranger’s opinion online, you probably shouldn’t be on the internet at all.

  25. Jezebella June 12, 2012 at 12:49 am #

    Getting triggered online may seem like a tempest in a teapot to YOU, S, but clearly it’s tough stuff for a lot of people. I think the solution is respectful and sufficient. I fail to see how your experience, or tartandtreacly’s experience of this blog could be negatively affected by a brief content warning at the beginning of the post. Just because you are lucky enough to have never been triggered by the internet, don’t judge people who have. It is unfair and unkind and, frankly, *unreasonable* to suggest that the millions – MILLIONS – of women who have suffered EDs, gender-based or fat-based harassment, or sexual violence should just not be on the internet at all. That’s like saying fat people shouldn’t go outside if we don’t like being discriminated against. No, we live in the world. As do people who suffer PTSD. A little compassion – and a little warning – can go a long way to make a corner of the internet feel safe to someone who is still recovering.