Saturday, May 24, 2014

Trigger warnings: bad for feminism, bad for intellectual culture

I am not a fan of trigger warnings, and in my latest Baffler piece, I explain why. I make two basic points. One is that trigger warnings are anti-intellectual and but the latest manifestation of the pernicious trend of the corporatization of the university and its attendant student-as-customer model. The other is that trigger warnings reinforce the worst Victorian-era stereotypes of women—that we’re fragile flowers who can’t deal with the world’s harsh truths and need to be protected from them. Trigger warnings are actually counter-indicated for survivors of trauma -- research I cite suggests that confronting triggers, not avoiding them, is the best way to avoid PTSD.

Trigger warnings are seemingly innocuous but the little buggers are actually quite insidious in the habits of mind they instill, and their use should be firmly resisted.


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