Let´s Talk Trigger Warnings ( An Answer To The Tattooed Book Geek )

A post about a blog post I recently read from the awesome Drew @The Tattooed Book Geek and am too ashamed to leave a lengthy comment ( as I´m positive I´ll either blow up his comment section, his WordPress account or WordPress in general ).

Earlier today I spotted Drew´s post, Let´s Talk Trigger Warnings, published in a Facebook group and just had to drop my drill ( yes, I was drilling… making a greenhouse, y´all ) because I´ve become a new fan of Drew´s and will literally stop whatever I´m doing to read his blog posts.

Whatever you do I would advise you to read Drew´s post ( click here to read ) before continuing with mine as his post is a) much better, b) more diplomatic, and c) worthy enough to shower with chocolates.

While reading his latest update I couldn´t prevent the smile from growing on my face. Trigger warnings for books.

A subject many book lovers LOVE to argue over ( myself included ).

I think it´s hard to write about your opinion on the matter because the risk is just too high. You risk losing followers. You risk your reputation. You even risk friendships. But on the flip side – You might also gain new followers, your reputation might glow and you might make new / more friends if you state your opinion on controversial subjects. Either way- there´s no telling what´ll happen. Guess it´s only fair to try and see where your opinion will take you, right?

Where were we? Aah, yes, Drew´s trigger warning post. Right.

Before I start agreeing or disagreeing with Drew I think it would be wise to know where I stand on the matter.

Trigger warnings / warning labels do nothing for me. I´ll aknowledge them but they don´t sway my interest or reading choices. Trigger warnings of all sorts don´t influence my book purchase what so ever because I don´t care for them. In that fragile moment before buying a book I read the synopsis and already have a rough idea on what the story is about and piece the rest together. I don´t need to know more. Should a subject I don´t necessarily like pop up then that´s just the way it is. I have no one to blame. Not me, not the author, not the publishers or even the book itself.

Now, let´s cover up Drew´s points on trigger warnings.

On a Twitter post of his he asked if people included trigger warnings in their reviews.

I wish I had seen that Twitter post ( I didn´t because I suck at Twitter ) because I would have voted with “No”, I don´t include trigger warnings in my reviews and as Drew, I won´t start including them, either. I will give a vague description on what the book entails in my review ( e.g. It´s a dark romance with steamy scenes ) but I will not go out of my way and include a warning label for my reviews. Pick out what you like out of my review and decide for yourself. While many of the world´s population feels triggered… many also don´t. And everyone has the option to follow or unfollow me, depending on what my content did for the readers.  I won´t waste my time apologizing to sensitive / or triggered people for expressing my thoughts. Call me rude, crude, insensitive, mean… I refuse to walk on egg shells for the sake of likes or out of fear of not wanting to make someone suffer more ( the reason for that is below ).

Here´s the thing- I can´t tell the difference between someone who truly has a mental illness or suffers from PTSD and who just claims to suffer from it because they can´t tell the difference between a a dislike and an illness. I can´t smell through my laptop screen who´s just being sensitive or who´s truly struggling. Not everyone reveals their life story online and I don´t expect them to, either. I have no problem with the trigger topics Drew listed and I run my blog with what feels comfortable for me. I will voice my likes and dislikes ( e.g. I hate when religion is included in romance novels /I love second chance romances ) but I will not shy away from “trigger” topics. This is just me. I can´t speak for others. I think the main problem with this IS because it´s hard to tell the difference between just being sensitive and really suffering. My heart goes out to those who truly suffer but I have no sympathy for overly sensitive people who just don´t like a topic.

Authors these days include trigger warnings for a few reasons:

  • They want to prevent angry and potentially harmful reviews for their books. This can damage sales as many “civilians” ( non book bloggers ) just look at the star ratings and hardly ever read the review behind the rating
  • Because they can´t know who´ll be triggered by what and to what level they´ll be triggered. This is something authors need to realize that they can never win at. Whatever they include there will always be the 1 asshole demanding a refund or bashing a book for the tiniest issue THEY had.

 

And there are authors nowadays who include so many trigger warnings that it can almost be seen as a major spoiler.

“This book contains age gaps, adultery, alcoholism, sexual assault. Extreme graphic scenes.”

A field trip for me, as I´m a reader who actually wants these topics to be woven in to a story. Imagine my disappointment when I read about the age gap of 10 years ( 26 and 36 is not the end of my world ), the adultery turned out to be a simple peck on the cheek ( again, not cheating for me ), the alcoholism was a case of the Hero having a weekend drinking spree ( you are not immediately an alcoholic if you drink alcohol over the weekend ) and the sexual assault was the Hero farting the wrong way ( in my opinion ). And what about the extreme graphic scenes? Well, folding laundry can be graphic, too.

In short: The book was about a couple who lived and loved until he cheated, then he partied, tried to get back with the Heroine, was successful and they had steamy sex and remarried. The nutshell synopsis / trigger warning.

My point is- authors are often too careful for no greater reason. They want to play it safe because they don´t know who will be triggered when and for what reason. This is not the author´s fault. The problem is with the readers. Authors know this. Readers don´t. They refuse to see the difference between what Drew mentioned as Reality vs. Fiction.

To Drew´s question:

Bloggers come in all shapes and sizes, all ages too and I’ll ask, do you think that age has any influence on the attitude towards trigger warnings? Do you think that older bloggers are less inclined to include trigger warnings in their reviews and have a different attitude towards them than, say, younger bloggers? Or, is the age of the blogger irrelevant?

Yes and no. I think it has a lot to do with age and generation and also a lot to do with one´s personal mindset. I´m an 80´s kid born into the military life. Without wanting to bore you- The first half of my life was anything but easy. Now, I´m 36 and can say that I don´t have the energy to deal with most of the shit younger bloggers deal with- ergo: the reason why I can´t relate to most younger book bloggers. Sometimes I sit here and read reviews and think “Please, find Jesus.” just because I can´t understand WHY certain topics ( usually the topics I consider to be peanuts ) bother them so much. But then on the other hand, I´ve met young book bloggers who are genuinely level headed, who publish really great reviews and give excellent explanations on their feelings and thoughts in a mature way. So, I definitely have a more of a “kiss my ass” attitude and that, in my opinion, has to do with a combination of the above. Lol

Trigger warnings genre specified? Pfft. Part of me wants to yell “YUPP! OVER HERE IN THE ROMANCE DEPARTMENT BIG TIME TRIGGER SALE. GET ALL FOR THE PRICE OF 1!”

Does anyone remember the case back in 1992 ( if you don´t remember then keep reading. I was 10 back then and still remember it as if it happened yesterday. My dad bitched so much about this )?

An older lady sued McDonalds because she spilled hot coffee on her lap. For me, that was an epic moment because even then I asked myself if the lady was unaware of the fact that coffee is hot. Coffee = Hot. Even older people know this. Which brings me to my point:

Readers of certain genres KNOW what type of book they´re getting themselves in to. They should NOT act surprised when something genre related pops up in the story.

YA – You´ll more or less be confronted with young adult problems. Stuff you wished you could still consider as a problem. Angst, love, drama…

Erotica – I really hate to break this to y´all… but there´s a 100% chance of sex being included in erotica novels. Lots of it. 3 scenes per chapter if you´re lucky. Don´t expect to find a greater purpose in eroticas. Very few have sex AND an actual story.

Romance – This is where all the fun can take place. Be prepared- you might be confronted with at least 2 trigger topics you react to.

Fantasy – This is where the gate is kept wide open because anything is possible for fantasy novels.

Horror – Boo!

Thrillers – Well, let´s see…. blood, death, suspense,…

A reader has a rough idea what they´re getting in to when picking a genre. Should a reader need more details then a visit to Goodreads has been claimed to be helpful.

I don´t think there are more trigger warnings for certain or specific genres. My wild guess is that all suffer from the same issue.

Now, to answer Drew´s final questions:

My thoughts on trigger warnings are: If you feel you need to include them then go ahead. Just ask yourself WHY and for WHO you are including the warnings. If you don´t feel the need to include them- even better. Do I think reviews need trigger warnings? Absolutely not. Entertainment needs no warning. Are trigger warnings important? HA! In some cases, yes. Other cases, no.

Here´s a small ( and sadly true ) example of  books that have a certain trigger warning but don´t need them.

LGBT, LGBT+…

I once had a heated discussion with a book blogger on her distaste for gays in romance novels. Look, this is not an issue of liking a topic or not. This is a matter of humanity. She wanted a warning beforehand to not be confronted with what she believed is a mentally unstable person.

Although we live in 2019 there are still youngsters who believe the LGBT community should be locked up and treated…. preferably with a cross and a priest. To demand a warning label for a book that has a sub character who´s gay just shows what type of person you are. You don´t have to like LGBT romance novels but you don´t have to voice your small minded and hateful opinion in your review and demand a trigger warning.

I would rather not read romance novels that have children included. And now that we know this, what are we going to do about it? What can I or you buy with this information? Nothing. The reason for my dislike is simple: I have kids. When I read I want to mentally escape motherhood for a few hours. This does not mean I´m triggered. It also doesn´t mean I´m giving a book with kids a lesser rating. And PLEASE- Do not think I don´t love my kids because of this. I´d just prefer to read a romance novel without kids involved. Nothing more. Nothing less.

 

Dear Drew,

I thank you loads for the awesome blog post you´ve written. I applaud you for being diplomatic in every way possible and for pointing out what the true issues are.

I agree with 95% of your post and am looking forward to read more!

PS: See why I couldn´t comment on your blog post? Lol

Keep it up.

Banner name

 

16 thoughts on “Let´s Talk Trigger Warnings ( An Answer To The Tattooed Book Geek )

  1. I get why trigger warnings are a thing. But I don’t include them in my reviews. Idk. It’s like you said, most of the time you get the gist of the “problematic” stuff in the book description. It’s right there. It’s helpful for some people to have them. But some people just overdo it with all the trigger warnings. They’re like a whole list-long and include some of the strangest things. Surprise, surprise, I’m agreeing with my book twin on this haha.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Chici!!!!! Can I wish you a belated birthday or is yours still to come? FOr some reason I remember yours is before mine. Hmm. Let me know. 🙂 Yeah, I would have been surprised if my book twin wouldn´t agree . HAHAHHA. ❤ And, I agree with you. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This was an awesome reply!
    I’m also not a trigger happy trigger including reviewer. I do mention stuff as part of my review but simply cuz that’s how i describe the book.
    I also noticed some people calling things they don’t like triggers. Well, i guess anything can be a trigger to someone. What do i know? 🙈

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Right? You can actually tell when someone misuses the trigger term for something they just didn´t like. Because I have a hard time seeing a 16 year old being “triggered” by adultery. But I can definitely see why a 16 year old wouldn´t like a cheating character. Meeh, we´re probably completely out of the “know” when it comes to the trigger happy fraction. Yes! You include stuff in your reviews because how else would you describe a book. I don´t think you can write a review without mentioning a few things. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ugh, muchacha. I’m sure we’ve had this convo. You know my feelings on this, I’m sure. I grew up reading books before ‘triggered’ was even a damn phrase. I heard Arch say this word today and almost fell of the sofa. I totally agree that an author shouldn’t have to issue trigger warnings, but as you know, I’ve had to do this on Wattpad – while gritting my teeth, punching a wall and cursing to the wind.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know. * hangs head * And it´s a shame that you´ve had to take that extra mile for the sensitive boogers. An author has to save themselves and make sure every inch is covered or else it´s an open invitation for bashings and trolls and what not. But, sadly.. there will always be someone who has an opinion and will stop at nothing to make you feel like it´s your fault for making them feel miserable. As for our kids using the “trigger” term- That´s ridiculous and scary. * sigh *

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Ha, you could have written a lengthy comment on my post, you’d have been safe. The baby spat their dummy out on twitter and not in the comments section of the post.😂

    The post was far better than a comment though, awesome and thanks for the fantastic intro.👍

    Oh, yes, they definitely love to argue over it. Usually viscous and hate-filled arguing too.

    You didn’t miss much with the twitter poll, it was very bland and vanilla. Until someone said no they don’t use trigger warnings as they are spoilers and then someone hijacked it and went on that they are never spoilers. They then tagged in someone who makes fake coffee for book pictures and I’m staying out of that.😂

    Exactly! Those with PTSD, anxiety and genuine triggers, it’s awful, it truly is. It’s one reason that makes it such a tough topic to broach as you want to try and keep it respectful to those who are genuinely affected. Then, you have those, like we have both written that are just overly sensitive cry babies who have hijacked the term for their own means because they don’t like a topic and didn’t enjoy reading the paragraph where it happened.🙄

    Ten year age gap? That’s nothing.🙄 Folding laundry can definitely be graphic!😂

    Ah, the age bit of my post.👍 I totally agree about the mindset of the person and also about relating to many younger bloggers too, I can’t.😂

    That whole age bit came about over the responses I’d received and I noticed that it was mainly older bloggers that either hate trigger warnings, don’t want them and then just deal with the issues in the book and move on or stop reading and younger bloggers that proclaim that you should all include trigger warnings in your posts and that they are important to all and often, not always but often the response started with I’m triggered and they are so important to my well-being.🙄 Obviously not all and older bloggers love warnings too and younger ones hate them too it just seemed to be from the twitter and FB comments that there was a difference in thinking due to age.

    Was she successful in suing them? Not surprised that it happened, probably happened loads since then and if they sued now they’d definitely win.🙄

    I am shocked! I had to walk away from the post, I was triggered by the revelation that erotica includes sex, fantasy, anything, horror, scares and I’m guessing that if a serial killer is involved then their might be killing in a book!😂

    Hang on, you’re telling me that there are some youngsters out there who hate on LGBT? Damn, they always champion it and slander everyone else. Cough, splutter, shocked, that can’t be true, they all love everything and everyone….well they make out they do.😂

    No worries, I am wishing in hindsight that I wasn’t quite so diplomatic now though. Ya know, haters gonna hate and I should have given them something to really hate about.😂

    Great post, I hope you don’t get any hate or grief from it.👍📚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Puuh! * wipes sweat off forehead * For a moment there I thought I had overdone it with the reply. Now that I´ve got your ok then I´ll make sure to give you a Tolstoy reply on your next post. Lol
      This is almost like real life though, right? It takes a tenth of a second to form an impression of a stranger. It takes a few lines ( or even 1 look at their blog style ) to form an impression of a book blogger. The moment I read a line that indicates that said blogger is truly “triggered” for the wrong reasons then I will let out a groan for all Europe to hear and move on. But when I read a post from someone who goes in depth and gives the impression that he / she isn´t trying to shout their pain to the world then I will give them my time and I will feel for them as much as their posts will let me. Too bad there are too many pampered boogers out there who ruin it for the true victims. * sigh *

      Aah, okay. See? It never dawned on me to ask myself or others if they believed that this was an age thing. Good thing you did!

      What what what? You don´t want to get involved in the fake coffee insta war? * HOWLING * That is like- THE juiciest bit of reveal gossip there is! Exposing what everyone else already knew. HAHAHA. I think it´s kind of genius because it works. Oooh, I smell a dicussion post for this topic ( writing note for getting into the insta fraud ) That´s nitpicking at it´s finest 🙂 I´m actually excited to write about it.

      Oh yes. I am telling you that these youngsters actually despise anyone involved in the LGBT community. And I´m talking about 20+ year olds. Mind you- these “complaints” have come from either super, overly religious fanatics who don´t know whether to check their ass or scratch their watches ( meaning they´re confused ) or they´re totally conservative ( and have yearly Christmas sex behind iron curtains ). Don´t know what their problem is but it´s not wise to be a THAT big of a big mouth. Even I know when to shut up, you know what I mean? At least they could make such an effort too. ( or am I asking for too much? ) Anyways- that discussion ended with me telling her to fuck off. * sigh *

      I triggered YOU? HAHAHA. My deepest apologies * makes dramatic curtsy then loses balance and falls less elegantly * I will send you the YA version of my genre descriptions via email next week to make up for the emotional breakdown you experienced. HAHAHA. I´ll even add flower stickers if that makes it less triggery?

      HA! Yes, the older lady was, indeed, successful. She sued and won, I believe even 3 million. Just like the lady who sued a microwave company because she wanted to dry her cat / dog ( can´t remember ) in the microwave. The pet died, naturally. If you can´t put silverware in the microwave then what possesses people to put animals in? Probably still with the collar tags on to speed things up! * major eye roll *

      Meeh, you´re right. Haters gonna hate no matter what you do. You can´t please everyone, so you might as well do what feels right for you, amirite?
      I actually thought it was lovely of you to write such a diplomatic post 🙂 Not many can pull that off. Chapeau!

      Grief? None yet. Fingers crossed that it´ll stay that way.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Exactly!

        First impressions and all that.

        The pampered ones as you put it ruin it for the genuine ones. You can tell the difference between them too. The real ones either go in-depth or they don’t and they just mention it. Which sounds contradictory but is true and you just get a feeling that it’s genuine either from the words or from what’s not been write. Whereas the others, often it is the attitude of them, how offended they are by everything and that they aren’t doing it for others and to highlight it for them but doing it simply for themselves, this triggered me, I don’t care about you and they are so standoffish about it.

        That’s the thing, you do feel for the genuine ones. Even me with my black heart does but it’s all the others that cry wolf and make everything about them.🙄

        It’s perhaps just me but as soon as someone tells me, particularly with blogging that I should be doing something my response is to tell them to fuck off.😂

        Yeah, not getting involved. Well, I’m in the FB group, I’m already involved, guilty by association.😂 Blocked by the blogger as she went around blocking everyone.

        It was just laughing and joking about the culture, no bullying of the blogger or their blog, from what I saw. Just joking around and it has blown up.

        What baffles me though, she wrote a post about her photos, all good, no issue, no hate, her blog, her rules and then a blogger saw it and commented asking her if she was serious about faking the coffee! They then wrote a post about pictures and stuff and book love, all valid. But, I mean, fake coffee (I can’t remember her name) is a YA young female blogger. They are viscous when you disagree with or question them yet the other blogger dared ask them about the coffee! I mean, WTF, walk away, don’t comment, let it go, it was always going to end in tears, talons and cat fights.😂

        Fucking hilarious though, I’m sorry, it is. Instagram photos use props, beads, sculls, flowers, dried flowers, leaves, cloth, anything and everything is used as a prop for a photo. Yet, these bloggers thought that people didn’t use fake tea, coffee, etc when they see them used in photo’s?🤔 Obviously they’ve made the drink specifically for use in the photo! I mean, it’s Instagram, the photos are generally more staged than a WWE wrestling match.😂😂😂

        Probably asking too much. When other people are involved you are always asking to much of them.😂

        Damn, that is well extreme. Not surprising but still, they mostly try and champion it. Not something I know about, I stay clear of the community. I’d rather sit in the corner, drink and take the piss out of everyone, all inclusive.😂

        Flowers trigger me, they are girly. I’m a manly man, pink flowers in particular give me anxiety.😂

        YA genre descriptions sounds awesome!🤣

        Shit! 3 million! Sigh!😔🙄 Great. Damn, that’s just wrong and sick! Was she ill? Slow? Or just dumb? Cos, no, who in their right mind would put a pet in the microwave?!

        Diplomatic! I suppose that’s better than respectful which the post was also called. Slapdash too! Can’t win and I used extreme examples to try and make a point too. Sigh. Sadly, I used personal examples to make my point, extreme, maybe, personal, completely and I got shit on for it. Really think that I should have ended the post with a list of my triggers, idiots, etc just to stir the pot.😂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. pink flowers trigger you?! I… well… Hmm… Now I´m triggered that you´re triggered. What are we gonna do now?

          Repsectful? Hmm, I guess you can call your post that as well. It wasn´t the first word that popped in my mind when I read your post. But hey- respectful is better than questionable 🙂 ( trying to be positive here ).

          I think you have to be personal to some degree or else you might as well be writing a newspaper article, you know? I try not to include too much personal stuff from myself because it´s none of anyone´s business to know a full story. But sometimes you have to take that step to get your point across or else you´ll attract the bookish police that specializes in YA. HAHAHAHA.

          BTW- I went on a little expidition to check out all the disturbing “fake coffee” thingy. Hey, there´s a war going on on fake coffee! * HOWLING * And to think there are children suffering from starvation. ( and yes, I hope someone see´s this and feels triggered. LMAO ). This inspired me to spy and snoop and I ended up crying with laughter. How utterly obnoxious.

          You? A black heart? Let me in on your secret because mine´s just filthy, not black yet. Lol.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Ha, if everyone is triggered by some else being triggered then where will it all end??

            Well, it was respectful for me. There’s a difference, I write a lot of shit at times and can be rather blunt so for me, yeah, it was respectful. If it had been from another blogger then no, it would have been rocking the controversy and edgy. As it was, it was my post and it was tame.

            The bookish police are bad enough in general! Add in the blogging police to and the grammar nazi’s and eurgh, the YA police, nope, I stay away from them as best I can and they mostly stay away from me, worked out well for a while at least, always gonna be something that one of them kicks off over though.

            Yeah, I get you about personal stuff. I don’t often include much but I did in that post to make a point. Ya know, I’ve self-harmed, when I read about it it doesn’t trigger me, valid point. If I’d used as an example, I dunno, necrophilia, it hasn’t happened to me, doesn’t trigger me and then all the people would have stated that you can’t use an example of something that hasn’t happened to you because obviously, it wouldn’t trigger you (yes, the irony i that when many are triggered by stuff that hasn’t happened to them). So I just got personal to back up my point that just because something has happened to you it doesn’t mean that you are triggered by it. Gonna leave that shit well alone now and write posts on unicorns, rainbows, cuddle clouds and all things fluffy that the YA brigade like! 🙂

            The fake coffee thing is BS, I will look forward to the post I saw you mention. They call out bullying and then go and threaten people that there are screenshots over the whole affair and that they are showing them around to anyone who wants to see.

            Some are crying off from posting because they are too anxious to post on their blogs for fear of being ridiculed!

            The bullying thing annoyed me, can you tell?! 🙂 I was involved in one of the threads and the only reason the blogger was mentioned by name was. Firstly, yeah there are two reasons. She had been tagged into my trigger warning poll tweet a couple of days before by another blogger and so, I’d seen her name and a couple of others had too. Someone had already mentioned it in the FB thread and then I chimed in that about it too. Nothing more, nothing malicious over it or not, just her name was known and with the number of bloggers it was a complete crazy coincidence that it was her who was fake coffee. Bet she’s glad she didn’t bully anyone on that trigger thread or how the tides would have turned.

            Secondly, she started blocking people, her choice, no shade. But people in the group went to check out her profile and she had blocked them, they commented they had been blocked, others went to check, they’d been blocked too, they commented, nothing cruel or mean in it but it’s turned into WW 3 and it is crazy. I mean, priorities people, priorities! Probably need to start a fund to build a wall to keep the two groups separate! 🙂

            Like

  5. As the mother of a schizoaffective teenager, there are definitely triggers to avoid for him. Before he was diagnosed we walked on eggshells because anything could set off his rage. Luckily, his meds do a wonderful job and I have my loving boy back. There are still things we must avoid to keep the monster (the evil voice in his head is the monster, not my son) at bay, but for the most part he’s good about avoiding those things himself. If my 19yo mentally ill son can police himself then others should be able to also.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for being so open an honest about your son. I´m sorry your son is struggling with his illness and can only hope his medication is working its wonders for his sake, and yours. ( No worries, I gathered as much that your son isn´t “the monster”. All´s good ). It is truly important for someone to recognize potential triggers before any triggering can happen. Hat´s off to your son for avoiding certain situations himself. And I agree with you- If your son is capable then others surely are, as well. It just saddens me when so many practically cry wolf while others are working on their struggles. Thank you for commenting. I really appreciated it. Hope you have a great day.

      Liked by 1 person

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