Discussions

Trigger Warnings: Why they are important and necessary

Hello everyone! I have not been very active and I apologise for that but university has been keeping me busy. Today I want to talk about something which I feel strongly about and which I feel is a necessity: Trigger Warnings in books. Nowadays, a lot of discussions have come up talking about how important trigger warnings are and if they should be mentioned in a book. The amount of arguments against this are many. But personally I feel it is important to mention them.

Trigger warnings are warnings for the content in the books which might disturb or affect the reader. These warnings are usually given in the start of the book to give the readers a warning about certain parts or scenes which could trigger them. It is very important to have them because as readers it’s good to know if the book we are reading might affect us in any way.

Mental Health is very important and by assuming trigger warnings are not important we are also assuming how something might affect a person. The arguments I hear against it baffle me so I am going to try and list some of them down and talk about why I feel they are an important part of the reading experience.

It is said that Trigger Warnings are spoilers

Well, I do not think they are. They just mention things in the book which might affect the reader in some way. If you think that by mentioning that there is a triggering scene in a book will be any kind of spoiler, it will definitely not. Arguments have been made that by mentioning them it would “ruin the surprise element”. I think I can safely say that having trigger warnings and preparing the readers for something which might personally affect them will not in any way ruin the surprise. If anything, it will make us appreciate the book for considering our feelings.

It is said that Trigger Warnings prepare you for life because life does not come with warnings so books shouldn’t either

Okay first of all, what ? The fact that life does not come with trigger warnings and we have to suffer and learn from it is the reason that we would like to be prepared and NOT go through the same feelings while reading a book. I find it absurd that people think that preparing us for life means playing around with our mental health. Reading without trigger warnings does not help in toughening us but might actually be harmful for a lot of people.

There are people for whom reading certain things can be traumatic and by saying stuff like this you are actually invalidating it for them. One can sound insensitive and rude. Not everyone can agree to the same things and if you cannot keep an open mind about it, it’s best to not try to erase their opinions and experiences.

Experiences are subjective and what might not affect you, might be harmful for someone else. By including trigger warnings, you are being respectful to all the readers and sending a sign that you care. Even if they might be spoilers( which I do not think is the case) its always better to warn the reader than them suffering.

As a reader, it is always better to go in knowing what awaits than that triggering part be sprung upon us and affect us in any way. Understanding that not everyone has the same experiences, emotions and temperaments as you, will not only make your platform a safe place but will also build trust with your readers. 

One great example of this is The Black Veins by Ashia Monet which recently released, The author mentioned trigger warnings at the start of the book along with the chapters they will be there in which made the reader aware and it will be helpful to all the readers. A lot of authors nowadays do mention them either in the book or summary or author’s note. It is of utmost importance that we as bloggers do it to help each other as well as the readers.

To summarise, trigger warnings are very important for a reader and mentioning them is the most suitable way to help the readers and respect their mental health and experiences. Eliminating trigger warnings because You do not feel they are important is a wrong way to approach it and can be harmful for a lot of people. These are my opinions and I feel it is important to be said. Be respectful and Be kind.

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  • What are your thoughts on this ?

  • How important do you think trigger warnings are ?

  • Do you have any special things to add to this ?

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16 thoughts on “Trigger Warnings: Why they are important and necessary

  1. I personally don’t find that I’m triggered by anything so I tend to skip all the sections that might say them because I like the surprise and how it feels to have it hit me unexpectedly. So I can’t say if any of the books I read mention them. But it’s something I try to mention in my reviews if I think there’s something that might trigger someone so they can be prepared if they choose to read the book.

    I can’t say I’ve thought of putting them at the start of my review since I tend to keep things broad when I talk about them. The one thing that I really wasn’t happy with I included links to a couple of countries (based on where my audience is from) support systems so people could get help easily if they felt they needed it. To me that felt like the right thing to do considering how severe that trigger could be for people.

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  2. OMG Krisha thank you! *holds post up for all to see*

    I was personally super impressed when I saw the trigger warnings in the The Black Veins by the author (I think I saw it on your blog only) and I specifically remember thinking how thoughtful it was.

    I don’t get it, if someone thinks it’s spoilery, they can just skip it. It most often starts with the phrase “trigger warning”. If you see it and don’t want to read it, skip it. It shouldn’t mean others who need it, shouldn’t have it.

    I’m glad you’ve spoken about this topic. I don’t believe we’re been “coddled” or other such terms. I believe we’re being respected. It *matters*. Thank you authors. It means a lot
    Lovely post Krisha!

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  3. In one hand, I understand why trigger warnings are needed, for the importance of the reader’s experiences. It’s like TV when they do those Viewer Discretion is Advised notes at the beginning of a heavy episode. On another hand, certain trigger warnings make me not want to read a book even more BECAUSE of those warnings. It’s like I’m scared of the book instead of the story itself, if that makes sense. But I’d rather them scare me and exist than not exist at all.

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    1. I can understand that point but as you said it’s up to the person if they want to consider them or not. But to be respectful to those who do need them, it’s always best to include them 😊

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  4. This is a great article! I have always wondered why books don’t have some kind of rating system like movies do and say why they are rated that way. If you think a trigger warning is a spoiler then you probably don’t have any triggers to worry about and you can just skip over that part, therefore, helping others and not spoiling it for you. I don’t see what’s so hard about that.

    This is a very interesting article and I have been wondering about posting trigger warnings in my articles and will try to start doing that. Thanks!

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    1. I am glad to hear your thoughts! That’s a valid point and that’s the reason it couldn’t really be a spoiler. You can just skip or ignore it. But it’s always better to include them for anyone who do need them.
      Thank you 💛

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  5. I hate when people go off on the whole spoilers thing and the whole life doesn’t have warnings. Can people please have enjoyment with a warning instead of it upheaving their whole life?

    I just don’t understand why people feel the need to complain about them. If you think you can’t pinpoint the right triggers, okay, don’t do it. Just don’t convince other people to don’t do it. So yes I think trigger warnings are so important. I started adding them to my reviews last year and I am not going back.

    I recall three places I’ve seen trigger warnings explecitly at the start of books. In Shadowsong by S. Jae-Jones, Warp Gate Concerto by Dorian Graves and I think the poetry books by Amanda Lovelace. I am always pleased to see this.

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    1. Yes exactly! People’s arguments don’t even make sense most of the time and that’s what makes it more absurd. I hope more and more people are made aware of this and include them in their posts so that it can help everyone.
      It’s always great to see when books specifically include them 😊

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Dang it, I hit post before I was ready. ANYWAY, I was saying that I am pretty bad about including them but I do try to remember, and if I remember later I always go back and add it in. I plan on actually going through and adding them to anything relevant and have them all updated by the end of summer on my reviews

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      1. Yes it’s a good practice to have! It helps everyone who needs it and it’s best to include them rather than assuming. I have tried and done that to all my previous reviews as well !

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