Aug. 30th, 2012

eumelia: (mystique)
Trigger warnings are not for naught.

We are vulnerable people, we live in a world that is structured around power and that breeds a broad culture of violence, that (more often than not) men perpetuate and (more often than not) women are victimised by.

The culture of violence is something we live and breathe, we cannot avoid it, not really. We can, however, do our best to live gentler, more compassionate lives. We can do our best to empathise with those who have suffered under the tyranny of power disparity. Those of us who have been traumatised by events out of our control, whatever they may be, deserve to be treated with respect and kindness, not with indignation and ever so slightly veiled scorn.

When I read The Illusion of Safety/The Safety of Illusion by Roxane Gay earlier tonight, that's exactly what I felt.

Scorn.

Reading her post, it's clear she's been through a lot in her life, that she knows suffering and trauma.

She writes a long and relatively literary account about why trigger warnings do not work. Moreover, that they are, as the title suggests, an illusion in the face of reality and the way reality is conveyed via the media.

I hope you read the whole thing, but I want to focus on this one paragraph, as it had me bristling:

There is also this: maybe trigger warnings allow people to avoid learning how to deal with triggers, getting help. I say this with the understanding that having access to professional resources for getting help is a privilege. I say this with the understanding that sometimes there is not enough help in the world. That said, there is value in learning, where possible, how to deal with and respond to the triggers that cut you open, the triggers that put you back in terrible places, that remind you of painful history.


Where is the understanding that we are, in fact, different from each other? Okay, so trigger warnings don't suit you, who are you to judge if they are suitable for anyone else! That is what I want to know, because you know something? I need trigger warnings.

Not because I have a painful history that rips me open when I have textual reminders of something traumatising.

Trigger warnings tell me that this person is respectful of the subject. That they know what it is they are writing. It tells me that they understand the ramifications of writing subjects that are to do with the violence in our lives.

The quote above is a very condescending way of saying: "You who need trigger warnings are over sensitive, I don't need them and I've been through shit, so why should you."

Telling her audience that "trigger warnings" and "safe spaces" are illusions, empties out precisely why those concepts are necessary to begin with; they are reprieves from the brutality that is reality.

I do not expect to be accommodated by the culture of violence at large. My triggers are so specific sometimes, that I generally know what I can and can't watch at any given time (because my triggers are visual and aural), but you're side-swiped and it doesn't matter if you thought you were prepared for what was coming, sometimes your brain signals things to your body you know aren't true, but it feels that way any way.

However, when you are an artist and your medium is your message, what you want to convey isn't removed from the culture at large. When we write, when we create, we are part of a greater picture from which we take and return with not quite equal measure.

Feminist art used to be (at times still is) specific challenges to masculine supremacy and a type of in-your-face radical femininity. Now, for me at least, a big part of feminist art is approach to subject, and approach to audience.

Feminism, as a political standpoint, should be rooted in compassion, in the knowledge and awareness that we navigate and negotiate an environment that is hostile. Trigger warnings are a way to navigate through art. Does everyone need them? No. Should they be required? No. Should we begrudge those who use them? No. Should we question why people don't use them? Yes.

Roxane Gay also wrote:
Trigger warnings also, when used in excess, start to feel like censorship. They suggest that there are experiences or perspectives too inappropriate, too explicit, too bare to be voiced publicly. As a writer, I bristle when people say, “This should have had a trigger warning.” I think, “For what?”


I understand the defensive stance. I don't, however, believe there is such a thing as an "excess" use of trigger warnings, considering the discourse that even bothers to even talk about them is fucking tiny.

If you feel censored by the request of trigger warnings, I would suggest you ask yourself why? Do you want to add your voice to the culture of unaccountability when it comes to violence? Ask yourself if the mere thought of thinking of the effect your art has, as opposed to affect makes you rear and cry "censorship" in the face of criticism, what exactly your aim was.

We do not write, create, react, interact in a vacuum.

Those of us who have triggers, who have been traumatised, who walk this world hyper-aware and "over sensitive" don't need to be condescended to about being reminded of our painful history. We carry it with us, always.

It never goes away.

Asking and knowing that others know this, respect this and honour this, is a tiny and temporary reprieve.

Telling me that that reprieve is a childish illusion, is to me a show of extraordinary lack of compassion, a defeatist attitude when it comes to pushing back and being critical of the culture that enabled and enacted our trauma in the first place.

Profile

eumelia: (Default)
Eumelia

June 2015

S M T W T F S
 12345 6
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
282930    

V and Justice

V: Ah, I was forgetting that we are not properly introduced. I do not have a name. You can call me V. Madam Justice...this is V. V... this is Madam Justice. hello, Madam Justice.

Justice: Good evening, V.

V: There. Now we know each other. Actually, I've been a fan of yours for quite some time. Oh, I know what you're thinking...

Justice: The poor boy has a crush on me...an adolescent fatuation.

V: I beg your pardon, Madam. It isn't like that at all. I've long admired you...albeit only from a distance. I used to stare at you from the streets below when I was a child. I'd say to my father, "Who is that lady?" And he'd say "That's Madam Justice." And I'd say "Isn't she pretty."

V: Please don't think it was merely physical. I know you're not that sort of girl. No, I loved you as a person. As an ideal.

Justice: What? V! For shame! You have betrayed me for some harlot, some vain and pouting hussy with painted lips and a knowing smile!

V: I, Madam? I beg to differ! It was your infidelity that drove me to her arms!

V: Ah-ha! That surprised you, didn't it? You thought I didn't know about your little fling. But I do. I know everything! Frankly, I wasn't surprised when I found out. You always did have an eye for a man in uniform.

Justice: Uniform? Why I'm sure I don't know what you're talking about. It was always you, V. You were the only one...

V: Liar! Slut! Whore! Deny that you let him have his way with you, him with his armbands and jackboots!

V: Well? Cat got your tongue? I though as much.

V: Very well. So you stand revealed at last. you are no longer my justice. You are his justice now. You have bedded another.

Justice: Sob! Choke! Wh-who is she, V? What is her name?

V: Her name is Anarchy. And she has taught me more as a mistress than you ever did! She has taught me that justice is meaningless without freedom. She is honest. She makes no promises and breaks none. Unlike you, Jezebel. I used to wonder why you could never look me in the eye. Now I know. So good bye, dear lady. I would be saddened by our parting even now, save that you are no longer the woman I once loved.

*KABOOM!*

-"V for Vendetta"

Page Summary

Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 26th, 2017 08:08 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios