Aren’t MPAA movie ratings (e.g., “R,” “PG-13”), TV Parental Guidelines, and music Parental Advisory stickers basically trigger warnings? Are there any conservative organizations advocating for their removal so that we can ensure young minds don’t “retreat from ideas and perspectives at odds with their own”?

Anyone? Bueller?

22 thoughts on “Aren’t MPAA movie ratings (e.g., “R,” “PG-13”), TV Parental Guidelines, and music Parental Advisory stickers…

  1. It’s rhetorically weak: one is for parents to make decisions on behalf of minors in their care, the other is for majors to make decisions for themselves.

    It’s not a rhetorical tool I’d try to use in a serious argument because it smacks of the “hurr hurr somebody injured themselves on a butter knife, guess we’d better outlaw butter knives” argument. If I were of a mind to actually fight that fight, I’d go straight to ingredient lists, pharmaceutical inserts, etc.

  2. No, they’re not trigger warnings, they’re content advisories. They’re not being put there in order to warn people who would have traumatic stress episodes because of the content (which is what “trigger” refers to).

    Trigger warnings don’t exist to help people make informed decisions, they exist to protect trauma survivors from situations which literally cause them to psychologically shut down. They’re the psychological equivalent of allergy warnings.

  3. Mark Delsing I totally understood what you were going for. As a scarred and bitter veteran of decades of online flame wars, my instincts about what makes an airtight rhetorical trap are finely honed.

    I’m having trouble coming up with a better direct parallel for a couple reasons!

    1) The content/trigger thing. They’re different things, and trigger events may have nothing to do with the badness behind the trigger. It’s probably impossible to avoid triggers under this definition. Which leaves you with the content. Which leads to…

    2) I think there are super strong arguments on both sides of this regarding content avoidance. Particularly since we’re talking about majors, and particularly since there’s a thread of academia that feels being challenged and uncomfortable is a valuable experience. I believe this is not a “conservative” Issue, either: plenty of ivory-tower-faction libruls are dismissive of the trigger warning/safe space/opt out thing as well.

    Some of that smells like “my parents spanked me and I came out okay” rationalizing, but once again that kind of steers everything back toward infantilizing the students.

  4. nothing to do with the badness behind the trigger. It’s probably impossible to avoid triggers under this definition. Which leaves you with the content. Which leads to… 2) I think there are super strong arguments on both sides of this regarding content avoidance. Particularly since we’re talking about majors, and particularly since there’s a thread of academia that feels being challenged and uncomfortable is a valuable experience. I believe this is not a “conservative” Issue, either: plenty of ivory-tower-faction libruls are dismissive of the trigger warning/safe space/opt out thing as well. Some of that smells like “my parents spanked me and I came out okay” rationalizing, but once again that kind of steers everything back toward infantilizing the students.]]>

  5. They are content warnings, yes. However, they’re applicable for people of all ages, regardless of their original intent, and useful. Content warnings can and should be used when possible. Trigger warnings are more specific and typically intended to protect people who could be caused harm by the content, but it doesn’t only apply to PTSD.

    Being upset with people wanting to know about content that makes them upset or has a risk of including content that triggers them is bullshit. Sorry, but if a class doesn’t warn me that they’ll be discussing child abuse and then I go into the class and we discuss it, I’ll be pissed and triggered and have to struggle with that. Sometimes the reality is that content or trigger warnings don’t make us skip the thing entirely, they give us space to prepare for them. And you know what? If they want to avoid it and take a different class or whatever? Fine. Let’s not pretend we care about people’s mental health at all and then say that them wanting to avoid content that could trigger them badly enough to cause physical symptoms, make them paranoid and afraid, or drive them to self harm, because that’s what triggers can do.

    I have a lot of feelings about this because I’ve been triggered in classes that should have had warnings, at least before the class in question, to prevent me from going through trauma.

  6. and triggered and have to struggle with that. Sometimes the reality is that content or trigger warnings don’t make us skip the thing entirely, they give us space to prepare for them. And you know what? If they want to avoid it and take a different class or whatever? Fine. Let’s not pretend we care about people’s mental health at all and then say that them wanting to avoid content that could trigger them badly enough to cause physical symptoms, make them paranoid and afraid, or drive them to self harm, because that’s what triggers can do. I have a lot of feelings about this because I’ve been triggered in classes that should have had warnings, at least before the class in question, to prevent me from going through trauma.]]>