Oh bullshit.I grew up in a dysfunctional family. I was bullied for years. I experienced sexual trauma and humiliation at a very early age. I ought to be a poster child for trigger warnings. There are a few particular things that I’ve been able to identify as triggers over my lifetime. Bullying is one, be it in person,in a book, or on screen. Watching a film, usually a funny one, with scenes of very embarassing moments have frequently been excruciating for me. I either want to flee the theater or crawl under my chair. I somehow managed to stumble onto a scene in a television show that almost mirrored the worst and most humiliating moment of my life a few years ago. Thankfully the scene no longer had the power my memory assigned to it, and I found myself fascinated at the screen victim’s reaction, which was far more healthy than my own. Frankly there are so many possible trigger warnings no book, film, or class could ever identify all of them, and I have NEVER expected the world around me to modify itself to protect me from emotional reactions that are entirely my own. I object to the very idea that post trauma, I should be “protected”from triggers strangers will never know about unless I elect to personally share my trauma with them (as if. LOL).
What most on the right are reacting to is the highjacking of legitimate trauma trigger warnings by those who wish to silence their political opponents by labeling legitimate political discourse as “triggering”, especially on a university campus which by it’s past defintion, is a place tailor made to challenge all our comfortable assumptions. Safe spaces for groups? You have GOT to be kidding. Safe spaces for me, an actual victim of trauma, is any place I can be alone and catch my breath. My favorite is my car, at speed with the radio blaring.
What triggers me, how I choose to cope with it, and where I find a safe space is nobody’s fucking business. I wouldn’t be caught dead speaking of it outside a locked therapist’s office.
I agree with many of your assertions about the powerful using rules to censor the broad public from inconvenient truths, but university progressives using those labels to protect themselves from ideas they disagree with is appropriation at it’s worst, and highly disrespectful to anyone who’s ever actually dealt with mind altering trauma.