There has been mention of trigger warnings on the Coronation Street thread, and rather than derail that one I thought I'd broaden it out.
For non-Corrie fans, there have been two potentially triggering incidents lately - the death of an old dog and a young man having acid thrown in his face. Both were preceded by a trigger warning, as are many other programmes where anything from drug use to road accidents are portrayed. We also hear of books, including classics, having trigger warnings in educational settings, and poetry readings often have them if a poem is going to have reference to (for example) bullying or domestic violence).
I can see the point in many ways. I would rather a warning about a particular trigger than a blanket 'not suitable for user 18s' for instance. I am over 18, but prefer to avoid supernatural horror, and others might be upset by swearing, which hasn't bothered me at any age. Similarly, I knew what would upset my children, and would have preferred to know why something had been deemed unsuitable, so i could decide for myself whether to let them watch.
The other side, however, is that too many warnings can weaken them. A warning of 'violence' when applied to rough and tumble, or 'shows scenes that some viewers might find upsetting' applied to both a dog dying and an acid attack don't fully prepare audiences for what is to come. As a young woman I had seen so many 'violence' warnings that I was completely unprepared for Death Wish, and the rape scene made me feel unsafe in my own home for years after seeing it.
OTOH, if warnings were too subject-specific they could become spoilers and ruin the programme. 'Butlers might be upset by the implication that they always do it' for instance
What do you think?
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