After getting into an argument on Twitter, I came to the realization that the purpose and definition of content warnings isn’t as widely known as I previously thought. I’ve always felt that content warnings are necessary and to have them be perceived as shameful was incredibly frustrating. I decided to channel my frustration into a (hopefully) helpful post that breaks down what they are, what they do and why they are so incredibly important.
What Are Content Warnings
As the term implies, they are warnings that precede content. To be more specific, content that might be sensitive. These kind of warnings can be found on all sorts of media – tv shows, movies, games, books, etc. Keep in mind that a content warning isn’t necessarily the same as a trigger warning. Trigger warnings are related to content that can potentially trigger physical, mental or emotional symptoms in people with anxiety disorders or PTSD. These tend to be a lot more specific than content warnings.
What do Content Warnings Do
This is probably a bit redundant but it’s important so, here we are. Content warnings essentially provide someone who is reading, watching or playing something with… a warning. The warning could be for something you are totally okay with, but that doesn’t mean everyone is okay with that thing. If there is a content warning for something that you think needs to be talked about more (i.e. periods), it doesn’t mean that the content warning exists to shame people into not talking about that thing. The warning just warns. People can still discuss and talk all they want. It’s a courtesy heads-up for people who might be particularly sensitive to certain topics so they can decide, based on how they feel at the time, if they are up for engaging with that content.
Why Are Content Warnings Important
Content warnings are very important because they allow us to engage with each other & media as well as have important discussions while also ensuring that we don’t hurt people along the way. Is that such a bad thing??? If your answer is yes… I think you need to take a moment to reflect on why that is.
To sum up: try to use content warnings when you can and don’t shame anyone for using them. They serve an important purpose. If you want to do some further reading, I highly recommend THIS ARTICLE which I used to cross-check my info while writing this post!