A couple of days ago, I found myself trying to explain trigger warnings to a slightly older person–straight, white, male, 60s, non-academic. You may not be surprised that he was skeptical of the need for them. “Sticks and stones,” he laughed. “The only reason people get upset at reading something in a class is that they let themselves get upset. They should stop being so emotional.”
Naturally, I quickly constructed a list of things I could say to provoke an emotional response in the fellow, and I didn’t utter a single one of them. Instead, I thought I’d turn to bloggers to learn how they explain trigger warnings to their older acquaintances and relatives. Do you bother defining the term? Jump straight to analogies? Or, like the older man, do you believe the need for trigger warnings is overstated? How would you justify that approach to peers who think they’re useful if not necessary?