Book Blogging and Trigger Warnings

15 October, 2015 Announcement 23 comments

I sit and scroll through social media and I see something that guts me. Someone read a book and was not prepared for a triggering scene to be present. She’d scrolled through many reviews, not one of them provided a trigger warning. It’s a book I’ve read, so I race to check my own review. Nope. No trigger warning there and my heart falls. Because I let someone down. Me and 29 other people.

Trigger warnings are vital. They prepare someone for sensitive material so they can make an informed decision of whether to read the book or not, or to prepare themselves in case they do want to read the book. An example of some trigger warnings are:

-Depictions of war

-Graphic depictions of abuse – particularly sexual, torture, emotional,

-Self harming behaviour – suicide, cutting, disordered eating, body shaming

We are trying to make Cuddlebuggery a safer space to be in, so from now on, to the best of our abilities, we’ll be including trigger warnings at the top of our reviews where it will be easy to find and see.

Screen Shot 2015-10-15 at 8.55.00 pm

I know not everyone likes or approves of trigger warnings. I realise that this will sometimes mean some account of spoilers by stating trigger warnings. But as a blogger who relies on trigger warnings to protect my mental health, I feel like this is in the best interest of helping to create a better environment for the many other readers and bloggers who also require trigger warnings.

For me, trigger warnings mean that I can emotionally prepare myself before reading a text, or, if I’m having a bad day, it means I can avoid that text until I’m feeling stronger. This is certainly not about censoring any book or stating that a certain book shouldn’t be read because of those warnings – just that they’re there for people who need them or who like a heads up about the above warnings.

We certainly welcome feedback and would like your opinions on the matter!

Kat Kennedy

Kat Kennedy

Co-blogger at Cuddlebuggery
Kat Kennedy is a book reviewer and aspiring author in the Young Adult genre. She reviews critically but humorously and get super excited about great books. Find her on GoodReads.
Kat Kennedy

23 Responses to “Book Blogging and Trigger Warnings”

  1. Kat C

    I think this is great. I’ve become more sensitive to the idea of trigger warnings recently and have started to add them into posts. I mean….it’s not hurting anyone to add them. While I don’t get triggered I don’t like books with child abuse and a lot of NA will have this without warning.

  2. Mel@thedailyprophecy

    It definitely crossed my mind that if I use trigger warnings it might be a spoiler for others. I’m still not sure how I’m going to work with this, but this opened my eyes: I never want someone to feel like they’ve read a book they weren’t prepared for. It’s our ‘job’ to inform people, so thanks, I’m going to see how I can incorporate this in my reviews from now on.
    Mel@thedailyprophecy recently posted…MIM #7. TV shows in 2015.My Profile

  3. Rowena

    Hmm, this is a good idea. I’ve never thought to include trigger warnings in my own reviews but I think it’s a good idea. Thanks for this post, it’s opened my eyes!

  4. Kyra @ Blog of a Bookaholic

    I definitely want to start doing this in my own reviews and I appreciate it when people include trigger warnings in their reviews. I’m a very sensitive person and I get very affected by distressing topics in books so I think it would be great for everyone if trigger warnings were included more, even if it is spoilery, I’d like knowing what the book contains before I decided whether or not I’ll read it! 🙂

  5. Helia @ Astronomical Books

    Thank you for this post – I think more reviewers should be made aware that some content can be triggering to readers and mention it. I’ve done it in one of my reviews before for a book had a lot of potentially triggering content, but I hadn’t considered depictions of war to be a trigger until you mentioned it here. I’m going to start doing this with all my reviews now. If only goodreads had a section for this under each book!
    Helia @ Astronomical Books recently posted…Top 10 Tuesday: Author Collaborations that Need to HappenMy Profile

  6. Sophia @ Bookwyrming Thoughts

    As much as I hate spoilers, I think trigger warnings might actually be a REALLY good idea. As long as trigger warnings aren’t abused, I personally think it’ll go really well. Some people might not be comfortable reading one thing when another person is very comfortable with reading about that very same subject.

  7. Michelle @ Pink Polka Dot Books

    I always include a “This Book Includes” list after my review to list things that I think readers might want to know are topics in the book. Sometimes I also list things in the book that I find cool or odd, like a truck shaped like a giant meatball or something, but I make sure in the list is always things I think people might want informed of like heavy swearing, sexual assault, violence, etc.

  8. Vane @ Books With Chemistry

    I think this is a great thing to do. I can handle most of the things you listed, but I agree it’s better to come prepared for it. Plus, sometimes there are days in which I’m not feeling so well, and to strike upon a rape scene or abusing or otherwise might upset me more than it should.
    Vane @ Books With Chemistry recently posted…Review: Magnus Chase and The Sword of Summer – I may or may not have outgrown Rick Riordan.My Profile

  9. Kate Copeseeley

    Even though I have never experienced anything that would give me triggers, I’ve found that since I have had children I’m pretty sensitive to anything involving child abuse/ death. So for me, I’d be really happy seeing any warnings on reviews that involve bad stuff happening to kids. 🙂
    You guys are always moving in a positive direction and I really love and admire you for that.
    Kate Copeseeley recently posted…Limbo LandMy Profile

  10. Kayla @ The Thousand Lives

    I’ve been startled by many triggers in books, and I always wished that people had told me sooner. I still would have read the book even being spoiled, but reading something that I’m not even nearly as prepared for as I should be isn’t fun. In the end, I probably end up hating the book because of the negative emotions I now associate with it!

  11. Carina Olsen

    Hugs. <3 This post is gorgeous Kat. Thank you so much for sharing. I love that you are going to start post trigger warnings 🙂 My childhood was pretty awful, but nothing that I read about has ever made me remember anything about it, so it doesn't bother me. But I know that it might bother others, so that is sad :\ Feel like the books should come with trigger warnings sometimes. Hmph. Anyway. You are the best. <3

  12. Evelyn @ Books With Chemistry

    Yes, Kat. You’re very wise, very thoughtful if you do this. I’m sure many of your blog audiences/ readers will appreciate this greatly. I know I will.

    I’d rather be prepared to know beforehand that there are some disturbing themes in the books. Honestly it’ll help me read the book with ease.

    You are right to want to include a Trigger Warning tag. Never mind about spoiling a bit of the story!

  13. Morgan @ Gone with the Words

    I think trigger warnings are really smart and that the benefits for a myriad of people far outweigh the negatives of possible spoilers. I’m lucky to have not had any traumatizing life experiences but I still appreciate knowing if I’m going into a book with disturbing themes or situations. I tend to stay away from heavy books in general but if I’m prepared going in, I’m more likely to read it and not have as much anxiety about it. So I think it’s a really thoughtful, good idea to have a tag.
    Morgan @ Gone with the Words recently posted…Fortnight of Fright: A “Must” List for October by Morgan of Gone With the WordsMy Profile

  14. Martha

    I’ve always felt torn on this, because sometimes a trigger warning is a major spoiler, and yet it’s a bigger spoiler (of your day or perhaps several days) to run into something graphic with no warning. As someone who doesn’t like spoilers (especially in mysteries) I totally struggle with not giving away a major component in a review, and yet a couple of times I’ve been handed books (by well-meaning people, I should add) and later wanted to shake the person and say, “How could you not mention that ___ occurs?”

    For example, I read ‘Pretty Little Lies’ under the guise that it was a “chick lit” read–something beachy–but the book discusses in fairly graphic detail an abusive relationship that is very physical and very scary. As someone who’s been through all that before I was shaken up and I was honestly kind of in a blue funk for a few days afterward, because the scenes just brought back so many unwelcome memories. Would a trigger warning have spoiled the book? Absolutely, because the twist in that relationship is a total surprise and one of the big secrets that is revealed late in the book. And yet, if I had a clue the book would go so far, I might have saved it for another day or avoided it completely.

    I will definitely be smarter about putting trigger warnings on my own reviews from now on. I think as fellow book-lovers and survivors of the world we owe it to each other. Great post. <3
    Martha recently posted…Music Monday: Outta My MindMy Profile

  15. Blow Pop

    As a fellow reader and blogger, I appreciate the hell out of people who do either content or trigger warnings. Especially when an author themselves puts the warnings in either the description of the book or the beginning of the book. Mine are content warnings because of my own issues with how trigger warnings are taken but they’re the same idea. But yes. I definitely need and use the warnings.

  16. BR Kingsolver

    While I agree that bloggers should warn their readers about certain content, authors also need to accept responsibility. One of my books deals with the aftermath of abuse, and I post a trigger warning in the book’s blurb.

  17. northierthanthou

    I’m fascinated by the way that ‘trigger warnings’ transform the issue of difficult topics. It’s one thing to prepare people for difficult topics and another to suggest an element of danger. I get it as applied to sexual abuse and related topics, but I do think some trigger warnings seem almost to be over-billing, almost as if people hope their material will be more controversial than it really is. A bit like the warning labels people used to put on albums, almost a kind of advertising.

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge