Martha Thomases is one of the most open writers on the interwebs. This TVWriter™ minion not only respects her, I also have kind of a little crush because of reviews like this one (even though she says it isn’t a review at all):
Trigger Warnings! Beware
by Martha Thomases
Like the dweeb I am, I spent last weekend watching television on my computer. First (because I’d already seen the first two episodes), The Man in the High Castle on Amazon Prime, and then Marvel’s Jessica Jones on Netflix. I suppose there might have been other things to do for two days, but all of them involved wearing pants.
This isn’t going to be a review, or even a comparison of the two shows. Instead, I want to talk about trigger warnings. Still, you might want to beware of spoilers.
A trigger warning is a note, usually on a book cover or syllabus or other preview piece, that informs the potential user that some material in the specific piece might be disturbing. If you watch the network news, you’ve probably heard some version of a trigger warning before the camera cuts to pictures of starving children or corpses of people shot down in the streets.
The term “trigger warning” has become a cause du jour because some people think it means a particular book (or movie or newscast) is banned when it comes so captioned. To those people, a trigger warning is just another way we are coddling kids today, with their crazy music and their hair, who don’t appreciate how good they have it and they should just get off my lawn already.
Anyway, some people think that there should have been a trigger warning on Marvel’s Jessica Jones. And, I confess, I hadn’t thought about that until I read the essay in the link.
Here’s what I think is the key quote: The point of a trigger warning is not to tell people “Don’t watch this.” Or “You’re too weak to handle this.” The point of a trigger warning is to empower all viewers by informing them of what they can expect so they can make the best decision for themselves, cognizant all the while that the viewer’s personal response is just that: personal.
Maybe I would have understood if I had read the comic book on which Jessica Jones is based. I did read the first issue, and I didn’t like it much. To my reading at the time, it seemed to me to be trying to hard to be shocking and gritty. I watched the series because I totally love David Tennant. Yes, I’m shallow. Don’t judge me.
If I’d read the series, maybe I would have known that Jessica Jones is the victim of the violent sexual and emotional abuse perpetuated by Kilgrave The Purple Man, the villain who uses his mind control powers exactly as you’d expect if you imagine David Tennant to be the embodiment of a houseful of frat-boys. Still, because I heart him so much, I found myself, after the first episode, wishing he would come to me in my dreams and lick my face, as he did to Jessica.
After a few more episodes, I didn’t want that anymore. If anything, I felt kind of soiled for having wanted it at all.