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Post Info TOPIC: Should books have TWs?


Annointed Queen of Mook - Founder and Editor

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Should books have TWs?


Hello all,

I've got a question and I've been thinking about it for a while but I'd love to know what you think. Should books (any format) and printed publications feature TWs, do you think?



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Mookish Deity Most High

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I think they should have a form of it, kind of like how games come with icons warning of sexual content, violence ect.. Maybe just have a small brief list of triggers included on the blurb or first page?

It would have made the suddenly gory scenes in YA books I read less shocking, for one, and would also help people avoid stuff with certain triggers involved.

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Runic Mook of the North (mod)

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The short answer is yes.

The longer answer is that it should be there in those instances where it isn't obvious to the potential readers that it might contain triggering content. For example is it obsolete to put a bdsm tw on fifty shades of grey. But some books are in dire need of TW, the prime example being the first book in the Outlander series by Dina Gabaldon. I started it expecting an entertaining smutty historical romance with a nice time travelling twist. Then what I got was gradually increasing levels of romanticised SM, which in the context easily reads as just disgusting misogyni. Then towards the end you are served a slice of male on male torture pron. I personally read and enjoy BDSM pron on occasion, but I was still a bit upset by this book. Just because it wasn't what I expected. I think it is safe to say that BDSM isn't everybodys cup of tea, and failing to preparing the reader for scenes of sexualized violence is at the very best unkind.

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Mookish Deity Most High

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Basically yes, they should.

There's already something along these lines in film (read the back of a DVD case and they'll give you the reason for the classification e.g. "PG: Contains scenes of mild peril"). I once was reading The Lucifer Effect by Philip Zimbardo, which is a pop science book by a psychiatrist who mainly looked into why normal people under certain circumstances do bad things. I knew the book was about people doing bad stuff, looking at case studies, and questioning why. I didn't know that for certain crimes, including an extremely brutal gang rape, would be described in great detail. This particular case study was descrived in much more detail than others earlier on in the book, was MUCH more horrific and violent, and just came out of nowhere. I remember reading the passage 3 or 4 times over in shock, before putting the book down and never picking it up again.

If I'd known there was a graphic rape scene, I might have still read the book. The fact it came out of nowhere meant I felt I couldn't trust the book to not attempt to spring awful things on me, and didn't continue reading. I found myself wondering who else had read the book, and hoping that nobody was more shaken up than I was, knowing they probably were. Deeply insensitive.

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Mookish Deity Most High

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Simply put, yes.

I don't really like the phrase "trigger warning" anymore, I know it sounds odd but I've seen it so overused on Tumblr that I now automatically ignore it a lot of the time. Although I shouldn't blame the phrase there, which has good intentions, just a small minority (this is off topic anyway).

However, I do think books should have ratings like films and a page before the book actually starts which lets viewers know of the subject matter, for example, "This book deals with topics should as drugs and rape" so people are aware of what they're going to be reading. I also feel that books should have legal age ratings, technically, as it stands, a child could buy 50 Shades of Grey, and that is just not right, for reasons that you guys will already know.

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