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Date: 2012-08-10 11:11 pm (UTC)
amorpha: (Default)
From: [personal profile] amorpha
Yeah, the trigger warning debates always make us feel kind of like... "hello, is there an echo in here?" Not just because we've also gotten used to being ignored when we give our opinion, but because so much of it is the exact same thing that never got resolved on all those mailing lists and messageboards 10-12 years ago, with the whole survivor culture thing. We actually know several people who dropped out of a bunch of communities at that time-- not just MPD/DID ones but others that had a big crossover membership with survivor/recovery culture (which included even places like poetry communities)-- because they were fed up with the enforcement of trigger warnings, and having an ever-growing list of things you were expected to trigger-warn for. And all of those people were abuse survivors themselves, they were just tired of even day-to-day conversation becoming a minefield.

And the splats, Jesus on a pogo stick, I thought we'd never have to deal with splats again after we drifted away from those communities. Seeing them reappearing is just... WTF.

And... we've been having trouble putting our position on trigger warnings into words. (With the exception of trigger warnings for things like potentially seizure-inducing images, but... that's a different kind of trigger entirely from the ones most people are talking about.) We've seen some people saying that they don't use them because it seems like saying that anything that does not have a trigger warning on it is implicitly assumed to be non-triggering. And, well... we've pretty much concluded that the current "standard" of trigger warnings in SJ communities is pretty useless for us, because it doesn't include most of our worst ones. Which was about the way we felt when we stopped reading multiplicity MLs with a heavy recovery community overlap.

And yeah, back then the nature of those communities and their insularity (sometimes to the point of paranoia-- like we had a friend who went into an IRC chat and got immediately interrogated with "ARE YOU A SURVIVOR??", when the only places that even promoted it were survivor communities) allowed most of that stuff to be self-contained. I think if you had walked up to, say, most mainstream feminists and talked to them about trigger warnings, they would probably not have known what you were talking about unless they'd spent time working in sexual assault crisis counseling or something. There was a certain overlap between some kinds of feminism and recovery stuff in general, though, and I think the whole trigger warning thing might have memetically propagated to the modern SJ community through those groups-- them, and possibly self-injury and eating disorder recovery communities.

Though one of the weirdest things I noticed was people acting like "recovery" was "empowering" for women-- and I agree on principle that it is, when it's actually done properly and doesn't seem to just result in people becoming more and more helpless-- while supporting forms of DID therapy that seemed to be focused on keeping patients helplessly dependent on their therapists. Because they were regarded globally as Recovery and as Supporting Survivors and Exposing Abuse and therefore automatically good.

And when I say "dependent" I don't mean in the sense that all humans are dependent on each other-- it was like an infantilizing dependence, saying "I am the doctor and you must listen to me and not trust your own instincts." And in some cases convincing them of really outlandish stuff, like that they'd been programmed by mind control to kill themselves if their therapists weren't constantly monitoring them, and therefore they couldn't leave therapy or else their secret mind control alters would come out and do horrible things, etc. That was one of the most fucked-up things about what some of the "DID skeptics" were saying-- we agreed about the fact that a lot of the worse therapy was disempowering to women, and that a lot of the "techniques" some therapists used to supposedly recover memories and so on were very unreliable, to say the least. It just went off the rails as soon as they started concluding that because these therapies and techniques were questionable, somehow it followed that no kind of plural identity could ever exist anywhere at all.

And... yeah, I think that whole "functionality" thing has been one of the biggest sticking points for us, both because it's ableist, and because of things like how "living with their parents" is tossed around casually like an insult, and the assumption that everyone with a certain identity or saying certain things is a privileged teenager "living with their parents."

I mean... I know this is something you guys know from personal experience, so I'm kind of preaching to the choir, but. For one, in some cases, not everybody who lives with their parents wants to live with their parents. Forcing or attempting to force a legal adult to stay with their parents, when those parents are abusing them and trying to block them in every way possible from having an independent life ("independent" here just meaning "somewhere away from them"), is, well... abuse. I've been amazed (in an "I am disappointed in you people" way) at the number of people I've met who don't seem to ever consider that abusive parents might force or try to force their grown children to stay with them, or that continually blocking a person's attempts to get away from their living situation can be a form of abuse. That some people who are living with their parents aren't there because they WANT to be. That they might even be shoved into the psych system or religious fundamentalism because of their identity, against their will.

...and also because, as many other people have pointed out more eloquently than I have, the whole "kids grow up, go to college, move out, get jobs and start nuclear families of their own" model is hardly standard worldwide, and not even possible for everyone in the dominant culture, especially in the current US economy. It's like there's this bizarre circular reasoning that goes "Well, that's not applicable because this person is obviously a rich privileged white teenager who lives with their parents because they can't deal with the real world. How do I know they're a rich privileged white teenager who lives with their parents because they can't deal with the real world? Because they have this weird stupid frivolous delusional identity." (...never mind that if you actually mean "delusional" in the conventional psychological sense, you just wiped out your own argument, since a person who genuinely has difficulty determining what's real and what's not, about non-subjective issues, is probably going to have difficulty living that Totally Independent Self-Sufficient Life. And it would bring them under the classification of disabled for most of the SJ community, even if we disagree with the ideas of many people in the community about what's best for people in that position.)

-Tamsin
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