YES. I’M ACTUALLY DOING ANOTHER DISCUSSION POST. After months and months and well, you get the picture. So yeah, let’s start talking about this hot topic!
what’s going on?
Recently, a lot of discussion has been going around discussing the use of content warnings. A fantastic alternative to Goodreads is a website called Storygraph that allows users to mark content/trigger warnings on books. Several BIPOC authors have pointed out that their books have far more warnings than books like Twilight. In response, Storygraph changed their policy to allow authors to be the ones to approve warnings, and to streamline user-created warnings.
why is this important, and how can this be better dealt with?
- Content/trigger warnings are vital to readers. You never know what can bring up trauma, or when a reader just n fact, they’re so important that authors often put them on their websites. Ideally, publishers should have a page with them but unfortunately that’s far more uncommon than you’d think.
- In my opinion, if you’re a reviewer, it might be helpful to have a less spoilery content warnings section and a more spoilery one. For example, instead of just marking something like “anxiety” you could go into more detail and say “panic attacks, detailed descriptions of spiraling thoughts, etc.” to give more context.
- Speaking of context, there are instances where sensitive topics such as suicide and grief will be brought up because they play an important role in the book. There are cases where such topics are handled well, and other cases where they are not. It’s important to differentiate between marking a book as containing
“racism” when it’s The Hate U Give vs. Eleanor and Park.
- One last point I want to make is that while Storygraph did change their policy for the better, it would be wise to remember that it is a relatively new website. As such, newer releases are actually most likely the ones being reviewed in depth. Sure, everyone marks off Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Twilight, City of Bones, Lord of the Rings, Throne of Glass, etc. But how many of those people are going to go back and write an in-depth review with the tooplsYes, Twilight doesn’t have as many content warnings as other books, but how many people who just transferred to Twilight are actively reading/read it in 2020-2021, and then proceeded to give warnings on it? So while the issue of content warnings being weaponized against minority authors is a valid one, it’s not one necessarily limited to Storygraph.
That’s all I have to say, but I want to hear everyone else’s thoughts! Let’s discuss below!