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For one, the complete avoidance of words that a) aren’t meant to be offensive and b) are very common is simply unrealistic. When a word bothers you, you can’t demand that everybody stop using it, especially if said word is crucial to the discussion at hand. At some point, you have to get over it. Secondly, the word “triggering” is heavily misused here. Being triggered is a symptom of PTSD, where a person suffers from uncontrollable flashbacks to traumatic moments. If a word makes you feel sad or angry, you have not been triggered; you have been mildly inconvenienced. And, lastly, nobody in this group seems to be listening to anybody else. Carmen comes to that group to talk about her issues in a supportive environment only to be constantly interrupted by people talking about how their problems are bigger or complaining about vocabulary. Seriously, this is just the worst support group. Amulya I think the “trauma” might come from suddenly being mutated at a young age… Walter Have you been to a support group? This is only a slight exaggeration. Squint at this depiction to blur the fictional details and you’ll see something real. There is no static here. No therapist sitting in judgement. Everyone in the group is hurting, and they need to put that pain on hold to help one another. It is hard, and some people will mess it up. Happyroach Having participated in and run disability support groups, I would consider some guidance as to how to express oneself to be useful. But then I get the feeling that this is a first-time situation for everyone. And yeah, I’ve seen situations where someone with a severe disability has called out another for their relatively milder disability. And it can be a really tense situation. It’s easy to take sides, but and can take a lot of mental gymnastics to step back and mediate. Tylikcat So, a bunch of this is bullshit that has been circulated by people who think that poking holes in things that they think are “politically correct” is… I dunno. Cool. Or important. Or something. That’s not your fault. But it’s still wrong. Let me tell you a little bit about my own experience PTSD. It’s not just one thing. It’s not just flashbacks. I mean, sure, I’ve had flashbacks. I’ve had a lot more hypervigilance – seriously, I was in my late twenties before I realized that when other people talked about “insomnia” they didn’t mean “waking up in the middle of the night with a panic attack”. (It’s also one of the reasons why I’m such a morning person. I mean, it wasn’t always a panic attack, but when my brain decided it was time to wake up, I got an adrenaline dump.) Things that trigger me – and it’s not really a word I use, but it’s accurate enough – don’t mean I have flashbacks. Those are really rare (now). Like, maybe twice in the last five years. But they also don’t just “make me sad”. Sometimes it’s hypervigilance – and this can be super embarrassing. I have to explain at least a little of this to anyone I share a hotel room with, which ends up being most of my lab mates over time. (And lab mates gossip. A lot of the rest of that kind of thing apparently is “a martial artist thing” which… yeah, whatever.) Sometimes it’s… really strong memories and emotions that don’t have quite the uncontrolled nature to rise to what I’d call a flashback, but still seriously shape my experience. (It doesn’t help that I have an acute memory to begin with.) And hell, I’m super well adjusted. Generally this shit is just not a big deal (except a little when I’m trying to sleep. And I’m so much better.) Still, if I’m going out to a movie with friends, or something like that, I like to know what I’m getting into. I’m not squeamish, but if I’m having a bad days, and I know that a movie deals with certain themes, I might choose to bail. When I was an angry teenager first trying grapple with some of this shit? Aiee. Get all sad? I might get sarcastic, stabby and irate, and try to chew someone a new one. (This was not the worst coping strategy, mental health wise. Well, for me. But it also meant that there were events that it was better for me to avoid for political reasons.) (BTW, don’t you think the experience of having you body turn into something non-solid could be extremely traumatic? Holy crap, man.) Lostman I think is a assuming that the person who got altered did accept their changes in the end. Yes it would be horrfiying one day out of the blue to begun melting, but after while if there was more benefits to being a sentient pool of goo (or is she actually a cloud of gas?) over the known solid flesh, and blood body that we all have. Remind they all changed when they were teenagers, generally people in that age group don’t handle bad things very well. Christophe2314 First off, I would like to apologize if I gave the impression that I was trivializing what you and other PTSD sufferers go through. That was not my intention. I was working from my own limited understanding and am glad that you have described your experience in further detail so that I could be better informed in the future. I do believe a lot of people are misusing the term, which is par for the course: I have my own issues, and believe me, I’ve seen a lot of people misusing and making light of words related to those. You are right, though: suddenly having your body turn non-solid would be a traumatic experience. It’s honestly not something I’d considered, I guess because it feels so unreal. You know, kind of like how you watch a movie where an action hero get into a fight with giant robots, and you never consider how this is affecting him on an emotional level. Because it’s fictional and not the realistic kind of fiction, it doesn’t compute as something that’s happening to a real person with real feelings. Again, I would like to thank you for your polite response, but I’d also like to take this as an opportunity to better phrase my point. If you still disagree with me afterwards, I would be happy to continue this conversation. I’m always willing to accept the possibility that I’m wrong about something. I guess what I was trying to say is that, while it’s important to not be a jerk to people, demanding that everyone in a support group stop using certain words kind of defeats the purpose of the support group. Correct me if I’m wrong, but at its core, isn’t a support group a place where people can be themselves and talk about their issues in the ways they’re comfortable with without fear of judgement? It seems like a small thing, just one word, but a) body is a word that’s bound to come up in a support group for people who have issues with their bodies and b) it sets a precedent for other words, and eventually entire concepts, to be banned from the room. After a while, you run the risk of ending up with everyone walking on eggshells, not sure what they’re allowed to say. The support group becomes just another place where you can’t speak freely. I think it’s important to keep the focus on the person speaking. When it’s your turn, you get to speak about your issues in whatever terms you prefer, and no one has anything to say about it. Then, when it’s someone else’s turn, you listen and you don’t interrupt them. The freedom to talk openly about things you wouldn’t feel comfortable discussing outside of the support group is the whole point of the support group. Once you start policing speech and making people feel guilty for describing their feelings in a certain way, what’s the group even for? Seer of Trope I would agree that it’s inefficient and prone to derailment, but not unhealthy. It’s possible for trauma or long experience of discrimination to be bad enough to turn related words into something that more than bothers regardless of intentions. This prevents emotional healing and harmful especially if the word is commonplace. Sometimes trying to get used to it didn’t work, which is why certain people resort to support groups. It’s not about changing one’s expectation about the rest of the world. A support group needs a principle that can accept all variations of people and respect their needs. It can’t draw a line somewhere without breaking that principle of acceptance. Sure, it would be easy tell some to simply take it for the sake of the “more important” problems, but when someone says it cause pains and it’s trivialized, it puts the support group’s ability to respect its members’ needs and value them into question. A support group isn’t about toughening these people up so their “weakness” would go away, but to provide an environment where their pain isn’t going to be ignored or set aside, something the outside world can’t provide. It’s not for approval; it’s for necessity. As for the difficulty of censuring such a common word, I don’t think that’s unrealistic as long as the right expectations are set. The members apologize when they make a mistake and give their words to not make it again. It takes considerable effort, self-restraint, and think-before-speaking skill, but it’s necessary for a group with the principle to help every member without question. One could see it as being overly sensitive, and I understand why because there are some words that does bother me, and just that. I know that I have the ability to overcome being bothered when I understand there were no bad intentions. I wouldn’t ask the people around me to censure themselves not because it’s the nice thing to do, but rather because in the end it doesn’t harm me. But there are those very few who doesn’t have that privilege. I suppose the lingering question is, do they actually don’t have that ability, or they do and ignoring it for the easier path? Personally, I don’t know how to tell if someone’s the former or the latter. But I think that even if the person is the latter, as long as they can help others in a support group by providing the respect they need, it doesn’t matter because the outside world is uncaring. People have the right to decide what is a best course for themselves and what to spend their time on, and I think this world has the leisure to allow it. It’s a slow process, and it takes effort and time, but it’s not unhealthy. Day The thing is, while the PTSD definition you and many other commenters are using is accurate to this situation, its not accurate to life. I get panic attacks when i see, hear, or talk about needles, and I do not have PTSD, i don’t flash back, or anything like that. I just freak out, and i know a lot of people with issues like that-a trigger doesn’t have to be PTSD linked to be valid. It doesn’t matter if the word or concept is common, or unintentionally harmful, unfortunately it is harmful, and why the hell would you want to harm someone just bc its common? Also, im pretty sure that’s just how support groups can go. Everyone gets derailed, or stuck on making sure no one feels unsafe, and most of the work is structural, not individual. Dr. Mercurious Sorry, but whenever I read the word ‘trigger’ used unironically, it triggers within me the urge to and put diapers on the person using it. Tina, you have a body; it’s liquid, but it’s still a body so stop being a social bully about it. I know quite a few people with physical disabilities and they never do this sort of crap. wineflask “I know quite a few people with physical disabilities” is the new “I have a lot of gay/black/etc friends”. Pathetic. Jerden The thing is, if you don’t say that then people assume that, because you disagree with their opinion, you have no idea of what you’re talking about. (Remember, the trick is to find somebody disadvantaged who agrees with your opinion, because that makes it true.) Richard Hughes Tina’s request is a pain in the ass, but it’s not bullying. This is a support group, not a therapy session; some indulgence of comfort zones, even really inconvenient ones, is appropriate. Lysiuj It must be so difficult for you to consider that your words and actions might hurt others, and might even cause them psychological harm due to past or present traumas. But actually changing your behaviour? To occasionally refrain from using a word around someone after they’ve asked you? Now that’s just too much. So obviously you’re justified in calling that person a bully for demanding respect and empathy (while showing them disrespect and a lack of empathy when you express the urge to put a diaper on them). That’s just the logical response isn’t it? Demands for respect are met with disrespect. Random832 It’s meant to be their safe space, too. I don’t know what if anything in the real world this is supposed to be an analogy for (and I’m uncomfortably aware of the possibility that Adrienne Herbst might be right that whatever it is, it is being completely insensitive and disrespectful about), but it seems like the point that’s being made in-universe, in the last strip and today’s, is that this support group is too broadly defined and covers people with too many mutually exclusive different issues. If you can’t say “body” (or, I’d guess, most synonyms) you can’t talk about any issues that anyone else present have with their bodies, which seems to be 99% of the point. chaosvii Well sure they don’t do that, they probably never had their arms turn into a fluid one day while they were wondering if they did well on their math test as a young teen. That sort of thing probably changes how one views the very concept of an arm, or of the psychological baggage associated with identifying as having a body or not. Tina sounds like the sort of person who doesn’t feel all that resilient of an individual when she involuntarily remembers that her entire form restructured itself into a fluid and there was nothing anyone could do about it as she lost nearly everything of hers that most people called human at the time. Bob Wow. I think after sitting through that support group, I’d have gotten up and left and never returned. Every single slight, every petty concern magnified to the Nth degree. Pain is subjective. Hell, 80% my skin is on fire 24/7 and I’m allergic to the only viable treatment. You get used to it. I don’t go around saying, “Your pain isn’t as great as my pain, so get over it.” Pain tolerance is different from person to person. That said, these guys’ level of pain tolerance is about .000001% mine. We’d have nothing in common. wineflask A male explaining their pain to a bunch of female cartoon characters with unknown physical characteristics and personal history. Congratulations, you’ll go on my list of mansplaining examples! PS “male” here is short for “human being with a male nickname”. Tsapki What is the treatment by the way? You didn’t really give us any medical terms so I’m curious as to what this condition is. If you’d prefer not to say, I understand. I’m just quite curious about this affliction. Defenstor I’m getting the feeling that the blade-covered psychopath is one of the better adjusted dynamorphs. Fortooate It’s interesting that you’re calling her a psychopath after seeing her involved in one loud outburst. This probably happens to her a lot, actually; her slight anger being interpreted as a threat of physical violence, or even as maniacal evil, because she happens to be covered in pointy metal. I’d be pretty angry too if I was forced to constantly school my own reactions to things to avoid scaring people. martynW I assumed Defenstor was talking about Daniel, the guy chained up in a basement, but I don’t know for sure. 3-I I’m NOT covered in pointy metal, but I’m a trans woman, so I STILL have to do that. It is immensely frustrating. Happyroach And honestly, this is supposed to be a place where she CAN express emotions such as anger. I mean, expressing them in a way tat’s not a direct attack would be good, but still, that doesn’t mean she’s a psychopath. It’s easy to have a strong reaction to what seem like unreasonable demands or actions, but then again, consider what these people deal with every day. weedgoku It’s been interesting seeing the reactions in the comments for that very reason. So many people immediately sided with the human looking green person instead of the angry monster without giving the altercation any kind of second thought. Just as an aside is it confirmed to be metal? I’d gotten the impression it was some kind of organic matter like a crab’s shell or possibly even like weird teeth growing all over her body. Catnik Pretty sure “the blade-covered psychopath” is Cleaver/ Roland Goldberg Uh. Spikey that got escorted out isn’t blade covered. The blade covered dynamprph they are referring to is the chess playing one who is currently locked up with electric bracelets. He’s several weeks or months back. Yeah he went on a murderous criminal rampage… But mentally and emotionally he still seems like he’s better adjusted than some of these, just misguided. StClair Pretty sure Defenstor was talking about Cleaver. Whether Daniel still qualifies as a psychopath, however, is another matter. masterofbones I think they were talking about cleaver lol. Steele He was talking about Cleaver. zarawesome Eggshells as far as the eye can see. Lheticus Videre Way to be the bigger person, more power to ya there! Etveck Disaster averted, for now at least. I hope they can manage to get back to actual discussions and progress instead of arguing over semantics. Discussion about how to appropriately move forward in a dialogue while probably necessary, also takes time and focus away from actually improving anything. ∫Clémens×ds It is necessary. Arguably more than “discussions and progress”. Support groups are less concerned about difficult debates than they are about making people feel listened to and understood. Advice is optional. Unconditional support is mandatory. chaosvii Meaning must first be accomplished before discussion can proceed. Semantic arguments are literally arguments about meaning. If meaning cannot be agreed upon, then the people engaging in such disagreements probably look tedious, but it does not therefore translate to such resolutions of these conflicts being without merit. If no one understands what the other is saying, then how can any improvement through dialogue occur?! GreatWyrmGold Liquid/gaseous/insubstantial bodies are still bodies, First Panel Guy. You don’t need to feel left out! ∫Clémens×ds She’s a woman, and stop questioning her boundaries. Richard Hughes ‘Guy’ is often used as a gender neutral noun; it may be used as such here. ∫Clémens×ds Only in plural form? And even if it was it would be like the problematic way we do it in French where we don’t have a neutral gender and the baseline is masculine, which carries so much terrible meanings. I like gal for the equivalent of guy, let’s bring “gal” back! Happyroach And if someone spoke up with that quip in that situation, what do you think would be the result? It can be difficlt to let g, but the goal is to not have winners or losers in this situation. GreatWyrmGold That wasn’t my goal, either. It seems like a good way to defuse tensions caused by an accidentally-offensive comment would be to prove it inoffensive. Zedd Why would a support group actively reinforce psychological pathologies? All the science on triggers, says that avoiding the trigger just makes it worse. Not to mention that Tina HAS a body of liquid(?) inside there, so this is just a power play on her part… not that I’d begrudge her the power, given that she’s living inside a tank. p75369 There’s a time and place for everything though. This group is likely he only option for group therapy, for developing a support network. Overcoming a trigger is something that can only be done by yourself, which is always dangerous, or with the help of the those you trust, and trust takes time to build. ∫Clémens×ds I’m bewildered by how so many people feel this comfortable telling people expressing their boundaries how wrong they are. What “all the science” says is irrelevant. This is a support group where people want to feel safe to express themselves. Not pseudo psychological therapy of forced subjection to triggers to get better, approved by randos on a comment thread who has read “all the science”. Oren Leifer I’m happily surprised that someone with a Dalek avatar is one of the more level-headed and surprisingly nice speakers on this forum, just wanted to give you kudos for that, especially on this sensitive an issue. chaosvii I would understand the findings that triggers are currently understood to be things that have to be dealt with inevitably, and thus attempting to avoid them in perpetuity is not a viable nor a healthy method. I would be surprised to find scientific literature that accommodating avoidance of triggers for a period of time sufficient to build trust in a therapist that can then aid them in confronting triggers and overcoming them is a damaging methodology. I would not be surprised to find people reading evidence for only the former, and then interpreting it as justification for the latter. Happyroach Also, this isn’t even a controlled therapy situation. It’s a support group, possibly one that’s only meeting for a single time. The standards for a safe space have to be different. Weatherheight Once again, someone has said something more clearly and succinctly than I did. Nicely said. Avram Grumer The science I’ve seen on treating trauma says that the best treatment comes from exposure to the trigger under controlled circumstances. You don’t treat trauma victims by just randomly exposing them to trauma triggers outside of their control. Nightsbridge Plus, exposure isn’t a cure-all. It’s a spotty tool at BEST. Sometimes it doesn’t work at all. Or makes it worse. Weatherheight Oh, that the human mind were able to be treated with a one-size-fits-all unisex solution set (that was sarcasm, for the benefit of the sarcasm impaired). But what a boring world it would be, were we all the same. Goatmon I honestly can’t really tell Tina apart from intentional trigger jokes. If that isn’t what you were doing, you kinda stumbled there. ∫Clémens×ds It’s okay to have that impression. So I do wish you get more experienced with the matter, read a lil’ more on the subject, so that you are more able to mark the nuance in the future. Pol Subanajouy I don’t think I could ever lead a support group. It’s juggling this many sensitive topics at once that is so daunting, you know? Everything gets so complicated so quickly and I don’t think I could keep up with everyone’s needs. ∫Clémens×ds We need them, though. They do such important work. Pol Subanajouy I agree. I’ve been to support groups and they can be super helpful, especially to people in need. I just see myself causing a hot mess if I were to try my hand at leading one, you know? Tylikcat I hear you. But you know, facilitation is a skill, like a lot of other skills. It probably comes more easily to some people than others, but mostly, it’s something that can be learnt, and something that must be learnt. If you ever wanted to, there are classes. You wouldn’t just be thrown into the river. martynW To be fair, it is feasible that one could stretch this thinking to the point where it becomes impossible to discuss anything at all. There are real issues of sensitivity out there to deal with, but if we’re all being honest, there are also some people who exploit it as a mechanism for just shutting other people up. Look at it another way: in a world like the one in this comic, where anybody can look like anything at all, what’s left of the language? Weatherheight Done a lot of small group leadership in the past. Had to give it up for just these reasons. My biggest problem was always that the stated goal of a group often got subverted to something else, often in a very domineering and aggressive way and often by a single individual. I haven’t ever really been patient enough to deal well with those who get so far off topic that they’ve crossed an ocean or feel that the purpose of the group is to support them and them alone. “We’re here for each other, not for just you.” Wish I had a dollar (US) for every time I had to say something to that effect (never so bluntly, though – that would just destroy trust in me, which is kind of necessary as the moderator). Mechwarrior Oh no, not teh feels! Rumble in the Tumble But she *is* a body… …of water. *Seinfeld bass* Philip Bourque Am I the only one who feels that calling words taboo and thus limiting a person’s ability to express themselves is detrimental to this kind of discussion and group? I want to scream “no! You are not beautiful! None of us are! We are all hurtful, hateful, ugly monsters that corrupt, taint and destroy everything we touch! We are all guilty!” Rumble in the Tumble Don’t worry about that last one, I’ll be surprised if the Attack-On-Titan-Girl will take the “we’re all beautiful in our own s.p.e.c.i.a.l. way~” speech with a straight face. Jerden But who can resist the power of P.C. platitudes? ∫Clémens×ds And using words that trigger people hence excluding them from the group doesn’t limit Tina’s ability to express herself, maybe? As per your other point, what Philip Bourque She would be excluded in either case, the differences are who is doing the excluding and that maybe, someone might think to accommodate her. As per your other point, what what? chaosvii You’re not alone, you’re on the internet, where all sorts of misunderstandings are common. As for that lovely notion at the end, I’m curious as to where you developed such a profound desire to parrot how terrible humanity is. It’s a cliche holdover from premodern times where we constantly had no idea how to fix conflicts through anything other than exploitation & violence. And while it is a worthwhile warning for us to remember that we aren’t inherently correct, it’s a terrible hindrance to presume that we are inherently incorrect (also a funny paradox). Philip Bourque You make it sound like I’ve gone and adopted a pet. “How” not “where” is the better question. My misanthropy is something that developed over the better part of three decades. If you’re honestly curious I can give you a breakdown of the general events and conditions that were the cause. Tsapki Curious here! Arkone Axon I’m… actually uncertain here. Is Tina really that upset about the word “bodies?” Or is she delivering a subtle rebuke to Vanessa for playing the “I have it so much worse than you” game? Because… a lot of the statements and wording used in this page seem almost like the kind of parodies you see from opponents of political correctness. “Bodies” is a word used every day, constantly… if you literally feel unsafe and threatened by people using that word, then you’ve got worse problems than a lack of solid state matter in your physiological makeup. ∫Clémens×ds That’s not to be questioned. If she says she doesn’t want you to use it in her presence, either you leave or you agree, otherwise you’re a jerk. The group has agreed to her request and your opinion on its decision is irrelevant. chaosvii Parodies are deliberately set up to be seen as absurd. This comic has provided a context in which it is not intended to be seen as absurd, it is merely different than (if a tad analogous to) what we live with in a world where these specific conflicts have never happened. And while Tina naturally is going to find herself in conflict with common speech among people that feel no obligation of compassion nor of understanding towards her, this group is about extending compassion & understanding towards all who enter. If she has a request that they can fulfill for the sake of maintaining that promise, then fulfilling it is part of their goal and failing it is grounds for Tina to leave and find a place where she can better feel a part of. Where she can build herself up. See, support groups tend to be the sorts of places where people can gather the strength to deal with a world that doesn’t always accommodate for their physical needs or their psychological health. Feeling unsafe & threatened is something that is being dealt with here in this group. Internalizing the social support that grants us resilience against the inherent callousness of social dynamics, lack of resources, and ignorant individuals is not something that people are simply granted by a certain age. Social support towards an individual is something that people do or fail to do. Tina is among the people that have not been granted sufficient social support, so she seeks to have more so that she might have enough. As implied on the last panel, Carmen is beginning to feel that she has acquired quite a bit of it from this group, and is already in the process of having enough strength to deal with people that don’t want to deal with her. Lysiuj If it seems like a parody of “political correctness”, that’s only because it’s become fashionable and acceptable (which, ironically enough, means it’s politically correct), to belittle people’s problems and hardships, and to mock others for their care and empathy. To me this is beautiful, how they try to find ways of talking about their problems which don’t cause anyone to feel left out, dismissed or ignored. 3-I If it seems like a parody to you, OP, that’s because you think this subject is inherently worthy of parody. All I can suggest is that you keep reading. Arkone Axon Thanks to both Daniel MacFarlane and MarvalAlice for accepting that a statement of “I’m not certain if this is a parody or the real thing” is exactly what it was phrased as, and not some sort of mean spirited mockery. Oren Leifer And for a great summary of what “Political Correctness” actually is: http://neil-gaiman.tumblr.com/post/43087620460/i-was-reading-a-book-about-interjections-oddly Steele I personally am having a hard time with how Tina developed a trigger with the word “body” in the first place. I mean yeah, she’s all liquid now (perhaps goo?), and I’m sure that the transformation was VERY traumatic… but unless people were screaming the word “body” at her the whole time, it’s hard to conceptualize an associative link. Also, while Tina very certainly has a consciousness, she doesn’t have the bodily systems required to produced feelings of anxiety. Muscular, cardiovascular, respiratory and nervous systems… these all play a role in our fight-or-flight response and are used to send us signals that we should be scared (and are activated upon being triggered), and Tina doesn’t seem like she would have these. And while I can’t reason this next part out as well, her feeling “not safe” also seems odd. She’s contained in what I’m assuming is a very strong robotoic body, surrounded by allies with an array of abilities, including Allison “Mega Girl” Green. Though I do get that trigger responses don’t take logic into account when they appear, it still feels a bit… hamfisted on account of the writer. I think what really may be bugging people here is, ok, let’s assume she’s legit being triggered. How is she able to form complete sentences and politely and clearly ask people to stop? I’ve seen people get triggered by things, and they don’t use the words “triggered” and “I feel unsafe”, they’ll be crouched over, hyperventilating, and be all like “HolyshitThissucksGetmeouttahereNOW”. People with a bit more of a handle on these things will just yell to stop. People with a bit more handle than THAT will just remove themselves without a word. Tina just sits there calmly and politely expresses her desires using Tumblr!terms… which at worst makes her sound like a parody, and at best, is an unintended stroke of genius as I’d presume Tina’s only interactions with the world are online in supportive circles, but I somehow feel that it was as I said, unintended. Thrice.Great She might be screaming and hyperventilating and crouched over… if she had a body. Also, she seems to speak through some kind of computer sloshing-to-speech program, so how should she scream? How can you tell she’s calm? She’s in a tank. Arthur Frayn Tina’s voice is “calm” because that’s how her voice synthesizer works -just like Stephen Hawking’s. He can say sarcastic or impolite things to people, but first has to deliberately compose them with his interface. I can hit caps lock and SCREAM AT YOU FOR BEING AN INSENSITIVE DOLT!, but I don’t think that they can. Mitchell Lord Huh…well, that answers that question. This feels less like a panel, and more like a group psychology session. JohnTomato How does amoeba person have gender? Huge backstory we won’t get. p75369 Rremember that powers and everthing else only manifested at puberty. She was likely a typical girl when growing up. JohnTomato Is that an across the board given in this reality? I’ve read the entire run of Allison’s journey and don’t recall, I’m old give me a break, that powers come along with puberty. martynW “Puberty powers” was definitely a trope in Marvel’s “X-Men,” but I don’t know about this story. They kind of “retconned” Superman some years ago so that he developed powers as a teenager. When I was a kid, “Superbaby” Clark was featured in many old Superman comics (for some reason he talked like Tarzan). The revision seemed sensible to me. Even as a kid I realized that a real superpowered two-year-old would probably end up murdering entire states. Heck, a superpowered teen would be problem enough (“Johnny Bates Syndrome”) Roland Goldberg Yes, it’s a given in this reality. All of them had their powers/changes occur at the same time and were relatively close in age. They were rounded up in camps because of it, which is where Allison met her old superhero gang. Ringing bells? 😀 Steele I think it’s chapter 3 where we get the “superhe- er, biodynamics are discovered” flashbacks, and it’s outright stated that no one over 15 had any powers at the time. Allison was in… 7th or 8th grade when hers started kicking in. All the other empowered people in the “not concentration camp” were revealed to be young teenagers. Cleaver was revealed to have “dynamorphed” at 14, iirc. So, around puberty. It’s a common trope in these sorts of stories. Weatherheight Puberty seems to be the prevailing answer, but it occurs to me that it may also be relative to the phenomenon itself – by which I mean, the phenomenon happened X years ago, and everyone developed powers within a 6 month window on either side of the anniversary of the event. That would appear to be puberty triggered while not actually having anything to do with those changes. Fact is, we haven’t been given a clear explanation, so I’d say “run with puberty until we get a better explanation”. Tylikcat a) Tina was probably a physically normal human until sometime in adolescence. b) Gender exists as a social construct separate from one’s physical body. You’re probably thinking of sex. Martine Votvik It makes a lot more sense to talk about gender when dealing with a person that no longer has a body and therefor none of the physical traits assosiated with either sex anymore. Liz Well, gender is and always has been kind of wibbly. But Tina identifies as female, so that’s what matters in assigning gender. JohnTomato Or was identified by parents? ∫Clémens×ds Gender has little to do with biology, for one. themadengineer Well, gender is a social construct. Plus, she probably didn’t start out life as an amoeba – gender doesn’t go away just because your body does. JohnTomato As I said, backstory. Martine Votvik Sex as a concept is also a social construct. It is descriptive of concrete physical traits, but it is loaded with meanings that has nothing to do with the traits it is describing. Richard Hughes This is a truly bizarre conversation to overhear. chaosvii Hm. this will require my tabletop fantasy lexicon to extract enough of the compassionate words for the job! Form? Shape? No one as opposed to nobody? Those look like the words that would be used to fulfill the promise to Tina. I’m glad our language at least allows for alternative words, but as Rian expressed, body is still a very relevant word in important circumstances, even if it isn’t necessary for several contexts where it is typically used. Working through what is plausible to do in order to reach an accord with so many different individuals is, once again, difficult. Hm, I wonder how Tina indicated her affirmation to the proposed arrangement, seeing as there was no on-panel auditory cue from anyone. Perhaps that blue thing on her vehicle affords her some non-verbal benefits? ∫Clémens×ds It is perfectly legitimate to want to change the conversation in way that make other people work through their wrong assumptions that a body is a given. It challenges them to think differently in way that acknowledge Tina’s struggle and don’t exclude her from the conversation. Whereas it could indeed turn out difficult, they found a compromise. Let’s stop with the “Tina is asking too much”, please? chaosvii Hahaha, wrong target. Still, it’d be nice if all those other people who are doing that stopped. As for what I’m doing, I was contemplating how much thought has to be put into these sorts of things. I was appreciating the challenge of doing the right thing, not doubting the notion that it is the right thing to do or even too much of an inconvenience to even attempt. Tina is not asking too much, she is requesting reasonable accommodations that aren’t exceedingly easy to pull off due to conflicting goals and familiarity with language that is presently exclusionary where once it was neutral. And thus I appreciate the patience, compassion, and thoughtfulness that is being exercised here in order to find that compromise. Weatherheight Habits of speech are always hard to break and require a ton of effort to ameliorate (such as my penchant for using words like “ameliorate”). Carefully considering your words is an exhausting process when putting pen to paper, and in my experience it’s even more draining to consider carefully what impact your spoken words will have on others. I feel very fortunate to have a group of friends who give me a place where I can be lazy (should I so choose) with word choices and be risqué, offensive, and generally socially unacceptable and realize that’s not the real me. The support group setting doesn’t lend itself to that very well, usually. I find myself also wondering about your wondering, in that her speech apparatus is probably highly geared towards correctly conveying the word choices and not so much the inflections associated with them. Those inflections convey a lot of meaning. And to emphasize my point, Kids in the Hall taking things way too far… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ke5BKi2uBpU chaosvii I’m going to express an opposing view that is very long because I have a lot of experience never feeling an iota of what you and likely most people mean when they talk about their feelings about talking. I’ll have you know that I go through that exhausting process of considering my words carefully by default, so I see it as more of an intellectual challenge than a social hindrance. My speech habit is to be careful, not out of an anxiety that I will harm others through my word choice, but that I will fail to convey my meaning by allowing an ambiguity to slip through. Which I later adapted to be supplemented by an inclusion of trendy words and phrases devoid of meaning as well as excising meaningful words that no one is actually expecting to hear about despite using words that, devoid of social context, are actually asking for said words. It took me quite a bit of time to realize that people generally don’t think about their wording during a conversation on anywhere near the level of contemplation that I do, so it really should be no surprise that most people come off as thoughtless when they talk to me and don’t enjoy having to be required to carefully pay attention to my speaking like a piece of literature during casual exchanges. Naturally my solution is to further reconsider on top of all the thinking I already do so as to determine how to speak so that I don’t cram every bit of meaning into what I say. People don’t want that until like maybe the second year of interaction, or some point where a close friendship has been developed. There are so many filler words, so many shortcuts to speaking that I refused to use due to their lack of clarity. But to my chagrin, these things are so common that they are nearly required in order to help people half-ass their listening and only ever glean the gist of what is being said rather than be mired in details about my thinking process that they’d rather learn about me over a period of months or not at all. People generally don’t want to hear what you think when they ask for your thoughts on something, they generally want your conclusions about that something. It’s the last bit of literal-mindedness I’ve shed in life. And as a result, I choose to consciously evaluate what most people have internalized in middle school in order to interact more effectively. All this has resulted in a strong appreciation of philosophy that strives to be precise in their meaning and a strong appreciation of how much work it is for anyone to actually slow down and break those unconscious habits of talking & listening that I never developed and have no desire to be bound by. (Inflection is indeed a huge deal, which makes my very nearly monotone speech with only subtle deviations away from such an addtional layer of uncommon speech for others to acclimate to when hearing my voice.) Due to my inverted speech habits, I don’t think I consider the impact my words have on others the way that most people feel odd about, I only focus on the contexts which shape the meaning of my words & select as according to what I want to have communicated. What I want to have said has respect as a valued contributor to successful communication, so any context that suggests that disrespectful word choice would inhibit meaning motivates me to reevaluate my options. But it really isn’t because I worry about others feeling bad, I worry that they’ll be too focused on something else in order to successfully pay attention to what I’m actually getting at. And so I take the time to think about how to get my words out regardless of how awkward it sounds, because I’m cool with the idea of coming off as awkward due to social convention & expectations of how people express themselves. I view all speech as an mess carefully navigating a bunch of stupid nonsense that people care about for little reason other than tradition, so it’s not really all that big a deal for me to alter my speech to fit clear objectives. Sadly, people are not always skilled at conveying objectives that they’ve never thought about until they meet me, the weirdo who never got the invisible memo that people are supposed to cater to this convention for no reason. And so I find myself preferring interactions with people that have unconventional objectives in their preferred interactions, because at least they know how to help me out by clearly stating what they want. I don’t think I experience a desire to orate any sentiments that are largely unacceptable by the wider society. I guess I just feel value in knowing that I’ve thought these things through and that they satisfy my particular epistemic standards. Besides, I can always go to a Youtube comment section and say whatever I strongly feel about and it will have be pretty damn isolated to that one spot. I say this all to let you know that while I may recognize a lot of the stuff you talk about abstractly, I will never feel as you do, and do not envy your struggles. Good luck with all that, and maybe my perspective is of utility with those conflicts 🙂 masterofbones Eh… being careful about using exclusionary language is one thing, but avoiding using an extremely common and useful word because it makes someone feel sad is excessive. I’m already iffy about trigger warnings, but this is extreme even for them. They are talking about their dynomorphism – namely, how their bodies changed, and the effects of those changes on their lives. GUESS WHAT, WE ARE GOING TO MENTION BODIES. Tina – Trigger warning, we are talking about bodies. If you don’t want to talk about bodies, then there is no point to you being here, and I don’t know how you intend to talk about your own issue without using the term body or a synonym. ∫Clémens×ds Dude, for your information, questioning the boundaries someone, anyone places is *extremely* violent. Don’t you do that again. Tina expressed her boundaries. The group has no say in her boundaries. Either they all find an arrangement, or Tina leaves to find someplace that will if it’s definitely too impractical, especially far away from jerks who will question her on her choices. Tylikcat I am so glad you’re here. Thank you. Vaporware Part of the difficulty here is that questioning boundaries is often a social necessity. If you do not clearly understand someone and their boundaries, conflict is almost inevitable, as has been shown here. Understanding begs interrogation and explanation. It is generally not enough simply to state that a boundary /exists/, especially on matters such as word choice or phrasing. Whatever forms we take, we are creatures of habit, and habit is not overcome as trivially as someone asking us to break them…especially for something that is so deeply ingrained in us as our individual habits of language. Asserting such a boundary without offering the opportunity to have that boundary explored and understood comes across as highly arbitrary, which is a source of much conflict between those who have a legitimate need for socio/memetic security and those who either do not understand the need for such or those who abuse the existence of such needs as a means of controlling conversations for any sort of personal satisfaction. It is, in effect, a violent act itself, one at least as violent as the act of interrogating such a boundary. It contravenes the basic impetus to communication shared by social species such as humans. More personally, it is an attack on an individual’s habits of /thought/…in many ways, an attack on someone’s use of language is a direct attack on the composition of a person’s soul: their basic patterns of thought and the whole schema through which they experience the world. It should come as no surprise then that some people find it distressing, especially if they are asked to simply shut up and accept it without question, or if their inquiries and attempts to garner understanding are met with outright rebukes…something which many people are conditioned directly /against/, since unquestioning obeisance is a tool for the very sort of tyrants that breed the sorts of trauma that perpetuates this whole family of difficulties in the first place. If we do not wish to become the monsters we fight, patience and /endurance/ are both needed. Understanding takes time, experience and exposure to cultivate. One must understand one’s own boundaries as well as the boundaries of others, and that cannot be accomplished if the terminology /of/ those boundaries is forbidden from use in discussing the reasons for that boundaries existence. Certainly, as one can observe from the lingual contortions in play here to avoid the term ‘body’, it can be at least rendered highly uncomfortable and far more arduous for everyone involved, which gives rise to those who reject such boundaries outright…effectively establishing a boundary themselves, which this sort of violent insistence both must and can not respect. Ultimately, improper or careless usage, or even excessive defensiveness of the concept of triggers, can cause as much or more stress and discomfort as that which it seeks to prevent, while impeding the process of mutual understanding, acceptance, healing, expression and actualization for those who so dearly need it. That went on a bit, didn’t it? *smile* Sorry about that. I hope, if nothing else, this illustrates that the issue of issuing or abiding by ‘trigger warnings’ is not as trivial or cut-and-dry as one would intuitively hope, due to the exigencies and interactions of the sophont experience. There’s probably a lot more to be unpacked here, but I suspect I’m already teal deering. ∫Clémens×ds I’m sorry, but no. It is that cut and dry. For the simple reason that you are entirely wrong to think establishing boundaries is violent; boundaries are never imposed on other people. They determine the people you allow in your life, on the contrary. What you’re entirely overlooking is that boundaries aren’t tyranny and the conversation isn’t controlled because you have always a way out (not addressing this person, this person deciding to leave the space they don’t deem safe) and if it’s something you’re keen on questioning then what the fuck man, you are not entitled to that person’s attention and time The rest, about questioning the reasons and cultivating understanding, is completely irrelevant to that question. Of course it’s not an impossible conversation to have in a safe environment with trusted people, but that’s not the point at all right now. The women here haven’t met to question each other trying to get to the bottom of themselves, they are to speak, in turn, in the way that accommodate them best. You don’t go to a support group to be probbed about your values and beliefs and decisions, are you insane Glen Raphael Whose definition of “violent” are you using here? Can demanding other people change their behavior to suit your random whims also count as “violent” under your definition? Suppose I claim the letter “e” offends me and demand the group stop using that letter in conversation – would questioning *that* restriction also count as “extremely violent”? If we weaken the meaning of the term “violent” so much as to include merely asking questions or objecting to a restriction, it’s not clear we should keep the connotation that being “violent” (under the new definition) is *wrong*. Is it? ∫Clémens×ds Violence is the removal of agency. Yes, questioning “that” restriction would be extremely violent as well. If you’re offended by the letter “e”, either the group manages a way around it, and it most likely won’t because you chose the most inane example (whereas legitimate ones without possible compromise definitely exist but gotcha, analogies are hard) or you leave. The conversation doesn’t stop on your account– YOU leave. And it may leave you alone eternally but that’s the price of the fundamental freedom of defining your own boundaries. Christophe2314 That is not “expressing her boundaries.” Tina has a right to demand that people do not touch her, that people do not insult her, that people do not refer to her using certain words, etc. She is allowed to express boundaries regarding other people’s treatment of her, and yes, people would be jerks for violating those boundaries. What she is doing here, however, is establishing as a boundary that no one is allowed to use a specific non-offensive word in conversations that do not relate to her within her hearing range. That is a completely unhealthy attitude that actually violates others’ right to express themselves in the ways that make them more comfortable. If I’d been raped, I wouldn’t go to a rape support group and demand that no one bring up that they’ve been raped because it triggers me. This is not just any word either: this support group exists specifically for people to talk about the issues brought about by their bodies. She is demanding that everyone in the room walk on eggshells when mentioning concepts that are crucial to the conversation. This in turn would make everyone else in the room feel that this is not a safe environment to talk freely about their issues, as using the language they’re comfortable with might cause them to be seen as jerks. Nice judging there, buddy, by the way. Look, it’s really simple: you get to decide what language you use to express yourself and what language others use when talking about you. You do not get to decide what language others use when talking about themselves or each other. ∫Clémens×ds If I’d been raped, I wouldn’t go to a rape support group and demand that no one bring up that they’ve been raped because it triggers me. It’s because you don’t know what you’re talking about. I urge you to stop giving your uninformed opinion willy nelly and start listening to people silently. What you don’t understand is that she could even establish the condition that people breathing around her is not something she accepts. It’s fine. It’s her choice. It’s going to be a choice she’ll have to live in solitude because nobody can do that, but you do NOT question that choice. It works in support groups and everywhere else in life. It’s *the* FUNDAMENTAL human right. Tina isn’t preventing the conversation to continue, she’ll be the one to leave if she doesn’t feel safe here. Random832 As this discussion has continued your position has become increasingly confusing, because it seemed like you were starting with the idea that if the group does not conform to her wishes, thereby causing her to need to leave, they have wronged her and ought to feel guilty/ashamed of their persistence in using the term “body” to talk about their own bodies. (To say nothing of, if she does leave, it may tear the group apart as people who sympathize with her fling accusations at people who were unable to accept the burden of complying) If this is not your position, you have completely and utterly failed to communicate that. Christophe2314 Okay, I’m going to apologize for that quote, I’ll admit it was out of line. That said, I would urge you to stop silencing everyone who doesn’t agree with you. You’ve been going around, being highly aggressive to everyone whose opinion on the matter doesn’t match yours, and generally suppressing the very concept of nuance. If you want a conversation, I’d be happy to have one based on mutual respect of each other’s intelligence. I will not however continue to speak with someone who attributes all dissenting opinions to ignorance. To do so would be pointless, as neither of us would learn anything from it. The fact is, this is not a cut and dry matter. You say the right to establish boundaries is “*the* FUNDAMENTAL human right”, but it’s not. That right is freedom, with its only limit being the freedom of others. Freedom encompasses the right to set boundaries, but also the right to free speech. Free speech in turn is a crucial component of a support group. When you go to a support group, you do so with the goal of being able to speak freely and without restriction, without fear of being judged. When you start banning words and concepts, you infringe on that right. At some point, you need to decide which you will prioritize: the right of the speaker to express themselves in the terms of their choice, or the right of the listeners to not expose themselves to those terms. In real life, one does not take precedence over the other: the two rights coexist uncomfortably, clashing on occasion, and people do their best to navigate around them. In a support group, where the whole point is to allow people to feel comfortable, you can’t let those two rights clash. You need to decide, right off the bat, which one will take priority. At any given moment, does the support group prioritize the comfort of the person speaking, or the person listening? Richard Hughes I feel like you’re using the word ‘violent’ in a very specific and technical way which may be confusing and alienating to people who don’t know the specific meaning you intend. It may advance your goals to elaborate on what you mean. ∫Clémens×ds Violence is the removal of agency. Walter Clem, I can tell you feel strongly about this. I…well, life has taught me the opposite lesson. I want to preface this by saying that I understand pretty well where you are coming from, and I have tried, very hard, to follow the course you are charting. For me, at least, it didn’t work. The thing of it is, if you swear up and down that everyone can set their own boundaries, and you will respect them all, you will run into sympathy maximizers. These will be people who swear they are offended by things that don’t offend everyone. No problem, they get their boundaries, right? But it is SO TOXIC. You don’t even know (or maybe you do, I don’t know you, of course). Tina mentions that this is the second time she’s had to set down her rule. We had a Tina too, and she ended the group. Didn’t take long. Our Tina’s (hereafter Waltertina) pet peeve was English. Her abuser had gaslighted her in English, but the support of her Spanish speaking family had allowed her to break away. So, Waltertina was hurt by people speaking English. So, she says this in the meeting, interrupting another person’s share to say that they are hurting her. The other person immediately shut up, and the group got really quiet. They limped on for a few weeks, but really they were done then and there. A flame war raged on the email thread, between people thinking that Waltertina needed to find a new group and people saying that they weren’t ok sharing a group with people who were exclusionary privileged bleeplords. Drama took on a life of its own and everything was over. By the time I unsubscribed they were calling one another bigots. Do I need to mention that Waltertina had a phone support job, and spoke English constantly? Course not. You knew it as soon as you heard the start of the story, because the sympathy maximizer is a recognized figure at any support setup. I fully understand the impulse that all boundaries must be respected, but I hope that you fully understand the fact that if that is your stated policy, there will be those who abuse it. Disabled people are still people, and people can be jerks. One of the most important things that a support group can have is a moderator who is both kind and stern, and who knows when to be which. It looks like this group has a good one, but please believe that ‘all kind, no stern’ will run into more problems than you might think. ∫Clémens×ds I empathize with this dilemma, and I want to start by saying first off that I have been very, very grumpy and not particularly indulgent in the comments because people are saying utter idiotic nonsense. I still think it’s the ideal that should be held primordial. Of course boundaries are a double edged sword, you get to establish your own as you see fit, and the compromise is that other people get to choose whether they abide by them or get out of your life. Build too much boundaries and nobody will be willing to cooperate. I won’t hazard telling you what should have been done in your specific case, obviously, and I realize entirely how that model could leave people who *need* extreme boundaries unable to find the support they need because their conditions are too strict. And having to let down the boundaries (sometimes put forth for your very mental sanity) for people to be able to talk with you just fucking sucks. My solution, and damn if I wish it was this naively simple, is to do whatever one individually can to be as accepting as possible, no matter how demanding some people may be. And inspire others to do the same. Walter I respect that solution, and hope that life lets you implement it. I can’t wear that halo anymore. I turned it in for a metaphorical sheriff’s badge. I’m afraid that the words of this comic that speak the most to me come from Daniel. “Allison, the people that you think are good..they are just small.” Random832 “I won’t hazard telling you what should have been done in your specific case” of course not. Nor do you, for all the words you’ve posted today, seem to be willing to put forth an answer to what should be done in the case presented in the comic. MrSing I think we stepped into the homo homini lupus est group instead of the safe space. They shouldn’t have hosted those right next to each other in retrospect. ∫Clémens×ds I suspect that’s the impression a lot of people who have no clue how support groups work will think, but it’s neither a constructive nor a respectable one. Rian didn’t say Tina should be left out, she addressed the potential problem respectfully and as you can witness, they found a solution. MrSing I meant more that instead of coming together it looks like they are ripping each other apart. You can’t tell me that some of them don’t feel very alienated from each other at this point. The only ones who seem to be ready to comprimise and make this work are Carmen, the councilor, and Rian. The rest seem to be ready to leave very fast when insulted or are very confrontational. If that makes me an unconstructive unrespectable human, so be it. ∫Clémens×ds Welp, sorry to bother your worldview, but support groups are indeed challenging places to journey into. Having to do some effort to contend everybody beats banning the concept altogether, though. Breaking news. MisterTeatime Moderator Girl is my new hero. Lostman Same here, still can fall apart next panel. Walter It happens sometimes. Etveck Wow, there’s some hostility coming through there. I come from a completely opposite mindset as you no doubt, and while I think some of what happens is clunky I don’t think you need to get so up in arms about a webcomic. And even if the people speaking in this circle are nutters that doesn’t disqualify their issues. And what you are saying about being half way between criticism and pandering is I think one of the strengths of the comic. It takes in to account the societal issues people are trying to tackle, while being impartial enough to recognise that because that may be so doesn’t excuse people from being a bunch of pricks. Playing the oppression olympics helps nobody, and for people that want to help everybody when acknowledgment of ‘lesser’ issues offends people that see those issues as belonging to the more privileged, those people are in the wrong there. Martine Votvik Disagreeing with Adrienne Herbst is fair enough, but why make a point out of her tone. She’s writing about something that upsets her, so why shouldn’t she sound upset about it, it seems entirely apropriate to me. There is no need to use ‘master suppression techniques'(google it) to undermine somebody if you have sound agruments. cloudy day, cloudy night Hi Martine, I mistakenly commented on this page using a disqus account linked to my real name. I’ve scrubbed the comments of that account link for googling purposes, and was wondering if you would mind editing my name out of your comment as well. Best Adrienne Martine Votvik np Liz Seeing a lot of well-intentioned but ignorant comments here about triggers, so I figured I’d give you all a quick lesson what they are, why they’re not stupid, and why you think they are. A trigger is some kind of sensory experience that has the potential to trigger an attack or generally set back healing for a person with PTSD. People with PTSD are given tools in order to deal with their triggers when they arise (if they go to therapy, which not everyone can afford). These tools are much more effective when there’s a warning in advance of the trigger so the person can prepare, hence trigger warnings. When you provide trigger warnings and avoid triggers, you are supporting the health and recovery of a person with PTSD. This is not the same as having something that makes you feel uncomfortable, which you all seem to be implying with Tina. Tina, by asking to avoid her trigger, is claiming that she went through a traumatic experience which has left her with PTSD. Having PTSD != being overly sensitive. The people in that group are being asked to voluntarily censor themselves so that they don’t hurt her health. “But saying ‘body’ is so common, so asking people to avoid it is stupid.” I know of a Vietnam vet who came home, sat down to dinner one night with his family, and then started having flashbacks at the dinner table when he saw the bowl of rice on it. After that his family didn’t eat rice ever again. Not because he was weak and needed cushioning, but because he had a condition and needed help in his recovery. Rice isn’t any more stupid a trigger than saying “body,” or any of the other more common trigger warnings for rape or slurs or violence. The reason why so many of you are equating “trigger” with “mamby-pamby liberal nonsense” is because in the past… 10 years? Feminist websites started prefacing articles about rape with trigger warnings, because they realized a significant number of their patrons were raped themselves and often had PTSD, and they didn’t want to set them back in their recovery. Because a lot of people equate feminism with mamby-pamby liberal nonsense in the first place, trigger warnings gained that connotation. This wasn’t helped by a few less informed people mistaking triggers with things that made them uncomfortable. These peoples’ prominence and numbers got blown way out of proportion by people who don’t like feminism, and now we’re stuck with their ignorance today. If somebody says that something triggers them, it is certainly possible they’ve confused “trigger” with “thing that makes me uncomfortable.” That *could* be the case with Tina here. Personally, I prefer to believe people who tell me they have triggers, since I don’t want to be the jerk that sets off an anxiety attack because I know some people abuse the term and this person might be one of them, just like I don’t question whether a poor person with an iphone is *really* poor. For those who want to read more about triggers: http://psychcentral.com/lib/what-is-a-trigger/ http://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/psychpedia/trigger http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/ptsd-triggers ∫Clémens×ds I wish I could upvote you a million times. Liz Glad to see this comment is getting so much positive traction. Just want to update it to address a few other comments I’ve seen underneath it. 1) Wholesale avoidance of all triggers forever is usually not the recommended approach to dealing with PTSD, this is true. But often, especially at the start of the healing process, it’s necessary for the time being. Until you really get a grip on the mental exercises and tools needed to deal with triggers (exercises you learn from a therapist, which not everyone can afford), it’s a totally viable approach to avoid them in some contexts for some period of time. Nobody asks recent vets to attend a series of fireworks displays to desensitize them to their gunshot-sound trigger as soon as their deployment ends. Healing takes time, and for Tina above, she’s at the point where she can’t have her trigger present in this context yet. 2) Context matters here – even though this is set up as a panel, it’s really a group therapy session. It’s where people are going to be voluntarily vulnerable, in order to move forward. Asking to avoid a trigger in this setting is a totally in-bounds request. Tina isn’t asking for everyone in the whole world to stop saying the word “body,” she’s asking her group therapy session to avoid it in this context. She’s also not deliberately inserting herself into a context where her trigger will be everywhere (the above vet going to a Chinese restaurant example) and asking everyone to stop using it. She’s not going to a festival dedicated to everyone’s appreciation of the word “body.” Again, totally reasonable request IN THIS CONTEXT. 3) When you actually *read* the articles to the tune of “Overly Sensitive College Students Demand Teacher Stop Teaching Kafka,” and cut through the opinionated bs, what usually happened was someone came to the teacher and asked if he could put in the syllabus or first day of class something like, “I’m going to be teaching about child molestation this semester. If you need a head’s up when it’s going to arise, email me.” TRIGGER WARNINGS ARE THE OPPOSITE OF CENSORSHIP. Someone who before might have to run out of the room crying and vomiting when their trigger arises and thereby miss the educational content, instead can sit through it and learn from it because they’ve had time to prepare. For reference: http://www.dailydot.com/via/trigger-warnings-not-censorship/ 4) If you genuinely believe there’s a “culture of victimhood” going around, or that feminism is now no longer necessary… I really don’t know what to tell you other than every single person who’s ever dedicated their lives to studying gender vehemently disagrees with you. Please go read some feminist literature, instead of what some rando on a forum tells you feminism is. Bell Hooks is a great resource. Gloria Anzaldua is a good place to go after that. There’s so many more that I’m not thinking of (anyone reading this, your rec’s?). Weatherheight Marvelous explanation. It applies to more than just PTSD, however. 😀 There’s a bit more, as well – understanding triggers and having them honored by others is a starting point for therapy. Eventually the patient needs to confront and overcome those triggers in order to become healthier, and that must be done in a situation where the patient trusts those around them not to harm them and their intentions, and that takes a lot of time for most folks. This meeting is probably going to trip a lot of triggers and sometimes in a not-so-healthy way. To my view, there are too many people with and between whom trust has not been established. The phrase “Too soon?” pops into my head – the moderator/counselor seemed to me to be a bit taken aback but did a reasonable job of handling it for what I’m guessing is this particular group’s first meeting. I wonder – are these initial meetings for newly formed small groups that will continue after the event is done? It seems more reasonable to me that is what this event is all about, but to me it hasn’t been made perfectly clear (I will concede I might have missed something along the way). David Gillon The other possibility is that they’re breakout meetings to look at what the issues are and feedback areas that need addressing to the main meeting, as things the American Dynamorph Association needs policy on. But if that’s the case this isn’t the way I’d have done it. Dogwood “Over and over again, this comic has presented people who actually face real world oppression and persecution– black women like Vanessa, disabled people like Tina, victims of sexual violence like Mary– as wrong, crazy, self-destructive, too angry, asking too much, too damaged to be capable of making a positive change.” I don’t think the comic is making such claims. Vanessa: It’s not the comic that thinks she’s dangerous, it’s Patrick, who’s holding her back because her pioneering engineering runs counter to his goals. His interference is portrayed as a bad thing, as it sparks Allison breaking up with him and sympathizing with Vanessa upon hearing how none of her inventions will be released. Tina: It’s too early to tell in full, but so far her distaste at the use of “bodies” is portrayed as sincere and not receiving ridicule. Mary: We don’t know if she’s been a victim of sexual assault herself. As numerous firemen prove, you don’t need to have been a victim of something to dedicate oneself against it. Ran > Vanessa: It’s not the comic that thinks she’s dangerous, it’s Patrick, who’s holding her back because her pioneering engineering runs counter to his goals. His interference is portrayed as a bad thing, as it sparks Allison breaking up with him and sympathizing with Vanessa upon hearing how none of her inventions will be released. It sounds like you’re talking about Paladin (Lisa Bradley)? Vanessa is the discussion-group participant who yelled at Carmen on the previous page (http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-6/page-60-3/). Amulya You mean Paladin/Lisa, not Vanessa… Christophe2314 Actually, Vanessa is the woman from last page who interrupted Carmen. chaosvii I think Honest Abe has a relevant thing to say about that: Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe. If the terms cannot fit, then the job cannot be done. They are talking to one another to gather support from one another. If what they say is not agreed upon as appropriate, then the ignoring the fact that they don’t know how to properly speak to one another is going to be wasteful. chaosvii I think it’s worse than what those words alone might imply: I think she used to have the only thing her adolescent psychology could ever call a body, and then it changed so much that she is currently unable to accept that the word body could ever describe how it currently is. I think that Tina cannot view her current shape as what is meant by the word body because she used to have a different shape, but lost it, leading to a belief that she lost her body entirely. Even though the word body could describe what she currently has to house her mind, she is not ready to accept that idea on a conceptual level. I hope that she comes to terms with not only what has happened, but what the word body can mean for her. Even if she continues to prefer other words. If I’m right about that, then I think it will be a wonderful thing for her to be able to accept the idea that what she has is the same psychological concept (if not the same archetype) that most people mean when they use the word body to describe their own shape or the shape of others. She does not need to describe it as a body, but I think it will mean a lot if she personally has the mental flexibility & resiliance to recognize that she is not necessarily being excluded when others use the word body to describe bodies. That she no longer needs to constantly revisit the pain of losing her prior form from a word that carries so much weight with her. Richard Hughes They were all human prior to the triggering event. As we saw with Danial, alias Cleaver, the process of transmutation can be abrupt and very traumatic. Tina’s request about the terminology used to discuss her morphology is honestly kind of a pain in the ass, and the way this all played out is… kind of ridiculous looking, but that’s what this support group is for. No one here is being particularly unreasonable, just, uh, ham-handed. Walter I mean, they are still human…yeah? Just a little different from most folks. Tsapki Well, it all depends how you qualify ‘human’. Do you qualify by genetics, mental capacity, or something else? Jeremy Is it appropriate not to use the word body? Most of the people in the group do have bodies. Wouldn’t it be better to acknowledge that Tina doesn’t have a body, and that raises sensitive issues, but other people have bodies? It’s hard to be inclusive if your banning a word that actually does apply to a lot of people. Also, when you have that range of biological diversity, banning every word that doesn’t apply to everyone in the group would be almost impossible – that would include banning the terms (and any discussion of) hair, limbs, face, see, hear, walk, talk, eat, sex, dancing, touch, smell, etc – anything that might not apply to one of them. That also seems to undermine part of the group experience. Part of the idea is to share each others experiences – if people aren’t able to listen to different experiences, a big part of being in the group is undermined. ∫Clémens×ds I have this one copied at this point, readied to be pasted ad via eternam. Don’t question people’s boundaries. Kid Chaos “Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful.” 😜 Tylikcat OMG, memories of my brother… ∫Clémens×ds …cause you felt overwhelmed by the amount of work you didn’t expect to have to do to not be a jerk to everybody else when you’re so used to never, ever, ever question your actions the rest of the time? Lostman Looking at the comments I’m wondering did things get this heated last arc with the trigger warning, and really touchy subject or, was I just not noticing. Because we get to this part, and everyone rolling up their slevees, or is that just me? 3-I Bienvenue a l’internet, mon ami. That happens all the time in a number of circles: Privileged people deciding that their own standards of what is offensive and what isn’t should trump basic human decency. It is seriously icky. It treats what’s convenient for them as the guiding force of morality, and what’s inconvenient for them as “unreasonable tripe.” I’m sort of surprised I’m upvoting you so much in this discussion, but I’m pleased to do it. Random832 What Richard Hughes There seems to be a certain degree of anguish in the other direction as well. Martine Votvik I don’t see the point in a support group that tries too hard to be a safe space. People should be able to talk about their own experiences using the language that they feel most comfortable using. It is hard enough naming your trauma without being interrupted halfway through and being told to use other words, so not to make other people feel unsafe. Especially in a womens group. There is so much shame and pain connected to that feeling, the fear of being disgusting, horrible, inconvenient or making others feel uncomfortable. Unless you can let go of that fear while talking you’re never going to get to talk about the things you have the most need to talk about. In a mixed group like this where people don’t know each other and might never meet again, there is also the risk that you will have one or more people who feel strongly alienated by the language the group leader is using. Possibly because they lack education in general, or because they never encountered that particular language before. They might feel stupid or unable to really participate as a consequence. The less they understand the less they will speak, fearing breaking the unkown norms. On the other hand words can be traumatic and triggering for people, this is real and it cannot be explained away. It is appropriate to deal with it. Telling people to suck it up or leave isn’t an option, so what do you do? Unfortunatly there is no perfect support group that adequatly deels with the need for all people. I still feel like it should be possible to talk about your trauma using your own words without being cided for it. But I also think that it should be appropriate to claim space later and talk about your own trauma hearing certain words. And I think support groups need to be viewed at least partially as exposure therapy for people with strong triggers when it is likely that the trigger will be brought up. Otherwise you might not be ready for group just yet, you might do better with ‘one on one’ theraphy until you feel stronger. Kate Blackwell Probably unintentional but this is coming off as a parody, the exchange about not being allowed to say “body” is why I find safe spaces and trigger warnings kind of silly in the first place. Rens http://seananmcguire.tumblr.com/post/105026477380 TL;DR: Regardless of whether you did so accidentally or intentionally, someone was hurt by your actions, and rather than apologizing for doing so and moving on you’re wasting even more time making it all about you. You’re being the opposite of helpful. And you’re still standing on his foot. Tsapki Indeed, how dare this person make a comment regarding your outlook without in depth knowledge on your personal experiences and hardships beforehand. Goatmon Because obviously there was no way for them to assess my position before rushing to condescending judgments. Lord knows you can’t just ask someone a question about their situation to make sure you don’t accidentally insult them or anything. Kate Blackwell What if someone is made to feel bad or hurt by displays of homosexuality? Like if a homophone were to ask two guys not to hold hands you wouldn’t argue about the validity of their request either? ukulady7 You know that isn’t the same thing at all. No one’s feelings have ever been hurt by homosexuality. Did you really just compare PTSD to bigotry? ∫Clémens×ds …except in the specific situations where it is agreed upon. I don’t know Tina, and leading a pretty uncomfortable unprivileged life doesn’t prevent from potentially being a real jerk. Maybe she could be pretty flippant about people who don’t know her trigger using it in her presence unknowingly. That’s what you’re concerned about, that she would come to your house and tell you how to speak. But that’s just not how it works, at all. The reason I’ve been (more vehemently than I should) disagreeing with you is that Tina isn’t coming to your house. Or if she is, she will ask that you respect her wishes, and if you decide not to, she won’t come. Your way of life and/or expression is affected only with your permission. I hope that clears up what wasn’t immediatly apparent before, that besides your concerns, people drawing up their boundaries, that you are never in a position to question isn’t infringing on your liberties. If it still does, it’s because you think people owe you their time and attention on your terms instead of theirs, or in other words, that you’re entitled to a conversation. And you’re not. ∫Clémens×ds That’s what I’m trying to get at with “mansplaining”, what you’re defining here. The urge to to explain to other people how they actually feel and if they do so wrong according to halfassed logic. We do need a word to define that without what adding man in it needlessly conveys, but it’s undeniable men do it way more. ∫Clémens×ds I won’t refrain from using it, so I suggest you leave if you don’t want to be subjected to its use, because that’s how it actually works. If the rules of this comment sections change, however, and the term was indeed forbidden by the moderators to cater to sarcastic assclowns, I’d agree immediately. ∫Clémens×ds Do you have an example? I haven’t seen it anywhere. But then I’m a descriptivist so I’d be fine if that was indeed the case. Kate Blackwell The term “mansplaining” and variations of it triggers me, can we stop using that word? ∫Clémens×ds I feel that you’re far less worse than the rest, talking about practicality instead of saying that Tina is wrong to feel this way. So I’ll just say this: what would you think would have happened if the solution of the facilitator was rejected, deemed to difficult to follow? You seem to live with the belief that they would all have said “welp, I guess you’re just going to have to power through it Tina”, which, what No. Tina, like she said herself, would have left. Solutions can be found, compromises sought out. One which necessitates someone to give up their boundaries? Never a solution. Ever. ∫Clémens×ds Okay. You display an understanding of the issue at least on par and certainly well above mine, one that justifies the nuances you’re intent on exploring. I mostly agree with everything you’re saying, and I apologize for my tone. Not an excuse in any way, but I hope you’re empathetic to the frustration I’ve been feeling responding to these comments (here’s a good one) that left me increasingly bitter and unwilling to converse in a constructive fashion. For the most part, you agree with my opinion. I’m not an authority on the subject anyway, –and I still believe my view is the ideal to strive for, albeit necessarily complicated and compromised by reality, especially against that which states that ‘life is tough, wear a hat, your triggers are stupid’, that is still the mainstream one– and you’re going to need to find someone better learned than I if you want to debate the issues you raise constructively. Campor ‘For the most part, you agree with my opinion.’ This is the crux of why people who disagree with you aren’t often responding with reasonable arguments- You act the same exact way to everyone who disagrees with you regardless of what you know of their experience. You seem to inherently believe you know better if they don’t think the way you do even though you don’t know what hardships they’ve experienced, what events they’ve gone through in their lives. You simply assume they’re privileged in some way and strike back violently if they don’t agree with how you see things. I know you’ve stated you’re frustrated by the comments, but that’s really no excuse. You SAY it’s no excuse as well which is admirable, but I’ve seen responses more recently that show the same sort of vitriol and judgmental attitudes. Generally, and I feel like you’d agree with this sentiment given what you’ve said, if you know that what you’re doing or have been doing is wrong, it’s also wrong not to try and correct it. Psile You know, when I first read this page I rolled my eyes. The whole conversation seemed so very surreal to me, just a whole bunch of words that stemmed from someone asking people not to use a word that is pretty normal and not really threatening at all. As people in the comments have pointed out, Tina is technically a body. It seemed like a parody, like the “I sexually identify as a helicopter” meme. I was pretty sure this isn’t what the author was going for so I read it a couple more times and after a bit it clicked into place. The expressions “safe place” and “trigger warning” are widely decried on the internet for essentially being unrealistic expectations. The world isn’t safe and people will be rude to you. You have to learn to deal with it. Can’t change your problems, but you can change how you deal with them and all that. However it occurred to me that the support group isn’t supposed to be the ‘real world’. It’s supposed to be somewhere that people who aren’t ‘normal’ can feel normal. That’s the whole point. Basically everyone there has to walk through life with the fundamental knowledge that they are different from everyone else, and that difference is reinforced with advertisement, television show, or video game. It’s constant. So the support group is supposed to be a place where people don’t have to feel so left out, and as a result people are supposed to feel more free to talk about what really irks them, even if it is something that they don’t ordinarily feel comfortable bringing up. I’m sure that Tina can’t go through her whole life insisting that people don’t use the word “body” all day every day. She would basically be heaping another social issue on top of what she already has to deal with. But in a place by dynamorphs for dynamorphs she felt comfortable bringing up the subject because she was told that it would be a place where she wouldn’t be made to feel left out, even subtly. Does this require a high level of social consciousness from literally everyone there? Yeah. Will everyone go to the trouble to exercise that consciousness? Probably not. That kind of consciousness would be something that would be exhausting to keep up day to day but for this moment everyone is trying to get together and include everyone. That might mean limiting their speech some, but that’s what they agreed to when they went there in exchange for other people affording them the same courtesy. So for those that are freaking out about Tina being “sensitive” in a way she is being sensitive. She’s expressing a feeling that she usually keeps to herself and just soldiers through, maybe even around her own family or friends. It’s a feeling about something she is confronted with daily, and if she’s confronted with it even here then she isn’t in a really safe place. For those of you jumping down other commentator’s throats just remember that they probably are thinking of it in the context of themselves just going about their life and they say the word “body” and someone jumps all over them. ∫Clémens×ds You have a fairly common uninformed view of the matter. There are many, many sources to get a better understanding and hopefully stray out from that despicable opinion (one which can definitely be fearmongered by jerks to fit solidly into your belief system, like the links you’re showing.) Here’s a video you should watch. It’s not the best, but it could potentially challenge your opinion and open you up to a more critical approach to that question, and allow for a better reflection than the one you currently have. Richard Hughes I’m extrapolating from what we know about Daniel and the power-granting event, and from what we see of Tina. We know from the flashbacks in to Alison’s past that all powers happened more or less the same time; we know from the flashbacks in to Daniel’s past that bodily transformations could be abrupt and terrifying and traumatic. I’m assuming until there’s evidence otherwise that Tina’s transformation was similarly abrupt, and given that, unlike Daniel, her ‘after’ picture has no face and no voice, I’m assuming it was even more alarming and traumatic. Lostman I was think more social context but more along the lines how different people react to the same thing, seeing how no in a real context of anything in existance changng in a sentient pool of goo we can speculatively. Yes if this was sixteen year girl, yes I can very much understand how one can get PSTD. However let’s put in a different individual in this situation; let’s say a thirdly year old man who may have differencing circumstance then Tina. Does it play out the same? or what about someone being born this way? Arkone Axon Thank you for understanding that I’m actually asking a question and not implying some sort of bigotry. Arkone Axon That last one is actually why we’re questioning and commenting here. This is not a person who can be offended by our words, because she isn’t in our world to read them. Her issues are literally unlike anything anyone in our world has to deal with, and so no one can dismiss them because they don’t believe that people with those issues have a right to complain. The thing is… pretty much EVERYONE has issues to deal with. The oft-maligned “cisgendered heterosexual white males” commit suicide at such high rates that it’s been called a “silent epidemic” among those who care… as opposed to those who would immediately dismiss them with “check your privilege” in a total disregard of the fact that these “privileged” people are suffering in silence because they’re afraid that if they went to a support group, or even opened up emotionally, they would have deliberate attacks made against their revealed vulnerabilities. (And I’m sure a few of you read this and immediately scoffed at me for “trying to claim victimhood for privileged white males.” Which only further proves my point – I’m talking about people crying in the privacy of their home while they contemplate eating the barrel of a gun) Everyone has issues. This comic is showing that beautifully – an objectified green skinned woman has been told by an armor plated woman that because she’s not as disadvantaged she doesn’t have the right to complain, only to have someone lacking any sort of body at all speak up. So a lot of people who have never been to a support group are seeing a depiction. Is this a parody? Is this accurate? Is this a thing where those of us suffering from depression, or trauma, but who have always been afraid to open up might find some healing? The thing I’ve always loved about this comic is how it educates. Jeremy Ummm, we are discussing fictional characters in a comic strip, right? Don’t fictional stories provide an opportunity to discuss and reflect on complicated social issues? I’m not invading actual group therapy sessions to enforce my own standards – I’m reflecting on what it would be like to try and manage the discussion being presented in this strip. On a practical level, dealing with the diversity of that group would be tremendously challenging, since they could all have very serious triggers. At a certain point they’re all probably have to be patient with each other, and willing to compromise, in order to have any sort of conversation. For example, see the earlier interaction, where one character was upset that another was discussing her sex life, because character one can’t have sex at all. The group will have to decide if that means that 1) they ban all references to sex (like references to “body”) or 2) that they allow that as a topic, but do it sensitively, or 3) Something else entirely. A challenge with triggers is deciding whether the existence of a trigger means that the issue can’t be addressed at all, or that it can be discussed, but with awareness of the difficulty of the subject. Lostman It could be also everyone political view on the matter what’s getting everyone riled up. If I remember correctly from that arc is that Mary was the ‘villain’… or at least the subject (Now I have to wonder if it was a guy, thot our reaction would be different). To my mind at least Mary was this fantic who wanted to change the world, and started doing with it the only way she how. This is also why so many people believes that she was sexually assuatled as it fit cretain narratives we in our media. I however view Mary as a terrorist, a very rare (if not non-existence) kind that are on the left-wing that are using violence couse fear in a cretain sect of people more than inspiring others to follow along. Originally I thought she was more of the latter then the former, thinking the rapists she kills in more open ways the more the people she ‘repsentants’ to follow in these actions. Thus creating Social Justice revolutionary movement. However after some thinking she is more of the former as there is no real end goal to her maddness: just keep killing unlit there is no more to kill. Tylikcat (But how he went from being an adorable snarky occasionally cross-dressing eleven year old to a gamergating MRA troll who indeed, has never held a job and lives in our father’s basement is a long, sad and extremely frustrating story. I actually liked it better when dad was supporting him to live in SF and be a playboy, and I never thought I’d say that. Argh. This is super off topic. I’m just frustrated and venting.) Tylikcat Huh. Actually, while I hadn’t actually thought of her as such, “coded black” fits my initial reaction to her. * Her non plate layer is dark. * She’s large and imposing and a lot of the reaction she deals with from people is from being “scary”. * Her immediate pressing issues are ones of poverty and overt discrimination, contrasted against Carmen’s more subtle and personal discrimination issues. In many ways this mirrors some of the dynamics one gets in, say, feminism between white women and women of color. (Mind you, to say I think this is a valid reading isn’t to say I think it’s the only valid reading.) Weatherheight There goes that filter again – didn’t even think about who she was “before” and now I’m wondering… It is human to pigeonhole, to compare and contrast and define. Not always helpful or kind, but human. Main reason I love this comic and forum – I spend a lot of time wondering. David Gillon “For the purposes of the next hour, can people please not say ‘body’ as it’s a major trigger”. it’s no more unreasonable than asking people to respect “My pronouns are ”” and the better cons are all onboard with pronouns nowadays, often making space for them on badges. Tylikcat See, now, I actually spend a lot of time at a university. And part of what I do is teach and work with undergraduates. So when I hear statements like this, I have to wonder what in the ever loving heck (this just doesn’t have the amplitude to qualify for hell) you’re talking about. Neutered? Sheltered? …you’ve been spending a lot more time reading blogs with certain sort biases than you have around campuses, haven’t you? I mean, sure, students can do all kinds of shenanigans in their own organizations. It’s kind of funny – we spend all this time moaning and groaning about how today’s youth are apathetic and disengaged! And then if they go out and get engaged and get passionate about things, we freak out about what they’re passionate about. Also, get off my fucking lawn, and that noise they listen to! Yeah, student orgs are going to do stupid things. It’s pretty much definitional. How else are students going to learn any better? But in classes? I’m not saying that there aren’t ever issues (though I see a lot more hand wringing that I see anything of substance), but I most of my colleagues don’t put up with whining from their students, and don’t have any trouble doing so. And I teach pre-meds – there are some pretty epic attempts at whining that show up every year. Nuh-uh. (Mind you, on the whole my students are great. But, well, pre-meds will be pre-meds.) The one theme I will mention is that a few incidents that have been popularity attributed to bratty entitled students (or sheltered overly sensitive students or whatever) sound an awful lot more like administration not backing faculty from where I sit. You’re afraid of you students? Oh for crying out loud, call it by its real name – you’re afraid of your tenure review committee and/or whoever oversees your contract. Don’t blame the students, who generally have the least power in the situation, blame the schools that aren’t backing their own faculty up. (Understanding adjunct hiring practices helps a bit here too. Yeah, non tenured faculty being treated as disposable is a problem. But it’s a *different* problem.) Zedsdead Even if it’s not really a trigger word, “mansplaining” is lazy and dismissive and usually used hypocritically. It taints associated words that have value (eg privilege) with its hypocrisy. It needs to be retired. David Gillon It describes a very real phenomenon that we experience as members of disadvantaged minority groups, with members of privileged majority groups trying to dictate how we are allowed to interpret our lived experience. Let’s take ablesplaining from Autism Speaks as a comparatively well publicised real world example. They’ve spent years telling autistic self-advocates: “Oh, no, you poor dear, you aren’t being discriminated against, it’s just that if you were really disabled enough to be covered by our charity then you wouldn’t be competent to be on its board” Mansplaining and its variants, like ablesplaining, are a very real problem, and we need a word to describe them. If you don’t like the word, fix the damned problem! Rumble in the Tumble “If you don’t like the word, fix the damned problem!” Well, gotta go and call the criminal part of the black community the n-word, then :^) Weatherheight As someone who’s been in that room (metaphorically of course), I can assure you that that exchange is very, very real. Perhaps overplayed by the obvious physical differences, but sometimes excess is needed to sharpen boundaries to make a point. Weatherheight I wondered if the tank is, for her, like a car is for us. To wit… My assumption was that Tina is gaseous. I wonder if Tina is stable so long as there is minimal air currents, but the act of traveling outside is subjecting her to wind and vectors that not only violate her integrity but is “physically” painful (gee, this is getting messy fast, isn’t it? plowing on…). While she has clearly thus far been able to hold herself together, the fear of being dissipated must be huge in her life. I can imagine her being stuck in her home for years, in a situation where moving from room to room requires an exhausting expenditure of will and involves pain as well. That tank would protect her from buffeting winds, would allow her to go to and to see a whole new world, let her meet so many new people – most of whom would be unable to relate to her in any meaningful way at first. That must also have been crushing. In addition, is it self powered and able to be controlled by her, or is she wheeled around? I have a few friends in wheelchairs and other mobility devices, and while they are generally adapted to their limits, they still feel a lot of frustration about being dependent on someone else sometimes. This is all speculation, mind you, but is it really all that far-fetched? David Gillon Speaking as a wheelchair user, society has entirely the wrong idea about wheelchairs, seeing them as restrictive. If you think needing a chair is restrictive, try not having one…. Wheelchairs are actually incredibly liberating. When I made the transition from crutches to chair last year I was kicking myself for not having done it a decade ago. As soon as I had it I was back to being able to shop for myself, to not having to worry about how long I might be on my feet, and so on. Yes, there are a few new restrictions on where I can get to*, but the overall set of places I can access suddenly increased massively. *Geography gets a pass, society and the built environment not so much. Richard Hughes Man, this is all shit I want to know. Weatherheight Paragraph three – very nicely put. 😀 Weatherheight It’s interesting to me that some of us (maybe most of us?) “see” Tina as a “body” of water/ooze while others (well, me at least) “see” her as a “body” of gas. Ties back into the whole “assumptions based on what we see and what we see being based on our assumptions” problem in perception and processing, doesn’t it? Cognitive filtering – “I’m in yur brain, changing yur wurld.” Weatherheight “Let’s start at the very beginning A very good place to start…” Weatherheight Sometimes, to get understanding, you have to be very misunderstanding indeed. I think we’re a good enough community here to cut you some slack. 😀 I, for one, appreciate your desire both for understanding and for forgiveness when you access that better understanding in the first paragraph. That’s a rare thing to show humility in this world. Blessings of the Eternal in your life for being an example of “better”. Weatherheight All that and a French lesson. I think you deserve it, at least a little. 😀 Weatherheight The idea of social conventions on the internet leads me to wonder if they impact our lives beyond the internet – is the Internet more polarizing or more uniting, in the long run? It seems like it’s giving a forum for every troll out there to legitimize their beliefs, but it also encourages the “marketplace of ideas”, where people are more likely to run into ideas they’ve never considered and thereby they are forced to examine those ideas, in at least a cursory way. Had someone told me twenty years ago that (for an obvious example) the Supreme Court would extend marriage laws to everyone, I would never have believed it, but it happened. Other forms of social justice are still lagging, but at least some moves toward social equality and treating everyone fairly are making some very hesitant steps in that direction. Is that impacted by how we communicate in the information age? And how could we even measure / examine that (one of the reasons I would not make a good scientist is that I have problems formulating experiments – I am pretty good at vague questions, though 😀 )? Weatherheight Heh – in one sense, the Tower of Babel is also surprisingly ironic. 😀 And I think the regulars “get it”. Part of the reason I’ve been less of a blabbermouth than usual is that I get that it’s hard to understand what’s happening in this stretch of comics unless you’ve been involved in some way, and I’m trying *really* hard not to be more of an ass than I am. While I don’t necessarily agree with some folks, that doesn’t mean that they’re inherently wrong, they’re just standing in a different place and trying to understand what they’re seeing. On the other hand, sometimes you need to call a shovel a shovel. 😀 Tylikcat People get so weird about this kind of thing in a classroom context, and yet in my experience, it’s so entirely reasonable and innocuous. Mostly it’s just a professor saying “By the way, starting next week we’re going to be talking about issues of rape and child abuse in fairly graphic terms, so if this is a problem for you, please contact me and we’ll figure out how to go forward.” …and mostly, that’s it. And occasionally, a (usually pretty diffident) student will contact you, explain their issue, and you work something out. I spend far more time convincing students to ask for accommodations that will really help them out that they’re embarrassed to admit they need. (“Please! You’re obviously really smart! Don’t do this to yourself!”) I have yet to have students ask to be excused from the human sexuality portion of anatomy and physiology, though it’s possible that there’s a standing bet on it. They won’t be excused from the material – honestly, I don’t care if they don’t show up for the lectures, that’s on them. (And they get a few excused absences, so they can burn them how they like.) Tylikcat “Poor souls”?! Sweetie, I am no one’s poor soul. I am outspoken, bitchy, accomplished and ass-kicking (both literally and figuratively). This has no real bearing on whether or not I have had (and still have, if somewhat less so) PTSD, and, indeed, still have triggers. Okay, it maybe have slightly increased the bitchiness. That I’m not so quivering wreck doesn’t mean that the rest of it is somehow less real. I am complex. David Gillon Amen! And picking up the disability education baton, we are not ‘poor souls’, neither are we: victims, suffering, vulnerable, brave, inspirational or any of the other terms that society has traditionally used to reduce us to the status of children and make our disability about you feeling good with yourselves. Tylikcat I was about to say “It’s kind of worked the other way for me,” …and then it occurred to me that I’m now at three times that I’ve broken bones in my feet and walked on them for at least a week because it didn’t seem that bad.* And one of them might have confounding factors – a number of folks I’d known had died and yo, that week just sucked – but mostly, yeah, increased pain tolerance and wanting to make absolutely certain that there is no doubt that anyone could possibly call me a whiner… well, yeah. Not the best combination. * No bone density issues – actually, I’m pretty sturdy. It’s more of a lifestyle thing. David Gillon “it didn’t seem that bad”. BTDT. I didn’t notice, for a decade, that I was getting at least one incident of acute pancreatitis a year because “Meh, back’s a bit worse than normal today” (admittedly in this case ‘a bit worse’ meant peaking at 9, instead of the usual 8). It was only when an incident a couple of years ago reached the point I was struggling to breathe that I figured out there might be something more going on and dialled 999. They kept me in hospital for 10 days and whipped out my gall bladder a few months later And that’s why I side-eye neuroplasticity ;). chaosvii Sounds like it all fits and reinforces the paradigm yeah. I’m in a different position where I view those things as a symptom of opportunity to wrong others combined with a lack of motive & opportunity to participate in a way that avoids wronging others due to malformed social forces & such. Those that have wronged me, I had the luxury of coming to understand that while they obviously had very bad reasons for doing it, it nonetheless felt like a very compelling reason at the time for them because they couldn’t think about it or were trained by others to embrace their own cognitive dissonance & thus avoid thinking about it. Gotta give you props for finding ways to isolate yourself from people who suck. That’s a pretty daily conflict for me too. The little things constantly going on around you isn’t something I have much in the way of meaningful ideas about though. I cope with that by using the Internet to find all sorts of cool stuff out in the world that exceptional people do, and by dedication of my free time to making good art. (Oh, and I don’t imbibe 24 news cycles, instead using local news coverage to explore things I care about. I of the mindset that it helps have a sense of perspective about what’s going on locally). I find that everyone’s ugliness is unique, if a tad similarly shaped. And so the monster that I have been and may well be again will never be the monster that anyone else will be. The horrors that I anticipate are mine alone, and there is no external evil of which will conform to it unless I choose to manifest it by mine own hand. ∫Clémens×ds Keep upholding the norms defined by and answering to the needs of the powerful, I don’t care about your opinions anymore. ∫Clémens×ds Meaning you don’t see the difference between people who are genuine and those who ask that in blatant mockery of the principle? Alex But by your own arguments again, you don’t get to question whether someone’s stated boundaries are genuine. I obviously accept that privilege is a thing, and that the straight/cis/white/able/male group have it over the rest of us. And as a counter-snark to the below, if ‘MRAs’ actually supported mens rights where appropriate rather than being a group of sexist assholes trying to bring back the 1830s I might have time for them too. But, I don’t like the term ‘Mansplaining’ any more than I like being mocked as a ‘SJW’ or like being discriminated against for any of the many things that put me out of that privileged category. And I can fully understand why someone either in or out of that category would have a problem with the term. In truth, I agree the person was probably being sarcastic. Not least by throwing in that tasteful line about ‘Mens Rights Activists’. But by responding in a way that is counter to your own arguments to everyone else, you weaken them. And to be fair, it is a pretty cheap shot to call ‘Mansplaining’ on things, and it’s not helpful to serious discussion. ∫Clémens×ds If you’re actually, genuinely open to challenging your opinion, then I’ll just say there are people who can do it way better than I can. Read David Gillon’s comments, Tilikcat’s. I call your opinion despicable because it’s harmful, toxic, and worst of all, ungodly common. That’s the mainstream view of the matter. That’s why I’m not willing to acknowledge it as on par with our own albeit opposite and as such, consider it respectfully. When somebody says “I don’t believe gravity is real, prove me wrong”, people don’t respond to it like it challenges their own. David Gillon You’re doing a pretty good job here in your own right. Tylikcat and I might be able to build on it into different areas of specifics, but you’re rock solid on the foundations. ∫Clémens×ds How the heck does that matter? Can you seriously not see how saying “she doesn’t act like this is a real trigger for her” reveals how you think it works for real life? ∫Clémens×ds My, aren’t I lucky to find the very best ones. ∫Clémens×ds I don’t hold the most contentious of opinions when I see unlimited agency, that to infringe upon others’ and cause harm, is not a good thing, y’know ∫Clémens×ds “Ask questions” and “question” aren’t the same thing. The latter implies putting the validity of what’s questioned under external scrutiny. Concerning the boundaries of others, it’s not okay. Ask questions, respectfully, granted the person is okay with it, is fine. ∫Clémens×ds I don’t like hiding behind the pretense of objectivity to avoid confronting the fact that men do it way more. Sounds very “All lives matter”. ∫Clémens×ds I genuinely urge you to reflect upon and rethink the ease with which you disregard the agreement they all made in this very page on their own terms and why on earth it isn’t enough for you. I haven’t discussed anywhere the validity of that group, as you can see reading the rest of my comments, not necessarily because I think it’s perfectly functional, but because the solution they found on their own terms is to be respected. ∫Clémens×ds My comment was way out of line, and I apologize. It won’t necessarily make you empathize and it is by no means an excuse but my anger? It’s because this: https://disqus.com/home/discussion/strongfemaleprotagonist/page_61_25/#comment-2778562905 has pretty much been my weekend. I am not here to educate. I don’t have the authority, the experience or even the intelligence to. When the comments came out Friday and I saw they pretty much all were “I will assert my opinion that Tina is wrong”, I felt it was necessary to put a front to that awful idea. Under no circumstance let the hegemony think it was okay. Considering the upvotes I first got (and then lost due to my increasing pettiness), I feel it at least gave some people who don’t comment something to hold on to and not despair as I kind of did. I commented for them. Not for those I responded to. I’m going to say this, about all you’ve said. The criticism you showcased is harmful, in how you showcased it. Questioning an unchallenged authority doesn’t need finesse, and sometimes even need violence. The only time violence is justified. But questioning the oppressed does, infinitely. Next time you’re not sure how to feel about how unprivileged people work through their struggles, frame it as a question. It’s not weakness. Always start off with the assumption your doubt comes from privilege, not knowing better. It might not consistently be warranted every time, but it’s just too high a risk to take. The risk is that you’ll be among so many, to question in such a loud way, that it’ll end up silencing people know need to express themselves the most. I seriously urge you to reread your first comment and try to realize how much it comes off as silencing. This is not your fault, it’s because men and especially white men are culturally taught that their opinions matter more than others, and that there can be possibly no harm in assessing it. But there is. Steele I understand that she’d have issues! But I’m unable to see how people saying the word “body” exacerbates those issues. Let’s take some fictional examples of these sorts of things (because it’s not my place to discuss the issues of people i know in real life here): Storm (from X-Men) has Claustrophobia. When she was young, a bombing buried her in a building next to her now-dead parents. And she was trapped there for DAYS. So, enclosed spaces scare the shit out of her to the point that she loses all control of herself and her powers. There’s an associative link there. Rouge, also from X-Men, has the ability to absorb people’s abilities, energy and minds by direct contact. You’d think she’s never have a problem absorbing people’s powers, or that she’d relish at the chance to briefly get inside a lover’s mind with a kiss… except her powers manifested while she was making out with her first boyfriend and she put him into a coma. Add onto this that she was kicked out of her home by mutant-phobic parents, and she was scared shitless for a long time of touching anyone, let alone falling in love again (this only got worse when she was forced to nearly kill a super hero to gain their powers). She eventually used her natural abilities more and more, and slowly got closer to people, particularly Gambit, but it took a LONG time and a lot of therapy. Basically, she’s scared of killing someone, especially someone she loves, because she almost DID. That’s an associative link. Tina? Turned into a pile of goo. Which is HORRIFYING… but she isn’t acting horrified at being reminded of it. People don’t talk the way she does when they’re in a state of distress… at least, no one I’ve ever talked to or read about. Though you do make a good point about someone losing their eyesight, for example. I bet they’d HATE hearing someone say ‘Oh man, I love having functioning eyeballs! Oh, sorry, can’t you SEE I’m kidding? ha ha…” Though I’d probably go into a rage and take a swing at the person (and miss and stumble and get laughed at more), not sit there and politely talk about triggers and safe spaces. So either Tina is exaggerating, or can’t properly emote, or is just being badly written. Personally, I’m on #3 there. ∫Clémens×ds Victims and minorities don’t have power. That’s kind of the point. Questioning boundaries is very useful, but it’s only okay to do on their terms, not whenever is most practical. I don’t know you, but you need to realize how much power imbalance there is in preaching a relativist approach to everything when you’re privileged and other people aren’t. MrSing Victims and minorities do have power. How often don’t we see that an abuser had been abused in the past? Power is relative after all. An abused mother can be abusive to her husband and child. A poor man can kill a rich man in the street. Being abused does not make you a good person, or harmless. Nothing is above critique, because as soon as someone tells you “you can’t question me” you should become incredibly suspicious. Denying someone their RIGHTS to have certain boundaries is not okay. Not being able to even TALK about those boundaries is not okay. ∫Clémens×ds Do you also have Black friends? Steele I read her post, and I clicked the links. And that’s why I posted what I did: triggers are a defense mechanism with various symptoms… symptoms Tina is incapable of having, unless like you said her new form has all its own processes, which I’ll admit I didn’t think of. Still, without the ability to move or speak on her own, it seems odd that her form would retain THAT particular functionality. “Yup, can’t move, can’t talk, can’t eat, can’t poop, don’t need to breathe, can’t smell, can’t feel, can’t taste, probably can’t see or hear very well, need a robot to do all these things for me… but I can EXPERIENCE ANXIETY! Thanks, random mutation!” …actually, that’s probably exactly how it works and I feel bad now. =( I never meant to imply she can’t feel emotions. But anxiety is more than just an emotion, it’s a whole-body fight-or-flight response that goes into overdrive using the systems i mentioned earlier. Without them… well, I can see Tina getting upset, or envious, or mad, or a mix of these things. But I dunno about an all-out tri- Wait. *looks at page again* I… I could have SWORN she used the word “trigger” when I first read this. That’s why so many people were commenting on this back-and-forth. Did they ninja-edit this? I mean, that was half the reason I posted to begin with. I… kinda feel like an ass now? =( Steele I don’t think she’s a social bully, I just think the creators are laying on the social justice lingo on a bit thick. Though Tina isn’t using the word “trigger” even though I swear to god she did, so it’s a moot point since her sentence reads a little better now… David Gillon Not Clemens, obviously, but when people denigrate the existence of a disability for political reasons, then ‘despicable’ seems perfectly reasonable to me. Trigger warnings are an accomodation* to PTSD, a psychological disability fully accepted by the psychiatric community. A disability you saw fit to deride as being ‘a sad sack’. It’s not just despicable, it’s a form of ableism, and I’m really disturbed your message got through moderation. * And accomodations are legally required under ADA. I believe there’s also another Federal law WRT universities in receipt of Federal fund that makes providing accomodations/preventing discrimination a condition of that funding. A lecturer who refuses to provide trigger warnings potentially exposes his university to being sued for disability discrimination and loss of Federal funding. David Gillon Just noted a typo in my post above. “severe PTSD at 1/3%” should read “1.3%” David Gillon Tina is a reflection of a real world issue repeatedly encountered by disabled people. As a disability rights activist I have no problem with describing real world reactions that parallel those we’re seeing from some of the commenters here as ableism, discrimination and bigotry. I don’t believe moving it over to comments on a web-comic make one iota of difference to the ethics of those comments. Zedsdead Out of curiosity, was it “tone policing” when you thought like this six months ago? I’d note that a lot of your posts in this thread could be summarily dismissed as “tone policing”. That doesn’t mean they don’t have merit. Besides, “tone policing” suggests I don’t agree with your points and I’m trying to derail. That’s not the case; I happen to agree with you for the most part. “Mansplaining” is just a puerile, counterproductive term that needs to go away. Countering bad language with other bad language is just running in place. Rich The Bluegeek I accept and believe that PTSD is a real thing and that there are very real emotional and even physical responses to stress and to things that trigger that stress response. Hence the term “trigger”. It is also my belief that a lot of people without PTSD have co-opted that word to mean anything that makes them uncomfortable and take it as license to demand that people stop making them uncomfortable. I suspect that is what some of the replies in this thread are reacting to. The fact is, stress happens and it is not entirely avoidable. Nor is it reasonable to expect people who have no experience with PTSD to conform to what is an unusual situation — at least not without coaching. At the end of the day, sensitivity is more “caught than taught” and there will be some who refuse. Whether they should be legally or morally compelled to observe “triggers” is a question that we will spend years wrestling with in real life… it won’t be resolved in a few panels of a comic book. Now in the case of “Tina”, this is taken beyond unusual to something that is patently absurd. A person without a body. It’s nothing more than an idea in a fictional universe and to expect people to take that seriously is ridiculous. Even in that universe, it would be so outside of the experience of normal people that most of them wouldn’t be able to make that leap to adapt to the idea. Consider the point of view of green girl: “I have a body and I am discussing my body and the discussion is relevant… how am I supposed to talk about it if I can’t talk about it?” As an allegory for PTSD, the idea of Tina is somewhat useful. If nothing else, a hook to educate people about PTSD and a mental exercise to consider where reasonable compassion stops and unreasonable political correctness begins. Expecting people to do what is unreasonable is unreasonable. And while PTSD is a real thing, it is by definition an unreasonable stress reaction. The fact that they can’t stop (or easily stop) reacting the way that they do does not immediately require everyone else to stop behaving reasonably. chaosvii Chromosomally stable http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-4/page-49-2/ ChromoStable-splaining? David Gillon Hmm, analogising to Normies in disability (which is actually ‘people who think they’re normal and we aren’t’), ‘Stablies’ and ‘Stable-splaining’? ∫Clémens×ds Meh, okay. I don’t quite think it devalues the concept to impose it where it isn’t warranted (very much what I call “imposing boundaries” and disagree with), the kind of reactionary idiots who mock the concept because they’ve never known challenge in their lives would exist anyway. Thry certainly don’t need that to be jerks and the fact that it can be badly used (which definitely happens, sure) doesn’t give validity to their argument that it’s a symptom of SJW culture or whatever nonsense pidgey I’ve thought of several different ways to respond to this line of argument, but it’s complicated and I don’t really have the tools to concisely explain why I think that point of view isn’t something I’m comfortable with. I really don’t disagree with your basic premise very much at all in theory, and I don’t want you to think otherwise, or that that I’m looking for an argument. My issue is more meta than that. I don’t want to call your claims of what jerks do and do not think a straw man argument, because then you might think I disagreed with it, or that I was trying to claim some kind of moral high ground on you for calling people jerks, when all I really want is for you to be a little more rigorous in your thinking, if that makes sense? Everyone in the world makes assumptions about how their perceptions should inform their actions, and basically all of those assumptions are different from person to person, so when people disagree with me, the least productive thing I can do in the world is to assume they’re wrong, even if they totally are. Rather, my goal should be to be understood. This is getting way too long and overgeneralized, so suffice it to say that, first, I think it’s really hard to be the kind of person who can respect other people’s feelings while judging them, and second, that I can choose to be what I judge to be a good person without insisting that other people agree and/or cooperate with me, even if I think they’re objectively wrong to do so. So in that vein, I want to say that I feel like people who object to the use of the word “trigger” being used the way it is, have a point, which is that they absolutely have every right to be unpleasant. Similar to how society needs defense lawyers, society can’t exist unless there’s a bar set for behavior which permits imperfect choices. That doesn’t mean they *should* be unpleasant or that there’s any honor in being unpleasant, but if they want to exercise their right to do so, they can. Moreover, I can respect people on both sides of the fence who seek to change where that bar sits, as long as they realize that just because they want to move the bar doesn’t mean the bar is moved. To insist otherwise is to tilt at windmills. MrSing You said victims don’t have any power, abused people that turn abuser are victims that got into power. Just because they turned abuser doesn’t make them any less a victim of abuse. Or right for that matter. Minorities and victims get into all sorts of institutional and non-institutional positions of power. Just because the system handicaps them doesn’t mean it never happens or that it’s even all that rare. The system just isn’t as fair or cruelty free as it should be. I don’t see how questioning and asking questions are any different. How can you ask a question about boundaries without talking about the validity and worth of them? If you just ask “how far can I go” you are asking another to assign validity and worth to behaviour toward someone. It’s only fair that both parties have a say in this. I am quick to assume bad intent when someone says they can’t be questioned. Even the most basic of human rights everyone has should at least be up for debate. Just so we can justify why we have them and why they are important and should be held up. David Gillon “Even the most basic of human rights everyone has should at least be up for debate.” This is the position the bio/medical ethicists take on the right to life. It allows Professor Peter Singer to say that disabled children should be killed as that’ll free up their parents to have a better one. And when disabled people protest at this, and at other ethicists arguing for concepts such as ‘retroactive abortion of disabled babies’ (yes, really, and only a couple of years ago) the medical ethics establishment loudly protests that the discussion is not about us and tries to dismiss us as terrorists (sadly this is not hyperbole, rather the editorial column of the Journal of Medical Ethics). What the bio-ethicists like Singer refuse to acknowledge is that there are people who want to turn this into real policy (arguably including Singer), and that it’s a policy that was tried for real less than a century ago, with several hundred thousand disabled people with quite minor disabilities sterilized all across the Western world as sacrifices to the cult of eugenics (and it still happens regularly, if at nothing like the former rate), and ultimately reaching its crescendo in Aktion T4 and the murder of 200,000+ disabled Germans, Austrians and Poles, starting with their own disabled children, as the Nazis honed the tools they would turn onto the Jews next. MrSing The opposite is the position people take to say that no woman should ever have an abortion. They say as soon as you are a sperm in an egg you are a human being with the right to life. And that abortion from that point is murder. The issue is very complex. Which is why these things should be open for debate. We are talking about very uncomfortable things and both sides can very easily be painted in a bad light like we both did. As soon as you claim that something is absolute and there should be no question asked, you kill all voices in the debate. The good and the bad. David Gillon I’m happy to take the position that taking the mike away from a voice calling for killing people like me (or any other form of hate speech) is no great loss. MrSing But what about women who will die if they complete their pregnancy and have a very large chance of that child dying too? Don’t they deserve to argue if it is murder to abort and undeveloped fetus? Would you take their voice away because you don’t want other people speaking? chaosvii Nice dodge there, almost got back on topic even.