Trigger Warning by Tamara Woods In the Powder Room

I’ve Got Your Trigger Warning Right Here

“I don’t want to sound like an insensitive bitch, but toughen up buttercup.”


Trigger warning: if you’re super-sensitive, do not read. Or read and get ticked off in the comments.

Dear girl on Tumblr asking for food trigger warnings,

You asked a YouTuber with a fairly growing fan base to please not post pictures of food without a trigger warning, because you have an eating disorder. Seeing food makes life harder for you. And for that I’m sorry.

I’m also sorry that you haven’t seemed to grasp the fact that this really wasn’t that young girl’s problem. It’s yours.

I understand that sometimes a particularly graphic article, a photo, a show can be too overwhelming for a person. It’ll spark that memory that can be too much for a survivor of whatever that trauma may be, and she or he will go spiraling into self-destructive behavior, a crying jag or other negative coping mechanisms.

I get that.

I just think it’s gone too far.

Sweetie, I am no way saying that eating disorders aren’t important, or a terribly hard struggle to deal with.

What I am saying is that there’s food literally EVERYWHERE. On your commercials, in your movies, walking down the street when you pass a sub shop. Hell, there’s probably some of the stuff in your house.

It’s not like the Weight Watchers, which always seem to be strategically placed by a damn Krispy Kreme taunting “Trigger warning: the smell of doughy goodness may cause a relapse.”

I don’t want to sound like an insensitive bitch, but toughen up buttercup. If last night’s dinner was delicious, I’m Instagramming the hell out of it. It’s going all up in my Tumblr and if I somehow by the grace of Chef Boyardee made it myself, then hello Pinterest.

I have food issues myself. In fact, I’d be hard-pressed to find someone with a perfectly normal relationship with food. We all need it to survive, but the ties that bind are wicked.

Should an alcoholic admonish people who post pics of delicious looking cocktails or their drunken antics on Friday night? (Well maybe the drunken antics, but I’m digressing.) Should someone badly injured in a traffic accident expect people to park their cars and start riding bikes? Should insomniacs ask people to give trigger warnings before they start bragging about their excellent night’s sleep, those lucky S.O.B.s?

It may be hard to see food, but honey, that’s life. It’s hard. It’s a bitch. And people are going to keep eating it. It’s ultimately your responsibility as to how you deal with it. And if you need help dealing with food in your life, reach out and get the help you deserve. Don’t put it on the shoulder of some anonymous girl on Tumblr.

Tamara Woods was raised (fairly happily) in West Virginia, where she began writing poetry at the age of 12. Her first poetry collection is available at She has previous experience as a newspaper journalist and uses that while she drops sardonic knowledge at She has used her writing background to capture emotions and moments in time for anthologies, her blog, and writing articles as a full-time freelance writer. She is a hillbilly hermit in Honolulu living with her Mathmagician.

Keep the conversation going...



  1. Ann Manley says

    Love this!!! People are being more and more sensitive about more and more things, not just seeing food. I think people expect others to bow to their every whim instead of sucking it up and dealing with their own issues.

  2. says

    “And if you need help dealing with food in your life, reach out and get the help you deserve.”

    I love this so much, T!

  3. says

    I hate feet. And I don’t have vacation time. Could all of you who keep kicking back at the beach PLEASE STOP POSTING PICTURES OF YOUR FEET IN FRONT OF A GORGEOUS BEACH BACKDROP? Clearly you are completely insensitive and don’t care about how your actions affect others. And while we are at it, everyone please stop wearing flip flops. I shudder in disgust at all those feet just out in the open for everyone to SEE!
    It takes a village right? So you should all do what you can to help me with my own issues, right? Isn’t that how it works?

  4. says

    I have noticed people becoming far too sensitive for their own damn good. They expect, not ask nicely, people to cater to them by demanding someonoe post photos of food, their awesome vacation, their pregnancies, that awesome cocktail they had the night before, whatever. It’s ridiculous.

    There are several things out there that can set me off and annoy me. Bragging about vacations or job promotions or announcing a pregnancy (then talking about it all the damn time) can bother me. But will I be bold and rude enough to tell people to not post it because OMG my widdle feewings might get butthurt? Hell. No. My issues are mine and I’d rather just hit the “I don’t want to see this” button FB than tell someone what they should and shouldn’t post.

      • says

        That’s what I’m saying. Sometimes it’s just a personal problem. I quit smoking (8, maybe?) years ago. Sometimes when I see someone’s pic of them smoking, I want one. I’m not going to tell them they should have a trigger warning for smokers. I’m just going to deal with my issues and move along.

  5. says

    Tahnk you for saying what I’ve wanted to say for so long. This world has gone down the p.c. shitter. Toughen up is something I feel like saying to most 20 something’s I meet, instead of my children.

    • says

      I’m often amazed by how much more emotional coddling 20-somethings expect now compared to even 10 years ago. Is this part of a result of helicopter parenting? I don’t know, I’m not a parenting expert. I just wonder, what has changed?

  6. Stephanie L. says

    Wow…that’s one of the strangest things I’ve heard…don’t post pics of food because I have triggers? Well, heck Tamara…that masturbation post triggered my…and that doughnut..well, don’t let me tell ya what that’s triggering…Toughen Up Buttercup is good advice. Great post!

  7. says

    I do agree that some people take it too far, such as this girl did with her request. BUT I do believe that trigger warnings on articles about sexual abuse or domestic violence are helpful and kind.

  8. says

    Dear young people,

    Please stop posting selfies. It is really difficult for my skin and hair to see that wrinkle free flesh and gray free follicles.

    Midge Dullaged-Hagg

    P.S. It’s very upsetting to the ducks of the world too to see you quacking jokes about their appearance.

  9. says

    I loved this. People in general are getting waaay to sensitive. A trigger warning for food pictures, indeed. Raspberries.
    West Virginia girls are generally tough buttercups. I should know ; )
    Now, off to take some pics of my food. Or maybe of me with my food. Ha ha.

  10. says

    Very, very good read, Tamara. I really like this! I’m totally with you on that there SHOULD be trigger warnings for, yaknow, ACTUAL trauma. But people are turning into pussies, and it’s too much!

    DOWN with the entitled nambypambies – VIVE LA REVOLUTION! Let’s bring back a time where people didn’t just whine all the time! (but keep the compassion and connectedness and sharing we have now – I like those bits of the modern era).

  11. says

    I call this an “entitlement” issue, people who need someone to cater to their needs. I tell people all the time, you are not my child. I don’t need to do anything. That is her Tumblr, she can post whatever, whenever, and however she wants. What happen to the generation of people who had a pair of balls and took life as is?

  12. says

    Yes, well, the problem is definitely theirs, not yours.
    Though it’s also good to air your grievances. :) Do you celebrate Festivus? 😉

    In any case, I do feel it was unnecessary for someone to say that. I mean, dang…we all have our triggers, and yes, we all have to deal with those on our own and not place that responsibility somewhere else.

    I hope you have a great week. :)

  13. says

    Gosh let’s be in charge of our own selves. No need to read, listen, look, smell or touch things you don’t want to. Stop making others responsible. Great post! Fran

  14. says

    Well said.

    The biggest disservice we can do to children is to bow to their every whim, wipe and kiss every scraped knee, drop everything we are doing for them, and provide them with constant entertainment. It will be a hard knock life and a huge disappointment when they grow up and realize that the world won’t kindly cave to their every request and need.

    It’s not a parent’s job to make their child feel important and special. It’s a parent’s job to help their kids learn what makes them so important and special in the world. It’s our job to raise strength in our kids and help them learn coping mechanism for when the world just doesn’t do what they expected.

    I’m not the best parent in the world, but I know that I want my three kids to always be able to find strength within themselves. I want them to know with all their being that despite the curve balls that the world and people will throw at them, they are strong, intelligent, and resourceful individuals. I want them to be able to deal with anything.

    I strongly believe that the attitude of the 20-something generation that you refer to is a product of parents teaching these individuals as children (and even into adulthood) that they are the most important & most special person that exists in the universe. It’s like they never advanced from the EGO phase of psychological development! It’s only going to be worse as these kids start to parent unless we each start to recognize that we need to encourage people to grow a spine.

  15. Lyndsey says

    Absolutely love this!! Your so right. We all have our issues but they are just that ‘our’ issues!! It’s hard for me to see things about pregnancy, motherhood and all that guff. But I’d never dream of asking people to put a warning because it might hurt my feelings. People are far too sensitive now and expect everyone to pander to their feelings. The whole world is the same, racism, sexism, ageism. People are all too quick to expect their needs to be top priority.

    Anyway ramble over. Great post. Definitely be following you from now on :)

  16. says

    As a recovering alcoholic, I see photos and hear stories about drinking, especially wine, a lot! Does it make me a little jealous that someone can enjoy ONE glass of wine while writing in their garden? Yep. Am I going to cry about it, ask them not to post those photos anymore? Nope. I’m going to put on my big girl sober britches and like the photo if it’s a good one. I might even comment. Politically correct is being worn to a nub in a most ridiculous fashion. In my eyes, this is just as bad as kids getting trophies and medals just for showing up.

  17. Mike Francis says

    As someone with an eating disorder, I say there are only two places one can and should expect to be free from triggers: Overeaters Anonymous meetings and therapy sessions. Elsewhere, learning how to deal with triggers is part of ED recovery.

    In other words, if you need trigger warnings on the Internet, you’re doing it wrong.

  18. says

    love love love “Toughen Up Buttercup” !!! Sooooo much better mantra than my own personal standby: suck it up, it’s not about you. bravo!