The objection [against trigger warnings] seems to be that since so much classic literature involves violent misogyny, racism and brutality towards minorities, whinging leftists should pipe down and read without questioning, analysing or reacting to the canon.
[D]ismissal of “trigger warnings” has become a proxy for dismissing women, people of colour, queer people and trauma survivors as readers. It is saying that our experiences do not matter – that we should calm down and “grow a thicker skin”. It says that any attempt to acknowledge or accommodate readers with difficult experiences is tantamount to Stalinism. Someone is being told to shut up here, but it’s not F Scott Fitzgerald.
[A trigger warning is] about knowing and respecting your audience; crucially, it is about context. In “safe spaces” like feminist discussion forums, mental health and survivor’s groups, trigger warnings are the very opposite of censorship. They allow discussions of traumatic and difficult issues to be had in an upfront manner. Rather than editing the subject material to avoid upset, group members are treated like adults and allowed to make their own decisions about what they can handle on any given day.
Trigger warnings are fundamentally about empathy. They are a polite plea for more openness, not less; for more truth, not less. They allow taboo topics and the experience of hurt and pain, often by marginalised people, to be spoken of frankly. They are the opposite of censorship.
–Laurie Penny on what’s really threatening about trigger warnings.
Note that I’ve paraphrased a lot here (like, a lot); I recommend everyone go read the whole article, particularly if you’re an “anti” on this issue.