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University in Scotland Issues Trigger Warnings Before Lessons About Grimm Fairy Tales

University in Scotland Issues Trigger Warnings Before Lessons About Grimm Fairy Tales

“some of the material includes child abuse, incest and other violent material”

This would be funny if it wasn’t also so incredibly sad.

The Daily Mail reports:

Now snowflake students need to be warned about ‘violent material’ in… FAIRYTALES! Glasgow University gives ‘trigger warnings’ before lessons covering classic Brothers Grimm tales

University students have been given ‘trigger warnings’ about potentially upsetting scenes in classic fairytales.

Lecturers admitted students were cautioned about ‘violent material’ contained in the famous children’s stories by the Brothers Grimm.

Their tales include Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Hansel and Gretel and Little Red Riding Hood.

So-called ‘trigger warnings’ are part of a growing trend which sees undergraduates warned about content they could find disturbing.

Last night Dr Stuart Waiton, a senior sociology lecturer at Abertay University in Dundee, said that ‘the more we make trigger warnings the norm, the more we risk infantilising these adults’.

Glasgow University gave details of a course it runs in modern languages and cultures in response to a freedom of information request.

The lecturer in charge said: ‘When I teach my Grimms’ Fairytales class, I always say some of the material includes child abuse, incest and other violent material.

‘As we do psychological readings of the tales, this can be important to acknowledge.’ Trigger warnings are given verbally or on an internal website named Moodle so that students know about content that could upset them. Complaints have led to warnings being read out.


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Some people find them pretty scary, e.g. Granny Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty.

The original stories are scary. If anything needed trigger warnings they would be it.

    Yes, given how fairy tales have been adulterated into feelgood tales with no terrible endings in the last generation, students would definitely need a trigger-warning. They’ve been raised with a Teddy Bear Grimm, and might be more than shocked to read the real stories.

      lc in reply to GWB. | October 27, 2019 at 7:05 pm

      Yet how many of these same snowflakes go to see horror movies, violent movies, rap concerts,
      etc. without complaining about the material?

    ss396 in reply to Milhouse. | October 28, 2019 at 10:21 am

    I don’t recall the Disney version mentioning Cinderella’s step-sister cutting her toe off to fit the slipper.

    Couldn’t agree more. I would never “cold” assign Grimm’s Fairy Tales without letting students know that I expect them to turn up in class with something substantive to say that goes beyond “ew, ick, omg!”.

Morning Sunshine | October 27, 2019 at 4:24 pm

the brothers Grimm changed the fairy tales when they wrote them down to confirm to the ideals of the Victorian age. Many of the “wicked step mothers” were actually the MOTHERS but Victorians idealized Mother so of course, she was not wicked to her children.

Fairy Tales were supposed to be scary. They were supposed to teach children in a pre-literate society about cultural norms and to avoid scary things like walking in the woods by themselves.

My policy is that any cartoon on DVD which does not begin with a disclaimer by Whoopie Goldberg isn’t worth watching.

I could have used a trigger warning prior to reading the article and the comments. Do I have a case?

Life used to be brutal and short for the paesants. Starvvation was a possibility. Wolves did attack humans. Stepmothers favored their own children over those of a previous wife. Women could climb the social scale, to some extent, if they caught the eye of an amorous aristocrat. Who knows – maybe things will devolve to the sort of hard scrabble life described by fairy tales if the SJW of this world have their way.

I’m not sure I have a problem with this. I hate the term “trigger warning,” but the fact is that the original Grimm’s Fairy Tales are crazy scary and insanely gruesome. When I’ve taught them in a class, I always preface the read with a fun mini-lecture on the way that Grimm has been made less . . . grim though time. Is that a “trigger warning”? Probably, but it’s worth warning students that they aren’t about to read Disney fairy tales and to provide them with the tools they need to provide thoughtful and thought-provoking discussion.

Not only do I cut down the time devoted to “OMG, that’s not what I thought at all! These are scary and awful!” reactions, but we can get to a more meaty discussion of the literature. In this case, a “trigger warning” is more likely a tried and true teaching tool. /just my two cents