“I’m So Triggered

The cultural co-option of PTSD

molly ackhurst and Francesca Jarvis
Gay Mag


Illustration by Christina Yoseph

InIn 2016, the TriggeredFeminist meme went viral. The woman at its centre, videoed speaking with Trump supporters about the scale of gendered sexual violence in the US, was branded an angry feminist. The clip of her is barely 30 seconds long, but it catalyzed something that had already begun. Almost immediately, distinct ways to describe her emerged. She was no longer just an angry feminist, she was possessed by the ghost of social justice.

She was so triggered.

Memes flooded 4chan, reddit and YouTube, shared by InfoWars, Pewdiepie, and Alex Jones. Triggered became such a powerful symbol in white supremacist factions that Donald Trump Jr. capitalized on the tsunami. Promoting his book, Triggered: How the Left Thrives on Hate and Wants to Silence Us, he launched triggeralib.com, where visitors can send famous liberals, highlighted in a curated list that features Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Hillary Clinton, a copy via Amazon.

Because, of course, they’re all so triggered.