RIP to XXX: Tumblr bans adult content on its platform
Tumblr, a blogging and social networking site, recently announced it was going to censor all adult content, generally recognized as a ban on pornography. Tumblr was founded in 2007 by a web developer and social entrepreneur David Karp. He said he had a vision for "what porn could do for Tumblr as well as what Tumblr could do for porn," according to The Verge.
Unlike other social media sites, Tumblr allows for explicit content including, but not limited to, explicit pictures, GIFs and videos. For many users, Tumblr is a platform where they can post uncensored content as well as explore it.
Since 2007, Tumblr has served as a happy medium between hardcore porn and a regular, everyday social media site that won’t ruin one’s reputation, according to The Verge.
The uncensored nature of Tumblr has produced great things like the body-positive movement. The trend, which flourished on Tumblr, was composed of people with body types not shown in mainstream media, including obese bodies. People would pose completely naked, showcasing that they are proud and confident of their bodies.
This movement has had immensely positive repercussions, with women and young girls feeling a little more comfortable with their bodies after seeing that all women are beautiful and that size does not equate to confidence or the lack thereof. The movement sent the message that everyone is beautiful and should be confident in their own skin.
This is just one of the reasons why users are in disarray over the censoring of Tumblr. While sites like Facebook and Instagram remain censored for the most part, Tumblr allowed users to view adult content as well as “real” content.
Furthermore, the new censoring of Tumblr would make images like those shown in the body-positive movement impossible to be shared. Nipples, for example, are not censored on Tumblr, but they will be soon. Nipples are not hardcore porn, they are simply part of our bodies.
Now even Tumblr, which seemed to understand the importance of not censoring bodies, has conformed to the notion that bodies are more sexual than they are natural. Censoring bodies only sexualizes them more which defeats the whole purpose of what Tumblr said it is trying achieve through this censoring – to create "a better, more positive" place.
Users felt free and liberated to a certain extent with pre-censored Tumblr. Having adult content in the form of blogs, GIFs and photos lessened the shock and secrecy typically associated with porn or nudity. Even content that isn’t hardcore porn, such as nude images, are being removed, which is sad since there are no other social networking sites that allow for uncensored images.
For example, HuffPost stated that Instagram “censored artist Rupi Kaur’s ‘period photo,’ claiming that it violated community guidelines.” It comes to a shock to users that Tumblr, which has been uber liberal and sexual is now leaning toward the relative conservatism and censorship of other social media sites.
Furthermore, Tumblr removing its most distinguishing feature has made many question the future and longevity of the company after its censoring is enacted. Just like Vine users moved on to Instagram, Tumblr users are threatening to move on to other sites, according to Business Insider.
Armani Croft, a School of Arts and Sciences junior, weighed in on this topic, saying that Tumblr censoring itself is pointless. She believes Tumblr is doing nothing but ruining its chances as a company. “Internet porn will always exist,” Croft said.
One could argue that Tumblr will not hold up with the site-wide censoring that will take place later this month. Today is an age where people feel more comfortable than ever when talking about sex and exploring their sexualities in unconventional ways. One can only wait to see how the company will fare post-censoring, but what is certain is that an entire community will mourn pre-censored Tumblr.