Adios Tumblr! When we thought the FOSTA/SESTA waves were calming down, we receive this mortal hit.
Tumblr stays, we go away
Actually, we have never made a significant use of Tumblr, but do have our own blog over there (be aware that link may soon stop working). It is actually just a webpage automatically mirroring the posts here. Unfortunately, I have decided to abandon and do nothing about it.
I guess you know the news. Recently, Tumblr’s app was banned from the Apple Store because of a child pornography related case. They could have responded in many different ways, but they chose to go Reddit, the lazy way. Let’s ban all material that has any resemblance to pornography.
Unsurprisingly, they did not choose to think out of the box. Clearly, they could have improved the design of the vetting system. Perhaps, they could have called to all users to figure it out a way to self regulate and self monitor the community.
Disappointingly, they went the easy way. In the times when free speech and alternative ways of life are under attack, we are not finding many heroes. Discouragingly, our culture is still so tainted of sex negativity that we are willing to sacrifice a huge universe of visual experimentation and queer theory rather than taking the risk of defending anything that involves a nipple, a dick, a pussy, or an ass.
Perhaps some of you will stay, Tumblr is not going anywhere. Generously, they are still allowing erotic literature and queer politics and theory. The ban is only targeting images. I wonder how the space is going to evolve after December 17th, but I am saying Adios Tumblr right now.
It is Adios Tumblr for me
Of course, I am aware than for many others a goodbye to Tumblr is a much challenging gesture. Eloquently, the cultural significance of this virtual space is very well explained and honored here and here. Indeed, much better than anything I can write.
I specially enjoyed this article from the Washington Post. To close, allow me to quote a few paragraphs:
“I don’t condone all of Tumblr’s explicit content. What’s wrong on Tumblr, such as depictions of abusive or nonconsensual sex acts, would be wrong elsewhere. But with the ethical stuff, Tumblr exposed me to forms of sexuality I had not previously considered and, even if they weren’t for me, expanded my thinking about sex and about myself.
It’s not that this content can’t be found elsewhere; it’s just that you probably won’t find it sandwiched between a “Queer Eye” meme and a character analysis of “Wonder Woman” anywhere else on the Web. Porn set side by side with not-porn empowered queer people to explore the full breadth of our interests in one scroll. It gave us the freedom to create and present a version of ourselves that didn’t minimize our sexuality, which we are so often pressured to do offline.
Such seemingly disparate elements finding a home together affirmed that art, sex, criticism, poetry and comedy need not be compartmentalized. One does not come at the expense of any of the others. It’s an especially important message for queer people whose content, sexual or not, often gets flagged as “adult.” Tumblr was a refuge from this kind of stigmatization.”