Go to the search/ track bar, type in “Sex Positive”, recoil in horror as you realize that Tumblr has decided that Sex Positivity needs to be censored. A system that hides discussions about sex being innately neither good or bad but a part of human nature isn’t serving the greater good.
Being a sex worker, I’m very used to moving in spaces where I’m marginalized and labeled dirty, many artists, activists and their followers are not and are rightfully furious. My blog has been banned from Networked Blogs, I can’t mention a certain pay processing service for fear of losing my account and now my can’t post tumblr to my FB page. I noticed this Tuesday and I suspect that they never will again. It’s a shame because that was one of my main reasons for using the platform, its hard out here for a sex positive blog.
Tumblr has joined Blogger in trying to sanitize the net so they can make the most ad dollars. Its pretty sad. Now voices in this community will go silenced and disappear because they can’t fund themselves and their messages cannot organically grow.
Want to really go insane? Try to search for tags like “Gay Asian American” or “Black Lesbian” these tags and nothing will show up. Typing in “gay” is changed to “LGBTQ”. So not only is Tumblr blocking discussions of queer POC but then directing the conversation to the same spaces that those people of color are breaking off from. This silences the voices of those communities and rates them as less legitimate it also says that to tumblr groups like Black lesbians exists solely for pornography to be consumed. Violet Blue of ZDnet.com writes
“This news all comes on the same day that Tumblr’s iOS update for Apple rolled out changes that remove search results for #gay, #lesbian and #bisexual (though leave #bi, #lgbt and #queer intact).
This appears to be in conforming with Apple’s anti-adult policy, though the unfairness of the characterization and effect on Tumblr’s community is making its LGBT users see even more red.”
This is a major blow to the core of what made Tumblr a valuable space to begin with. It made a safe space for those seeking social justice for their marginalized group as well as up and coming artists to grow their business while displaying their art and communicating with their fan base. Also distressing is the loss of blogs that provide comprehensive sexual health information that most don’t have access too. There is no health class in the country that is required to teach about which sex toy materials are toxic many young women get that information from social media. Well, they used to .
This also is indicative of a troubling trend where the internet once provided an opportunity for those that wished to speak out , be sex workers or discuss sex independently find it more difficult to support themselves doing so. New cam girls could set up a tumblr and promote themselves in an affordable fashion. This just isn’t possible right now. If someone wanted to write about why it should be no one will be able to find those words because search engines aren’t indexing them.
There is a petition circulating on tumblr right now demanding the policy be reversed which you can sign here. (Warning , the language is problematic) I honestly don’t think that the petition will amount to much. People will do anything to not be labeled NSFW and move on – which means tumblr will lose important art , activists and voices.