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Tumblr without pornography isn’t going to be the same

Warning: Some hyperlinks contain NSFW content.

It’s lights out for Tumblr after dark blogs. Announced today, the site’s purging itself of adult and pornographic content. Which is, no offence, Tumblr’s life source. From its explicit fan art to independent cam girls, most of their users benefit from the site’s former leniency on nudity.

Tumblr was the site that taught me the lewd implications of the terms “NSFW” and “after dark” back in ’09. So when the blogging site decided to ban its adult content, I knew it marked the end of an era.

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The site became a haven or a safe space for young women and the queer community to explore their sexuality. Female sexuality blogs like howtomakeawomancome or The Female Sexuality Blog are proof of this.

In the site, women have more control on what nudes they post and what kind of porn they consume. And it’s something that few platforms give to its users.

To explain further, read this tweet by Ella Dawson, Ted Talks’ senior social media editor:

As much as I want to reach for a virtual pitchfork and roast this policy, the ban might be within reason. People are pointing out that the ban might be related to a blog posting explicit child pornography. But Tumblr has yet to clarify if this was related to the ban.

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So from now on, Tumblr will ban posts that contain the following: “Adult content primarily includes photos, videos, or GIFs that show real-life human genitals or female-presenting nipples, and any content—including photos, videos, GIFs and illustrations—that depicts sex acts,” their official statement reads.


Some exceptions to the ban are: “female-presenting nipples in connection with breastfeeding, birth or after-birth moments, and health-related situations.” Written and visual erotica are also safe from the ban.  I guess that’s a sigh of relief for NSFW fan fiction writers then.

As a user, I can’t help but be curious on how the ban will work. What’s Tumblr’s fine line between erotica and explicit content? Isn’t porn a form of erotica as well? Are NSFW fan art of fictional characters safe from the ban or not? 

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Tumblr has a lot to answer to regarding the ban. But to be honest, I doubt they’ll ever care to clearly answer any of them. The ban will take into effect on Dec. 17.

I must say, we should commend them for using this opportunity to shut down revenge porn posts and abhorrent child pornography. But with their ban’s policies lacking clarity, a safe space for its female and queer users die with it. These are factors the moderators failed to consider.

We might say goodnight to Tumblr after dark for good. But with the policy’s vague policy, we might say goodnight to the site as a whole sooner than we think.

Photo from pepperminthowell


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