Day of the #tumblrpurge

*** Please note this post contains pictures which are NSFW ***

Hello all, today is the 17th of December 2018. Some will only think of it as being eight days until Christmas however some will know it as the day of the tumblr “purge”. Others will also recognise it as being the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers (#IDEVASW) – the irony is not lost on the users of the internet.

 

Some quick background info in case you haven’t heard about this until now. Tumblr recently was removed from the Apple app store due to having had content flagged as being against their guidelines. In response to this Tumblr decided to ban all adult content and get back in Apple’s good books. Please note I have over simplified and shortened drastically for the sake of trying to keep this post at a somewhat reasonable length. If you want to read more about the purge and the events leading up to it then check out these articles: A, B, C .

 

This purge will have a drastic effect on the Adult community – especially Adult content creators (artists, sex workers, erotica writers, etc.).

 

In response some users have decided to stage an online protest. These users will log off from tumblr for the entirety of the 17th and continue to post on other sites (Facebook, Twitter,Instagram…) saying that the purge is a terrible idea and will not solve anything. After all, the porn bots (blogs operated by robots that are posting pornographic content and sending spam messages often containing viruses) have already begun to adapt to tumblr’s algorithm which is supposed to filter out and remove adult content (nicknamed “censorbot” by many users). Meaning that this purge will likely be completely pointless by the time it’s over and will have incorrectly flagged – probably – thousands of perfectly safe content which will take months to sort through although I’ll be surprised if they bother to.

 

So why should we care if Tumblr is getting rid of porn? Why am I so mad that sex workers lives are being made harder? Why am I making such a fuss? It’s not like this protest will do anything – right?

 

BlueMerkitten, Balcony-32.jpg
Photo by @radiomoths – Shirt reads “Empower Women” and is worn under a red jumpsuit

 

First of all this type of blanket censorship is terrifying. It’s all too easy for them to come in and remove anything they don’t agree with. Yes this could be used for good – we could get rid of all the white supremacy posts, the neo-nazi posts and the transphobic posts. We could remove hateful content from our sites and make the internet a slightly nicer place. Instead we’re reverting back to archaic ideas of sexuality and sexual expression. Where nudity is banned but racism is rampant.

 

Not to mention that sexual education resources (especially for those identifying as LGBTQA*) are being flagged and removed by censorbot. So it’s not just porn. It’s educational resources that some people would struggle to access otherwise.

 

But let’s forget that. Let’s just focus on the porn.

 

We all agree that we don’t want children being exposed to porn. So we put safeguards in place to prevent that from happening. Users tag their content, block underage users and do their best to ensure their content isn’t being consumed by minors.

 

The problem tends to be untagged content, porn bots and illegal content (but obviously that’s a problem that’s a separate topic).

 

There are ways to prevent minors from interacting with adult content that doesn’t involve deleting all of it. Systems could be put in place that automatically block flagged content from appearing on a minors account. Age verification is a thing after all. Tumblr could have a dedicated team going through content to make sure it’s tagged and not illegal (which to be honest feels like something they should already have). I’m sure there are plenty of alternatives but of course they would all require Tumblr to put in some actual effort, which would cost them money which of course they don’t want to do, so here we are…

 

BlueMerkitten, Balcony-100.jpg
Photo by @radiomoths 

 

Earlier I mentioned that one group of users in particular – sex workers – would be affected by this purge. This likely caught your attention. So let’s talk about that.

 

As today is International “Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers” day it only makes sense that we talk about them.

 

First of all: I am a sex worker.

 

I sell adult content that I make either by myself or as part of a photo shoot in order to make a living.

 

Sex Work varies from selling nudes to doing cam work or offering “full service” (escorting). Sex workers can be any gender, any age(over 18), any race, any sexuality and can come from any background.

 

Many people get into sex work as a way to be able to make a living despite having disabilities, mental health issues or they might just have ran out of other options. Some people get into sex work because they enjoy it! They find it fun and stimulating. They see it as a way to empower themselves. It’s all very personal and I can pretty much guarantee their least favourite question to answer but most commonly asked is “so what made you get into this?”.

 

The legality of sex work varies on the services offered and the location of the worker, so you’d have to check your own laws for more info on that side of things.

 

However many countries have criminalised sex work in some way – this is usually full service sex work and not the “lower” level sex work (cam shows, etc). By criminalising sex work many individuals are forced to work in dangerous conditions with no safety guards in place. Authorities argue that they are doing this to prevent trafficking and “help” sex workers despite the fact that sex workers have been petitioning for decriminalisation for years.

 

This is a very in depth topic to cover and I am trying to keep things brief so if you’re interested in finding out more about sex work and the continuing fight for decriminalisation then I recommend you check out: x,y,z.

 

But getting back to the point of my rambling, Tumblr – until now – was a safe space that sex workers could use to post and promote their content. It provided them with an audience and a community. One of the last “mainstream” platforms available to them. Seeing as Instagram deletes adult content along with their accounts on a fairly regular basis. Even Twitter isn’t entirely safe, many accounts that post adult content end up “shadow banned” and have their content hidden from searches.

 

With Tumblr no longer being an option many are unsure where to turn. The community will likely survive and settle somewhere else but some will find December to be an especially hard month – their income is likely to be at risk with the uncertainty of whether their audience will make the effort to follow them elsewhere or if they’ll just vanish into the void.

 

As a further note to it being #IDEVASW you may have seen my posts encouraging people to wear red as a sign of solidarity with sex workers. You might not have. If you want to do more that just put on a red top or scarf then you should definitely check out these charities which directly support sex workers and fight for their rights:

 

UglyMugs

NSWP

Scot Pep

ECP 

SWARM Collective 

 

Or you could be even more direct and give money to a sex worker! Buy their content or donate to them. I promise if you’re sincere about wanting to get money to them they’ll give you multiple ways to do it.

 

BlueMerkitten, Light-13
Photo by @radiomoths

 

So by this point you’re probably either bored of my rant or ready to join the fight (I hope it’s the latter). Or at the very least I hope I’ve made you curious enough to go and do your own research and come to your own conclusions.

 

Some people will likely point out that my protest against Tumblr won’t work and that the purge will happen and that’ll be the end of it. Maybe they’re right. But if I don’t at least try then I become part of the the problem.

 

With all of the crazy things going on in the world today I can understand why this might not be the top of someone’s priority list but if you can spare a minute, post a status or a tweet, voice your opinion on the matter. It could end up making a difference. Maybe not to Tumblr but maybe to someone in your life that’s scared and not sure what they’re going to do next. Maybe they think the world is against them, they might not feel safe, they might be feeling isolated and demonised. You might just help someone feel a little less alone.
If you’ve made it to the end of this post then thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed the photos haha and hopefully this has left you with something to think about today.