You know what’s really telling? How when this change was first announced there were a whole slew of people, usually the same sorta blogs who engage in antishipping discourse, who were Super All For this change! Like, their initial reaction was “hah, fuck those perverts who want to look at nsfw content, my blog is safe”. But then in the hours and days since the announcement was made, they’ve seen the tide of the discussion across the site, and they’ve heard more directly about the harm this does to sex workers, and they’ve very quickly as much as possible outwardly changed their tune.
The point being that a lot of people on this site hold attitudes that are deeply sex-negative and which stigmatize sexuality and its expression, especially amid queer communities. When the news first broke, maybe some of them tacked on some paragraph about sex workers, but then they’d dismiss them in the next breath, and group everyone who might engage with their sexuality on this platform in any other context as being “horny freaks”. (The implication I think rather patronizingly being that sex workers are always “forced” into catering to the other “dirty pervs”). They would pay sex workers lip service but then gloat over the demise of their trade with their next breath.
But when the discourse about this coalesced, and quite rightly focused on the harm this does to communities, to queer communities, and to creative expression, and this became the dominant narrative – when the impact on sex workers became more than a bullet point to throw into the ring as an afterthought – they all instantly twisted their words to fit that narrative. Because there’s a large number of people on here who are fundamentally unwilling to address their internal attitudes and biases when it comes to marginalized expression, and when it comes to “icky” subjects like sexuality. What they do care about is appearing to be “woke”, in a manner that is more of a social-pressure function than something necessarily stemming from an actual desire for social progress. I think this is why so many people on this site will create banner lists on their blog of all the causes they support and are opposed to; why they will vehemently proclaim their support for sex workers and then demonize expressions of sexuality with the very same breath, and why ideas about certain shipping materials or fandom expressions being “problematic” morph into the idea that people who engage in them are sex criminals on par with real world criminal offenders, despite the train of reason simply not being there. It’s because the climate on this site conditions people, especially kids, to approach discourse as per a learned rote of “this is pure and this is evil”, as opposed to actually understanding with and engaging with these issues. And the dichotomy of what is allowed and what is barred stems solely from the prevailing social climate – what other people in their community are saying.
And that sucks, because it results in a sort of black-and-white classification that results in people being sent suicide threats because a bogus callout post claimed that they were an abuser. Because the climate has ramped up so that if people don’t immediately ostracize those identified as targets, they get classified as apologists and potentially attacked themselves. Moreover, and more importantly to this discussion, it means that that ideas never get critically examined, so ingrained biases and bigotry in the end ultimately do win out. Because at the end of the day, you’re going with what feels “pure” or “bad” in your gut, and by what other people are saying is one or the other. Which is why the people so frequently targeted by witchhunt campaigns on this site are, you guessed it, queer women expressing their sexuality.
See, with that sort of prescriptive, knee-jerk morality, there’s way to evaluate new but adjacent ideas. People know the right answer to give if asked about sex positivity, or sexual expression in the context of queerphobia – but give them a real world example and they’ll default to their preconceived disgust. They’ll say a thousand times that they support sex workers, but will still be celebrating when they’re effectively outlawed. It’s a sort of purely memetic conception of moral politics and ideology that just isn’t sustainable, and allows truly toxic ideas to gain traction without check, enforced by equally toxic black and white social pressure. And deep down, for all that it claims to be otherwise, the core ideas are the same ideas about “purity” and “degeneracy” that society instills in us from childhood, and although its not as outrightly stated, it is just as harmful.
Which is what people really mean when they talk about toxic tumblr culture, really. This whole situation is just another example that exposes it.
kinda too bad that this whole site is just gonna die in like a week, because this is among my favorite pieces of analysis I’ve seen on here.
Were there people celebrating? I got a couple of questionable anons but nothing else. I’ve actually been vocally wondering how antis feel now that they’ve won and it’s… likely not what they expected.
I didn’t see anybody directly celebratory, but then I also don’t hatefollow idiots.