Published on February 24th, 2012 | by Kim LaCapria0
Tumblr Institutes Ban on Negative ‘Thinspo’ Blogs
If you dabble in Tumblr at all, chances are you’ve seen a “thinspo” post come across your feed at some point or another.
For the uninitiated, the term is a shibboleth for the “pro-ana” (anorexic) community, shorthand for “thinspiration,” and meant to encourage the mostly-female devotees to essentially starve themselves. The phenomenon is not new, and posts of the same ilk have been showing up on the similar service Pinterest lately with alarming frequency- while dieting and fitness are common topics, thinspo posts tend to foreground visible hip and rib bones or otherwise glorify self-harm.
But on Tumblr from now on, users will be hitting some roadblocks when attempting to share content categorized as “thinspo”- in a post on the official Tumblr blog, the site explained:
One of the great things about Tumblr is that people use it for just about every conceivable kind of expression. People being people, though, that means that Tumblr sometimes gets used for things that are just wrong. We are deeply committed to supporting and defending our users’ freedom of speech, but we do draw some limits… Our Content Policy has not, until now, prohibited blogs that actively promote self-harm.
The post continues:
These typically take the form of blogs that glorify or promote anorexia, bulimia, and other eating disorders; self-mutilation; or suicide. These are messages and points of view that we strongly oppose, and don’t want to be hosting. The question for us has been whether it’s better to (a)prohibit them, as a statement against the very ideas of self-harm that they are advancing, or (b) permit them to stay up, accompanied by a public service warning that directs readers to helplines run by organizations like the National Eating Disorders Association.
It seems the ban is very much a work in progress at the moment, but it hasn’t quelled user reaction, with about half being for the ban and the other half freaking out about where they will find their images of emaciated women. Do you agree with Tumblr’s thinspo ban?