Earlier this week, the social networking site updated its community guidelines to allow some – but not all – adult content to be posted on the platform once more. Users will only see this content if they consciously opt to do so.
"We now welcome a broader range of expression, creativity, and art on Tumblr, including content depicting the human form (yes, that includes the naked human form)," the new guidelines state. "So, even if your creations contain nudity, mature subject matter, or sexual themes, you can now share them on Tumblr using the appropriate Community Label so that everyone remains in control of the types of content they see on their dash."
However, Tumblr has stopped short of welcoming back porn to the platform. "Visual depictions of sexually explicit acts remain off-limits," the update states. Tumblr says this is because "it's not feasible for us to safely and successfully support porn communities at this time".
The decision to reverse the nudity ban comes as Tumblr aesthetics including indie sleaze, twee and Tumblr girl have made something of a comeback. Before it banned nudity in December 2018, Tumblr served as the catalyst for many young people's sexual awakenings. "Especially for queer people and women," Refinery29's Michelle Santiago Cortés wrote last year, "Tumblr porn was a doorway to a world of stimulating content that was far, far away from Pornhub’s 'uh-huh do you like that' offerings".
However, not everyone will be greeting the reversal of the nudity ban with open arms. In February, Refinery29's Maggie Zhou wrote about the Tumblr trauma she experienced because of the way certain body types were celebrated above all others on the platform.
"It's not hyperbolic to say that almost a whole generation has been marred by body image issues surfaced by Tumblr," she wrote. "Many of these beliefs have lain dormant, just waiting for their moment to resurface. The best we can do is face our buried pasts head-on, armed with the knowledge, hope and resources that our younger selves were lacking."
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