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On December 17, Tumblr banned explicit content, including nudity—but that's not necessarily a good thing. Here's why. By Meaghan Wray December 18, I was 18 years old. I waited till dark, then positioned my laptop on a stack of pillows, perfectly angling the screen down on my body, careful to crop out my face. But in that moment, I felt oddly at ease collecting images of the parts of me I hated most. My dashboard was full of these photos—three-mega-pixel booties, breasts and tummies and beautifully shot nude self-portraits of the bloggers and photographers I followed on the platform. On Tumblr, nothing was off the table—it was like walking into an alternative universe, one that traded in conventional beauty standards for real, unfiltered bodies. I saw the freedom of inhibition in people I followed, and I wanted a bit of it, too.
The first thing that any Tumblr user will tell you about the result of this ban is either that there are just as many porn bots on the social media platform as ever or that there are just as many Nazis. Many users vowed to leave Tumblr when the ban was announced, and many did. Sex workers and body positivity blogs in particular have been affected. I myself have been on Tumblr since and credit the communities there for my education in everything from white privilege to non-binary genders to fat positivity. Like many people, I gained weight in my 20s due to a natural change in metabolism that happens to the vast majority of humans. Confronting the hateful voice in my head—placed there by a profoundly fat-phobic society—has been one of the greatest challenges of my 20s. My biggest support in this battle against self-hatred has been other fat women. Part of learning that acceptance has been viewing fat, naked bodies. But most of what I saw was people sharing their naked bodies in a celebratory manner. Whether they were dim, blurry selfies or professional photo shoots, Tumblr users exposed me to naked trans bodies, naked bodies of color, naked non-binary bodies, and naked fat bodies.
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