Tumblr Is Wrong For Censoring Eating Disorder Blogs

Feb. 26, 2012
Johanna de Silentio is phiLOLZophy, best friends who drink vodka, argue about philosophy and blog from Minneapolis.

Tumblr is shutting down blogs that promote self-harm. This means pro-Anorexia, pro-Bulimia, and pro-EDNOS blogs are dunzo.

I have to believe this is because of moral panic rather than genuine concern for the people these blogs harm. The misconception is that these communities are about encouraging people to have eating disorders, giving tips and causing existing eating disorders to worsen. In reality they are a community of mentally ill people talking about their disease. I mean, we understand that we are talking about sick people, right? It’s not a well-adjusted sadistic girl sitting behind her computer hoping that people reading her blog will hate themselves for her enjoyment. These kinds of blogs are run by like-minded people who generally dislike newbs. They provide friendship and support to people who are otherwise completely isolated by their disease.

Pro-eating disorder websites do not cause eating disorders. Sure, people look at thinspo and then barf up their food, but you don’t think they do that after listening to Wale’s ‘90210’ or getting dumped? It is very difficult for some people not to drink, but Tumblr isn’t shutting down blogs that glorify drinking, share cocktail recipes or teach people how to conceal an alcoholic drink while they work.

I have a sense of normalcy and sanity I would never otherwise have from reading these before and after I got treatment for my ED. They’ve existed before confessional media was even popular and it makes you not feel crazy to know that you are not the only one that thinks a certain way. To be honest, most of these blogs are actually positive. The author might hate herself, but she is willing to stick up for her friends. One of the things I actually learned in treatment is to try to talk to myself like I would talk to someone else with an ED. Not to give tips, but affirmation. The friendships in these communities may be very misguided, but to someone in this awful state of mind, having someone you can talk openly with goes a long way.

The real issue is that people don’t want to look at how ugly and awful it can be to be alive sometimes. Reading a blog about a girl eating 250 calories a day might make you take a long hard look at what caused them to think this is a good idea. Who knows, you might actually start to care about things like patriarchy. Don’t forget that it’s still okay to have a racist blog on Tumblr. It’s still okay to have a blog where you take pictures of people eating and call them fat. Tumblr even says explicitly that it’s fine to make jokes about starving yourself. In essence, it’s okay to have the kind of blog that causes someone to degenerate into the mental state where they might develop an eating disorder, but once they get one they need to be swept them under the rug unless they only talk about their disease in a manner the bros at Tumblr decide is okay.

Reasonable people can understand the difference between saying someone should have the right to do something and saying that someone should do something. Tumblr, like LiveJournal and many, many other platforms before them is targeting eating disorder blogs because they are an easy kill. These blogs are written by primarily young girls who are mentally ill and don’t have the resources to fight back. Think about some bros having MMA blogs on Tumblr; maybe they even beat up their friends for fun. That would also qualify as a harm blog, definitely. There might be long term physical, mental, and emotional consequences to their actions but this is a non-issue because outward violence is “masculine” and more socially acceptable. TC mark

image – aussiegall
Johanna de Silentio

Johanna de Silentio

Johanna de Silentio is phiLOLZophy, best friends who drink vodka, argue about philosophy and blog from Minneapolis.

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