It brings me back to 2006 when my friend and I were kneeling on the floor in adjacent stalls at a suburban Taco Bell, alternatively holding hands and puking. We knew each other well enough to know we’d both had “eating issues” in the past, but that applies to most girls, honestly, and the stories are told with a narrative of having reached full and final recovery, always. We were both 21 and living in a shitty house and doing just enough to not get swallowed up by the enormity of our respective post-college neurotic avalanches. We didn’t speak, or plan our twisted means of catharsis. We found each other without words, synchronized as if our muscle memory knew the same choreography.

Tumblr is Wrong for Censoring Eating Disorder Blogs

Tumblr is shutting down blogs that promote self-harm. This means pro-anorexia, pro-bulimia, and pro-self harm blogs are dunzo.

I have to believe this is because of the misconception that these communities are about encouraging people to have eating disorders and causing existing eating disorders to worsen. They are primarily a community of mentally ill people talking about eating disorders with other people who have an eating disorder. 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 communities of like-minded people. They provide friendship and support to people who are otherwise completely isolated by their disease.

Pro-eating disorder websites do not cause eating disorders. The thing that people can’t look past is someone will post something like “I didn’t eat today!” and people will be supportive and congratulate them. This is what is at stake. People being nice to each other in a misguided way. It’s not great, sure, but why target this very specific kind of violence?

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. In essence, it’s okay to have the kind of blog that causes someone to degenerate into the mental state where they might get an eating disorder, but once they get one we’ll sweep them under the rug unless they only talk about their disease in a manner a bunch of bros unfamiliar with eating disorders find acceptable.

Tumblr, like LiveJournal and many, many other platforms before them is targeting self-harm 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 longterm physical, mental, and emotional consequences to their actions but this is a non-issue because outward violence is “masculine” and more socially acceptable.

It’s not a secret that this new rule will target primarily women. Sick women that have finally found a community where they don’t feel alone. If you think censoring these websites will lead more women to recovery, consider whether people fought in wars before there was violence on TV. This is shutting down a community where people can talk openly without addressing the (actually evil) blogs that may have caused them to be where they are at. Great job, Tumblr.