The Internet is filled with all sorts of terrifying things, but one of the scariest and most depressing of all is "thinspiration," or "thinspo" blogs. Basically, they're places young women (typically) go for (th)inspiration to lose weight. In a totally unhealthy way. The blogs feature photos of rail thin celebrities and models and offer ludicrous "tips" like this: "If you are really craving something specific and are on the verge of a binge, go into the kitchen, prepare it, and then eat it -- but do not swallow! Chew it slowly, enjoy it, and then spit it out. Immediately after that rinse your mouth with water at least three times before swallowing a sip so you do not accidentally ingest any calories." They're awful.
So, when Tumblr announced that self-harm blogs, particularly thinspiration ones, wouldn't be welcome in their community anymore, I thought, "Good." Actually, I thought, "Really good." Even if it does infringe upon people's free speech.
Our Content Policy has not, until now, prohibited blogs that actively promote self-harm. 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.
Judging by the amount of "likes" the post has, most people are in favor of this decision. But, of course, not everyone is. One Tumblr user wrote: "Tumblr wants to shut down self-harm blogs? That would be a big mistake. I’ll never support self harm. I don’t think that it’s good. But shutting down those blogs won’t solve the problem. I made this blog to show people that they’re not alone."
Thing is, not all the self-harm blogs out there are to show others that they're not alone, they're to encourage people (see pro-ana tip above). Most likely, these blogs are doing more harm than good, as they're totally unregulated and run by non-professionals. If Tumblr doesn't want to be associated with such activity, they absolutely shouldn't have to be. It's for the user's good.
And anyway, the sad fact is, there are plenty of other places on the web to find such stuff, so, really, one less place probably won't make much of a difference.
Do you think Tumblr should shut down such blogs?
Image via joshwept/Flickr