I love Tumblr. Really. It’s my biggest time-waster, and I’ve said more than once that it’s been a good source for discussion and learning when it comes to social issues, especially because, duh, you’re dealing with a lot of different people with a lot of different experiences discussing said experiences. And when it comes to negative ones, the goal tends to be making the world a less shitty place for pretty much any oppressed group. And that’s all well and good and admirable and important and understandable, and one of the things I’m big on is not invalidating someone’s feelings–if someone tells you something is a problem, especially if it’s rooted in their own experiences, you have a responsibility to listen at the very least. You might not always understand or even agree, but it’s not really your place to say, “No, your feelings about this are wrong.”
That said, Tumblr has become an angry place. I still enjoy it, but aspects of it are a predictable routine. I understand where almost all of the anger, whether its toward white people from people of color or toward cisgendered people from the trans community or toward heterosexuals from the LGBTQ community or toward Christians from any other religious affiliation, it seems, or women toward men. It’s rooted in a majority group having power and control and using it negatively, so the anger makes sense. And the anger itself isn’t even inherently bad. The problem is that lately, Tumblr’s gotten downright hostile. Almost everything is problematic, and the word “problematic” itself is starting to be considered a buzzword that people throw around whenever someone does something they don’t like. And while people accurately chime in so much saying “not all _____ are like that!” it happens so often that it’s basically a running joke and a point almost everyone expects to hear that only makes people even angrier, usually because saying that misses the point of a problem and turns it back around to make someone else a victim.
If that was the extent of it, we could probably all deal and move on, but the problem is things you’ve got people attacking just about every group there is. Like I said, the anger is understandable and often justified, but when you’re getting to the point that you’re actually using violent language or even condoning violence, you’re not actually helping anything for anybody and you’re making things even more hateful. People are gonna have a hard time listening to and learning from someone else’s perspective and potentially moving toward understanding and acceptance if they’re being told they’re scum and should die. But even people speaking up and pointing out how bad it is to fight hate with hate get attacked–and remember, choosing not to lash out at a whole group is not the same thing as accepting bad things some members of said group are responsible for.
Neil Gaiman apparently described it as “addicted to outrage,” which is really accurate. The state of Tumblr affairs is summed up excellently in this very simple post in which someone complains about grape medicine being terrible and it turns into a criticism of cisgendered white men, except no one knows if they’re being serious or not. And that’s the way it goes. And the extent of how ridiculous things get is demonstrated here, where someone argues that a GIF set of a little boy pursuing a little girl isn’t cute but is rather a sickening display of rape culture in action and is why boys grow up to be rapists–also know as the exact moment I had to stop and say, “Okay, Tumblr, that’s enough.” I won’t get into how convoluted that argument is, though, because someone did a beautiful breakdown of how ridiculous it is. But I will add that Terra, who has studied the psychology and mental health of kids, said that kids that young don’t have much understanding of anything other than what they like and dislike.
But the most perfect example? This post which very accurately demonstrates how things have devolved.