A Eulogy for Nudity on Tumblr

If you’re not up to an angry rant, you might want to navigate away from this page!

So I just happened to notice a rant by a fellow blogger (Thanks MacPsych!) that he posted the night before Tumblr enforced their nudity ban – though I didn’t happen to notice his post until the night after Tumblr enforced their nudity ban – with a generous 14 days warning, I might add. I was clearly asleep at the wheel

I’m presently staying at Peace Blue Naturist Resort on Phuket, Thailand. My morning ritual involves walking about one kilometer to either Rawai or Naiharn beach, then strolling along with sea wondering to myself, “Why the hell are rules regarding nudity so incredibly rigid here!?” This also leads me into a series of mind-games where I start paying closer attention to the attire of the people I pass along the way. In this part of the country, some are wrapped in enough clothing for the coldest of days in Chicago, while others could be the poster child for the definition of scantily clad – in that way that draws your attention to particular physical attributes. (I won’t even bother to digress into the remarkable attributes of the Speedo and German men.)

But as I was making my way back, the simplest of facts occurred to me! I’ve traveled to nearly fifty countries on six continents where I have spent time – on each of these continents – with naked people and people wearing cloths. NEWS FLASH: With very few exceptions, they ALL look just about the same, with one set of accoutrements or the other.

While this is a country mile from anything close to rocket science, what I don’t understand is why Tumblr not only decided to follow suit with Facebook and Instagram regarding policies on nudity, but seems to have carved an even wider swath than their prudish media counterparts. For me, Tumblr was something of a Naturist Clearing House… I followed blogs that focused on real naturist photography, avoiding those that had a voyeuristic edge, and simply blocking the ones that were overtly sexual. (I don’t actually have a problem with sexual imagery, I just didn’t want it cluttering up the message of my naturist blog!) But most importantly, when I found a photo that I thought portrayed naturism in a particularly positive or holistic light, I’d reblog it as if to say, “See! This is what naturism is really about! Simply being naked in the woods, or at a lake, or with friends and family at the beach.”

But I was too late. By the time I got to my my Tumblr site, it had been ravaged into ruins by the Tumblr bots, tagging or removing at least 90% of the photos I had amassed there over the years, many of which were directly from my own blog posts, like this one.

Here’s the real kicker though! To create this blog post, I performed a series of Google image searches, all of which included the word nudist, naturist, or even known naturist destinations like those in Croatia and France. In an effort to demonstrate some sense of diversity, so that we might take note of the fact that black, Asian, Indian, Middle Eastern and Europeans all have the same body parts, but simply in varied proportions. But as I conducted my search, Mr. Google pulled down copious amounts of some of the randiest, raunchiest pornography I have ever seen. In fact, it took me forever to find the eighteen images included in this post amidst literally thousands of images ranging from the mildly provocative, to people doing things I had never even dreamed of before! (And I have a pretty vivid imagination.)

So nice work Tumblr. (And you too Instagram and Facebook – though you should know, Mr. Zuckerberg, there are quite a few hot sex clips slipping through your web-bots right onto my news-feed while you’re busy putting me and my naturist friends in FB jail. You just might want to look into that.) In one foul swoop, Tumblr wiped out galleries of real naturist images that people have been collecting and sharing for years. Yeah, I know, supposedly there’s a tool that allows you to go back and recapture those, but I’ll go ahead an pull down the shredded remnants remnant of my Tumblr blog, as I’m sure most others already have. No need to clutter up all that web space with naked people playing volleyball, laying in the sand, and swimming in the sea when those gigabytes could be much better appropriated to legitimate porn sites, many of which I inadvertently visited today while they were hiding behind photos of people walking on a nude beach.

Good lord, social media, what’s next? Maybe you should concentrate on something that matters, liking bringing down the American government by broadly distributing fake news in an effort to eat away at the pillars of democracy. Amazing that you have time to handle all that, while enforcing exposed nipple laws at the same time!

23 thoughts on “A Eulogy for Nudity on Tumblr

  1. Agreed on all counts! Sorry to hear your Tumblr got caught in the crossfire. It’s nonsense really, but got Tumblr back in the Apple App Store. So I guess that’s a win for them? Sad that it’s impacted one of the few communities online where social nudity could be discussed – and seen! – without having to wade through gigabytes of porn to find it.

    Liked by 3 people

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  3. As you say, if you wanted to find any naturism at Tumblr you had to wade through a lot of porn–including porn that was called “naturism”. And even then, the images you’d see were most likely stolen, typically copied from one blog to another without any credit to the original, or any labeling of who was in the pictures or where they were taken. Sorry to say, you’ve illustrated your own blog post with similar material.

    My belief is that if we want to be credible, we have to respect each other’s ownership of copyright, and we have to separate naturist material from anything sexually oriented, and we have to present naturist writing and images on forums which aren’t restricted by age. That’s a lot to ask, but the point would be to make it clear that we’re honest people who are willing to tell their story in front of any audience.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Fair enough. In fact, the whole public domain/ownership thing on the internet is a slippery slope at best, as I find it very difficult to trace an image back to the original source once it’s been floating around the web for a while.

      I’ve actually taken pride in the fact that – except when writing on general topic for which I have no original material – nearly ALL our images are our own, realizing that putting them out there leaves them vulnerable as well. For a long time, I collected images through sources like Clothesfree International, where I was a (paying) member for several years. Attribution was still a dicey situation, but an attempt had certainly been made. And there have been a couple times were I have received a message, “Hey, that’s my image!” where I’ve either immediately edited to give photo credit, or removed it all together. What I DO try to avoid are images that are taken secretively, as you can typically tell by the camera angle and position.

      Not trying to sound as defensive as I probably do, but in a way, you make a very strong illustration for the essence of my post. Simply conducting a search for images (while traveling and away from my saved galleries) of naked people that were NOT somehow connected to a porn site was daunting. And more to YOUR point, tells us exactly what the rest of the world sees when they do a web-search for naturism. And as we leave the filtering process to the owners of social media, it seems the only thing they’re filtering out IS the real stuff. Someone may find images from MY blog on Google or Twitter (if they can sift through all the smut). I took that chance when I posted them. But they won’t find them on Tumblr, Facebook, of Instagram because a web-bot decided there was too much butt cleavage. The whole point of my blog is intended to promote the genuine, honest naturist ideal, but I’ve gotta say – the farther I get into that, the harder it is to figure out exactly how to navigate such a thing.

      Thanks for reading. I appreciate your candid response, and I think about this stuff all the time. I’ll be very sad if my work here is perceived to be contrary to very mission of the project.

      Liked by 2 people

    • P.S. I love a good debate on matters such as these should you wish to keep this spinning. This is the kind of discussion that should be happening on blog forums that have reduced themselves to banter about erections and pubic hair. One thing that COULD help the cause is real discourse about what actually matters. But, then again, that’s not just pertinent to naturism these days.

      Liked by 1 person

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  5. Thank-you. My body is not porn. It is wholesome, natural and it is healthy to casually see it. Tumblr says that it is porn. How much more insulting can they be? Call it what you may, my boycott, or whatever, I quit. I can’t support a contribution to the concept that a human body is a bad thing. I can’t even speak out about it without supporting them.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I deleted my Tumblr the day before the ban. I didn’t have any writing I cared about up there that wasn’t up here or on Blogger. It really amazed me that Tumblr has joined the anti-nudity ranks. But some have pointed out that Tumblr was in the market for major investors. Maybe it was a hostile corporate takeover…

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Jim Williams says:

    Dan I agree with your thoughts wholeheartedly. The thing I liked about Tumblr was it was left up to me what images I liked and the others I could ignore. I try not to be judgemental and let others do their thing without trying to enforce my values on them. There seems to be a lot of that going around these days.

    Liked by 2 people

    • “I try not to be judgemental and let others do their thing without trying to enforce my values on them. ” PREACH THE TRUTH! Clearly there’s material available all over the place that will be offensive to somebody someplace. There’s no way to turn that ship around. What happened to asking people to be responsible for their own values and behavior instead of trying to sanitize a very unsanitary world.

      Thanks for reading.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. wsmoncrieff says:

    Why migrated to MeWe. I’m able to discuss what I want, with whom I want, when I want.

    One one platform I’m a sheep like the rest. On the other, I am the Wolf.

    The major players in the Social Media industry have lost the plot, big time.

    And make no mistake, it IS an Industry. A multi billion dollar one!
    Just my two cents worth.

    Like

  9. It comes down to financial clout. The “enemies” of the nudie lifestyle have far more money to put on the line than the advocates. A small boycott by the morally constipated has a vastly bigger impact than one by the advocates of clothing freedom.

    FB doesn’t get blamed for the porn sites that get by because they “tried”.

    To the religious right (and even a few radical feminists) nude simply equals porn. Period. You can try to explain all you want and in their eyes, you are lying in order to promote pornography. You cannot make them change their definition because *dogma* is not negotiable.

    Look how hard the battle is for gay rights. There are a lot more gays than nudists and gayness isn’t even something you can look at and see. Fifty years of fighting and it is still a dangerous thing to be in many places in the US and socially accepted in only a few.

    Like

    • It’s Dunning-Kruger Syndrome. The less you actually know about something the more knowledgeable you’re likely to insist you are. The fact that no data supports their position labelled irrelevant. These people do not respond to reality. There is hope, though. About 5 years ago a saw a news article in which a Tea Party rally on a college campus came to a screeching halt because one of the organizers threw out “No Marriage Equality!” The students regarded marriage equality as a given so they weren’t concerned with that. What they wanted to know was how marriage equality (or lack thereof) could possibly have any overlap with the Tea Party’s goals. I don;t recall the response, but I do recall the students were not impressed.

      Elsewhere I’ve read that the children of the religious right follow in their parents’ footsteps in steadily decreasing percentages as the years go by.

      None of this helps us now, but it does bode well for the future.

      Liked by 1 person

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