I've had a day or two to stew about this and process my initial reaction to Tumblr's recent announcement about their content policy changes. Unsurprisingly, I am upset about this upcoming shift. Livid, even. When I was in therapy for my anxiety and depression, one of the things that my therapist and I discussed was that our anger can often come from a place of fear.
So let's talk about what I'm afraid of.
Loss of Community
I can post my art on my own website all day long, but the key point for any creative folk is getting your content in front of eyeballs and ear holes. Keeping your content on your own storefront or forums is great...if you can also afford to have someone dedicated to moderating those community spaces. (And if you don't have human moderators for this, you're gonna have a bad time.)
Loss of Spaces for Exploring Sexuality
I won't start my rant about how violence and sexuality are treated in American culture, but this approach of squashing anything relating to sex and not talking about it is not healthy.
And the ridiculous assumption that ANYTHING featuring queer characters must mean it is "adult content" is even more unhealthy. Two lesbian werewolves kissing is not adult. It is life. (Okay, a fantasy life, but my point remains. Also, yes, my art featuring this particular topic was flagged.)
Seriously. Stop shaming a naked body, and nudity does not always imply sexy times. Body shaming affects everybody, and it starts early. Stahp.
Loss of Spaces for Sex Workers and Erotic Artists
Lol these tweets with "it's your fault you shouldn't have put all your eggs in one basket" where exactly are all the baskets adult content artists are supposed to use— Duchess of Beefcake🌈💪 (@jendrawscomics) December 3, 2018
Where is the meadow full of options please enlighten us
Sigh. So many sites are rejecting adult content altogether, or putting together guidelines that are so lax as to be unenforceable. Backpage is gone, Patreon continues its shenanigans on that front, Paypal has always been hit or miss, Amazon is selective, Twitch doesn't allow it, Instagram doesn't allow it, Pinterest doesn't allow it, Craigslist...the list goes on. Where, exactly, can creators go? Where can adult content creators go to engage with a fan base, show off their work, get more customers, and also have some semblance of enforcing boundaries when some humans ignore them?
There isn't a good answer to this. One of the benefits of Tumblr was being able to curate your content feed, and block the things that you didn't want to see. (Some kinks are not for everybody, and that's fine...and for folks with PTSD, it was *great* to be able to kill triggering content.)
Sex workers and adult content creators should be able to get paid for their work. And make no mistake, it is work to create things, even when it's wangs and nip-nops.
The (Unnippled) Future?
I have no idea what's coming next. For me, right now, it sounds like I'll be continuing to lock down my erotic content behind a membership gate here on DarkSun Studio. But again, this doesn't help grow my fan base when everything is behind a wall. Will it be Ello? Dreamwidth? Pillowfort? Mastodon? Who knows?
I have toyed with the idea of creating a NSFW-friendly Patreon-style site...but hoo boy. There are a lot of hurdles, and a lot of them are because of American legislation and laws. It is not a small venture by any means, and not to mention costly—just acquiring an adult content-friendly credit card processor is a significant investment. (Not to mention that your bank accounts can be shut down on a whim because again, "adult content" is all in the eyes of the beholder.)
If you wanna get more info on this topic, check out Episode 20 of the Dirty Old Ladies podcast, "Publishing Porn." And if you want to see the randomness of posts that are being flagged on Tumblr, carolinethegeek has been collecting a few of them.