Aug. 17th, 2017

rynling: (Gator Strut)
I’m going to be taking a break from Tumblr for a while. The polarization of the politics there has convinced me that it’s not a safe or sane place to be right now.

According to the dictates of what’s become known as “purity discourse” on Tumblr, media that contains elements deemed to be “problematic” is a direct threat to human life and civil liberties, and fans who create work referencing the wrong character or romantic pairing must be violently called out for the good of the community. This is why, between April and October of 2016, I received messages containing murder and rape threats on a weekly (and sometimes daily) basis. In addition, multiple Tumblr users who didn’t even bother to send messages anonymously bombarded me with detailed instructions on how to commit suicide.

Although these intimidation tactics reflect those of alt-right communities on 4chan and reddit, they are a direct result of global reactionary political movements. In other words, people who justifiably felt as if they were under attack in the real world vented their frustrations on the targets within their reach, many of whom unfortunately happened to be members of other marginalized groups on Tumblr.

In the wake of the American presidential election, this activity intensified, and many people have responded to aggressive radicalism by discounting progressive ideas altogether. Since purity discourse has shut down a number of conversations concerning issues such as race and representation, what has filled the void is content that has become popular because it presents a facade of the diversity privileged by Tumblr culture while actually supporting conservative beliefs.

Within my own particular corner of fandom, almost every progressive voice was driven away by the same sort of harassment I suffered; and now, in the absence of these voices, expressions of white supremacy are tolerated and occasionally even tacitly encouraged. To speak out against these sentiments is tantamount to identifying oneself with purity discourse, thus inviting backlash and ostracization.

I refuse to choose between ideological purity and casual racism, and so I think it’s best if I distance myself from Tumblr until I can clear my head a bit.

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