Op-Ed: Don’t Fall Prey to Tumblr’s Trap

Sarah Wagner February 5, 2014 1
Op-Ed: Don’t Fall Prey to Tumblr’s Trap

Millions of people visit the popular website, Tumblr, each day.  Don’t get me wrong, there are many beautiful images on this site that inspire people everyday. However, people can also be negatively inspired as well. Tumblr has a bit of a dark side, a series of blogs that promote eating disorders and/or self harm.

These blogs can be addictive. Many young girls see pictures of deathly skinny female bodies, with horrible captions about doing whatever it takes to achieve that body type.  Maybe teens want some motivation to lose weight, maybe they come across it at random, or maybe it’s some combination of different factors.

No matter how it starts, consistently viewing these types of images normalizes them.  Girls see these pictures and think that they must go to extremes to achieve the “perfect body.”  We seem to have this almost innate obsession with thinness. It’s hard to remember that for centuries it was not this way.

The desire to be thin seems to be arguably just a female problem.  Sure, males also feel a tremendous pressure to look good, and male eating disorders should not be overlooked, but there must be a reason that 85-90 percent of eating disorders occur in females.

What is the reason for this shocking statistic? Is it the media? Is it society as a whole? One study shows that  40-60 percent of elementary school girls (ages 6-12) are concerned about their weight or about becoming too fat.  What does a person truly gain from having a flat stomach and/or a thigh gap? Apart from clinical obesity and health problems that can sometimes accompany bad eating habits, I see no logical reason for this obsession.

Not to say it does not impact me and those around me. Everyone wants to look good, but where do we draw the line?

Let me put it this way: eating disorders are something that many people face.  They are dangerous and potentially fatal.  Encouraging self starvation, purging, or any other form of bodily harm on a blog is not okay. Even Tumblr started to realize that these types of blogs are not okay.

Screen Shot 2014-01-21 at 8.49.23 AM

This is the message that Tumblr displays on its website when potentially harmful words are searched.

Tumblr started to include an automatic pop up message that gives resources for people struggling with self harming patterns so that they will hopefully find some sort of help.

If you are constantly logging on to Tumblr—or any website for that matter—to view things that make you feel worse about yourself, you may have fallen prey to Tumblr’s trap.  The process of stopping can be difficult, as this can be almost like an addiction.

It all comes down to personal happiness.  Even if you want to lose a few pounds, there is absolutely no need to make yourself miserable over the fact.

And to those who run these harmful blogs: the guilt should ultimately fall on your shoulders for the actions that you have burdened thousands of girls worldwide with.

Featured Image: Tumblr’s logo.  Drawn by Sarah Wagner ’16

One Comment »

  1. Bhujit February 8, 2014 at 11:01 pm - Reply

    This is a great article and I am so glad that I read it! Every human being has his/her insecurities but these blogs and websites make people feel bad about themselves. Everyone wants to have that ‘perfect’ body but in reality there is no perfect body. Everyone looks different and has a different body shape that they should be proud of. We can all make a choice of not looking at things that make us miserable, especially women. The bottom line is that we are women and so should should be proud of looking like one, all the curves included.

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