Honestly it’s been a while since I used tumblr properly, so I don’t think me dropping off is going to cause too many people to question everything they know, but it’s time to be intentional about it.
I watch my tumblr feed heaps, mostly cause I love inspirational quotes more than deep fried ice cream (and boy do I love deep fried ice cream…), but every time I come by I’m finding myself more and more uncomfortable with where we’re at.
Get ready, this is gonna get deep, and harsh, and maybe really weird…and possibly “seriously, you’re a prude…” but, hey, we’re friends cause you like being challenged…lets see how we go?
I’m sick of seeing my favourite girls believing they aren’t worth anything, when they’re fun, funny, amazing and so beautiful… so lets try and put some facts to why they can’t see this…
My biggest fault with tumblr is in it’s anon ask service. Honestly, these services should be illegal, at least for anyone under 30. In Queensland we’ve at least 13 young people take their lives in the last 3 years directly because of cyber bullying. In fact the biggest killer of Australian’s under 25 is now suicide.
"But teenagers are old enough to look after themselves" says the world, at the same time a teenager says "Hey, I have a dream to do that" and we quickly reply "Shhh, you’re too young."
See the truth is, it’s the other way round, as our high schoolers try and forge identity they’re likely to expand their wings and try rebellious, risky behaviour. As they have their dreams undercut and short changed by the (false) reality of “you’re not old enough” - which, by the way, falls into the same catergory of “you’re not good enough” they turn to finding their identity in other people “Ask me a question, so I can try and show who I am…but also secretly find out if you care about me, or what makes you think about me.”
If you’ve ever seen the anon ask page of a high schooler, at it’s most brutally honest, it’s totally uncool. Apparent tough warriors hide behind their anon identity and say horribly, gutless things, apparently trying to achieve little more than hurting someone. Easy to do when you are guaranteed no consequence. Tumblr, why do you guarantee no consequence? Saying horrible things to people just to hurt, from the safety of no identity is not humanity, it’s not being real, it’s not freedom of speech, it’s very broken.
"So what, they have the option to switch it off, or ignore harsh comments" is naive. When you’re proving your worth and identity to the world, appearing weak is not an option.
Even you, an adult will rarely risk that.
Surely, it’s more than just an issue with anon questions
You’re right. It is.
It’s the content. I don’t care if you call me a prude.
As eating disorders represent the third most common chronic illness for young females, and 70% of adolescent girls now admit to being dissatisfied with their body. New trends now see 1 in 10 people with an eating disorder being male. Tumblr provides a platform of idolising unhealthy body image, while we might enjoy the picture not for the body size and shape, but the art, the message that hits the developing minds of high schoolers is very loud and clear about body image.
Tumblr is also home to unhealthy life choices. As images hit our brain of “I’d like to feel that way” or live that way, be that way, hang out like that, with those kind of people, we also see what’s encouraged alongside that. Mostly drinking, sometimes drugs. Here in Australia more than a quarter of our 14-19 year olds are putting themselves at risk of harm from underage drinking and binge drinking at least once a month. You see the problem with underage drinking isn’t the law, it’s the damage it has on the still developing brain, it doesn’t finish till mid-20s.
"We used to drink" say the parents, forgetting they used to drink beers, as this generation hits up spirits.
It’s always a touchy subject, underage drinking, because it’s so part of Australia culture for it to be normal. You can’t party without it.
"I enjoy drinking, and getting drunk" say so many teenagers. Ignoring the deeper question of WHY?
But we don’t want to answer that. We just want to fit in. Enjoy life. Be free.
So free it’s hard to party without alcohol, or at least pretending you miss it. I’m just not sure that’s the freedom I want.
The thing is, I don’t blame teenagers for any of this. They don’t do anything wrong. All they did was grow up at a time where parents are disconnected and marketers rule the roost.
And marketers want you to buy
and you buy when you’re told “Just one more thing will make you good enough…”
But one more thing leads to another, and another things we don’t have, means we’re never good enough.
No wonder teenagers feel like crap, they’ve been told their whole life they aren’t good enough.
But they are. They have all these amazing ideas and dreams about caring for people and changing the world, and being creative, and funny and amazing. And that’s just so cool. So much cooler than anything we do.
I just wish we let them know better. Rather than being mad at them all the time. Rather than not understanding how amazingly they express themselves.
Without making out like we’re disappointed.
Cause I’m not. High schoolers today are more clever, creative and talented than any before them. We just aren’t slowing down to look.
And tumblr’s pretending to recognise it, but really, it’s just putting more obstacles in their way, and that’s why, at least for now, I’m leaving.
You wanna talk about sex, don’t you?
Always. Switch off now if you think I’ve already gone stupid with this, cause it’ll just get stupider here…but I’m just over girls I love lots believing they aren’t worth anything.
I realise this is deep, and counter cultural, but if you’re a friend of mine you’re smart, and logical, and you like being challenged. So shall we?
I scroll through tumblr and see a lot of sexualised images. We’re all sick of young girls being told they’re only good when they turn blokes on…we already talked about body image, and don’t pretend this issue doesn’t make that issue horribly worse, also, go hang with Melinda Tankard Reist for 5mins to be reminded how much of an ISSUE this actually is (not like a do gooder, or God botherer issue, but a society messing up issue).
But it’s more than sexualised images. It’s the photo of oral sex, or sex, or just before, or just after, or hands in pants. The problem with those images on the teenage mind is while our brains grow and develop they shape what’s normal, so the images of sexual intimacy displayed become the expected norm. The damage this does to boys, and girls as they start bonding in intimate relationships is horrible. No one ever matches up to the image, and pleasure, unrealistically modelled in porn (even if it is just an arty tumblr picture). We’re only just now starting to see how internet porn is, sometimes irreversibly, damaging the married relationships of men who were addicted to porn as teenagers.
Don’t believe its a fad, a trend, something to outgrow, or by any stretch of the imagination, normal. Infidelity will grow massively in marriages over the coming decades because boys, and increasingly girls, have grown up expecting something that isn’t real, and they’ll keep looking for it, as their brain (and penis/vagina) begs them to.
Even if it risks the wife/husband, kids, house, job, lifestyle.
They’ve been told since childhood sex is a transaction, and has no emotional consequence.
Turns out when you’re married with kids, it does, and all that meaningless porn that tumblr (and the world) said was okay, led to meaningless sex, led to…brokeness.
Pffftttt, that’s so judgemental, it’s just fun, it won’t affect me, I get it.
Hrmm, okay, I get this all seems extreme and harsh, but it’s also scientific, and logical. Experimentation has always happened, but this is new, crazy territory.