So to clarify exactly what’s happening with tumblr here’s a quote from the new TOS/Community Guidelines that go into effect on the 17th:
Don’t upload images, videos, or GIFs that show real-life human genitals
or female-presenting nipples —this includes content that is so
photorealistic that it could be mistaken for featuring real-life humans
(nice try, though). Certain types of artistic, educational,
newsworthy, or political content featuring nudity are fine. Don’t
upload any content, including images, videos, GIFs, or illustrations,
that depicts sex acts.
What does this mean?
This means that fandom content depicting nudity will still be allowed. It also means that fandom content depicting things that would earn a T rating on Ao3 if they were on there will still be allowed in terms of images. There will be a protest process if Tumblr mistakenly removes your blog for artistic depictions of nudity (that’s very clear in their announcement.)
What’s going to change?
No sex acts means no sex acts. Because of how the guidelines are currently worded,
it’s unclear whether or not tumblr will allow nsfw written content. (“depicts” being the word in question). It’s very clear that even artistic representations of sex will not be allowed. (Apparently, tumblr will still allow erotica. I am doubtful.)
Tumblr will join a host of other social media sites that enforce western norms on all their users, and censor women’s nipples as inappropriate. (Their wording is a little odd there too. Are they censoring women or also genderfluid people who feel more fem that particular day or WHAT?)
Tumblr will also stop being a safe place for sex workers. (I’m obviously not talking about porn bots here. I’m talking about real people.) It will force these people to retreat to less public spaces, in which there is a greater chance of them experiencing real danger. That sucks.
Is this the death of fandom?
No. This has happened to us before and it will happen again. Until fandom communication is hosted on servers controlled by an organization like Ao3, this will keep happening and we will keep rebuilding. And it sucks. But we’ll figure it out.