(Before you start reading this article, I want to clarify that I’m aware of the thousands of amazing feminist Tumblr blogs doing an amazing work in order to end body-shaming and the exclusion of POC girls. However, these are not the blogs I want to talk about, and you’ll find out what kind of aesthetic and blog I’m referring to soon).
Ever since Tumblr came out as the new big thing, it made a name as a gathering point for girls – mainly teenagers – who didn’t seem to fit the accepted canon of beauty. Girls who were not interested in mainstream culture and whose appearance wasn’t reflected on beauty magazines. Not only that, but it also organized all those girls into categories, bringing out labels such as ‘hipster’ and ‘alternative’, so the girls who never seemed to fit a determinate style would now be able to. But I begin to wonder, has tumblr actually made such a big contribution to the end of stereotypes? Is tumblr actually such a wonderland? Has tumblr actually managed to destroy the beauty canon, or at least widen it, as we’re so often made believe?
As I didn’t want to get all judgmental without making further research, I tried something simple. Very, very simple, indeed. What’s better to recognize a stereotype than Google Images? So here’s what I typed: tumblr girl, tumblr hipster girl, tumblr alternative girl. And you want to know what I saw? Here’s what I saw: I saw white girls wearing beanies, white girls with colorful hair, white girls with piercings and tattoos, white girls wearing ‘alternative’ clothes… white girls white girls white girls white girls.
And I'll tell you what's wrong about that.
Being a tumblr user myself, I’ve always been made believed that the website was somewhat of a refuge from mainstream fashion and beauty standards. I’ve never even questioned the fact that tumblr meant variety until now. However, by connecting tumblr to the concept of variety, we’re actually ending up on the same narrow-minded loop. Now talking as a Latina, even though I'm light-skinned, it's still frustrating to think of how I never see a POC girl included in beauty standards, how we can never truly relate to the beauty or fashion world, even when it claims to embrace diversity. And I wonder why we're given the hopes of being included in a website acclaimed for not being 'discriminatory' when we end up seeing the same beauty ideal of everyday: the girl I see on tumblr pictures is just a renewed version of the girl I see on magazines.
White girls with colorful hair, piercings and tattoos might not be what we’re used to see on the mainstream media and press or on our everyday lives, but it’s still too far from what we could fairly call ‘variety’. The problem with the concept ‘tumblr girl’ is that she never turned out to be a black girl, a Latina, an Asian… The 'tumblr girl' is, at the end of the day, a white, western girl. Nothing but a 'new' concept that widens the possibilities of aesthetics for white girls, bringing them to light as something trendy, different, creative (it is undeniable that the mainstream world has, some years after the big explosion of tumblr, appealed to that as a source of inspiration, whether it comes as fashion trends or in any other shape), while POC girls are still not included, misleading us to be impressed by a so-called diversity which is nothing but a new version of the same old status-quo.