The Tumblr Take-Down, part 1 of 2

Starting yesterday, Tumblr began a campaign to identify and hide adult content, which they describe as “photos, videos, or GIFs that show real-life human genitals or female-presenting nipples, and any content—including photos, videos, GIFs and illustrations—that depicts sex acts.”

Some users are angry about losing their easy access to free porn.  I saw a petition circulating to keep the adult content active for artistic reasons.  I decided to use this opportunity to, first of all, post some hot, hot wrestling images I’ve seen on Tumblr lately, and second, to write a couple articles about pro wrestling content and its relationship to pornography.

Tumblr has become a primary source of material for this blog.  I’ve found a number of posters who upload just the imagery I’ve loved since I first got hard flipping through magazines at the drug store: dudes in pro gear, muscles, boots, bare chests and backs, faces contorted in suffering, hair-pulling, you get the picture.

And for me, I don’t need to see “real-life human genitals” or photos that “depict sex acts” to be satisfied.  I will look at the adult stuff if it’s made available, but it’s really the wrestling that is my porn.  This has enabled easy access to my version of adult content for my entire life, with it freely available and in plain sight in magazines, on television, and now on-line.  It’s as if nobody else can tell that this is pornography (although they seem to notice that it’s seedy and inappropriate), so it has never been censored.

So this “Tumblr Take-Down,” as I’ve named it, will probably not impact me very much.  The beauty of being turned on by content that most others see as non-sexual, non-homo-erotic, and non-pornographic, means that access to it is never restricted.

Most other people will see a wrestler, proudly on display in his trunks and boots, and consider it just an athlete in his sports uniform.  It will not be flagged as inappropriate content.  In my next article on the Tumblr Take-Down, I will dig deeper into where the line may be drawn between traditional wrestling that is acceptable Sports Entertainment and “sex acts.”

Pro wrestling has always hidden its homo-erotic content in plain sight.  The S&M scenes, the bondage, near nudity, kinky costumes, and male-on-male touching are encoded as a sporting event gone slightly awry, or a competition, or as artistic expression.  The sexiness is clothed in a manner that most people don’t even see it.

This photo of a wrestler performing in a one-strap singlet is a good example of the eroticism hidden before our very eyes.  Most viewers will glance at him and quickly discard him as an object of sexual attraction.  He is a bit pudgy and hairy, wearing a ridiculous pink singlet that resembles a woman’s bathing suit — not exactly the ideal specimen of masculine beauty, fitness, or elegance, and nothing needing to be censored as adult content.

But as a life-long wrestling addict, I am triggered by  this sexy, beastly Heel and can’t take my eyes off him.  His well-developed arms and hairy body are markers of manliness.  His tight singlet boldly reveals every curve and bulge, hinting at his confidence.  And the single strap makes him resemble a brutish Neanderthal, or maybe a classic 1960’s dickhead Heel.  That pink leotard paired with white boots lends an air of sexual deviance and kinkiness.  As boned up as he makes me feel, nobody identifies his photo as pornography.

Part of the reason pro wrestling is able to conceal the homo-erotic subject matter inherent in its performance is the make-up of its viewing audience.  Straight young men watch pro wrestling — the sort of swaggering, tough, masculine Bros who would never give off a whiff of fairy dust.

And children watch pro wrestling, for heavens sake.  So there cannot be queer, inappropriate, sexually suggestive antics happening in front of an audience of dudes and kids.  This audience wouldn’t, or shouldn’t, watch gay porn, so the action in the ring cannot BE homo-erotic, right??

And with explicit, graphic pornography of all types now easily accessible online, the veiled references and subtle sexual innuendo found in the wrestling ring pale in comparison.   The wrestlers would have to get a lot more graphic and nude before they could out-porn Pornhub.

So I’m feeling pretty confident that the Tumblr Take-Down that has so many porn-watchers in an uproar will have little effect on my access to great pro wrestling content.  This is the advantage of being aroused by content that is apparently invisible to 99% of the audience.


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9 Responses to The Tumblr Take-Down, part 1 of 2

  1. PiledriveU says:

    The problem is that if a site had a bit of adult content, the whole website is taken down. I can’t even get my site to load to get to the non-adult content, until somehow I sift through years of content.

  2. admin says:

    That’s too bad because that is not how they described they would handle it. I thought the adult content would be flagged and become private, so only the blogger could view it, but it would still be available.

  3. MenDominated says:

    Posting what I’ve learned if it helps anybody…

    Tumblr is often hiding the entire blog if anything might be “explicit”. This is being predetermined by computer algorithms that unfortunately see many pro wrestling images as “explicit” because they have lots of exposed flesh and bodies pressed together. The computer is not nuanced enough to see that this is wrestling rather than sex. Individual posts get automatically tagged as explicit and you have to manually scroll through every post and click “review” to have a human look at them. I had a few actual explicit posts on my tumblr that I deleted as soon as they announced their policy shift. But many of my posts containing pictures of wedgies, trunk pulls, low blows, and wrestling holds were flagged. Every one of them was successfully appealed, but it’s a tedious process (and my tumblr was very small). You just have to wait a while (generally within 24 hours).

    Then, if your tumblr was previously self-identified as having some adult content, or automatically flagged as such, you have to file a support ticket to have your tumblr marked as non-explicit. If you go to “Edit Appearance” on your tumblr you can scroll to the bottom “Visibility” to see if you are flagged as explicit. Then you click through to their help page (it links to the default help, so you have to look through the whole page for the link At the bottom of that page it tells you how to file a support ticket to get your tumblr unflagged. Once I found that info, it took 5 seconds to send the support ticket. I just did this an hour ago, so not sure how long til my tumblr is cleared again and visible to the public.

    I think a lot of great wrestling-related tumblrs will simply die because they’ve made it hard to navigate. Their communication about the process made things sound easier than it really is. Marking all your flagged posts for review is very tedious if anybody has a lot of posts flagged. And while the support ticket is simple and quick, they don’t make it easy to find how to do that.

    Wrestling-related content on tumblr is going to experience the same abundant incorrect blocking that it has had on Facebook. So many people who post great wrestling content on Facebook (non-nude, non-sexual, non-explicit) get their images blocked, accounts suspended, etc because the computer algorithms see men in revealing gear as sexual by default, and more so if they are in positions other than an obvious standing pose. Frustratingly, the computer filters are much more relaxed about the level of similar content it simply ignores for women. (Perhaps the one exception is how the female nipple gets handled, but that’s more a response to American culture.) This whole process is also complicated by the fact that many of the humans who these companies contract to review the appeal processes can be from cultures/contexts that are offended/embarrassed by male beauty/semi-clothedness, and they are much more inclined to have a homophobic response to wrestling-related content featuring two men. This has also caused problems on YouTube, Instagram, and other platforms.

    The computers and humans involved in all these systems are typically much more forgiving and permissive of female bodies and positions than males, because the majority involved in developing these are straight and that’s their sensibility/values. It is similar to the studies that have been done about how some racial minorities get handled differently in certain computer systems (such as facial recognition, security, etc) because the majority of humans involved are not certain minorities, and the majority of data the computers have to learn algorithms from are based on white people.

    Also, I fear your hope that your/our beloved wrestling non-porn porn will always be easily available is at risk, too. I have observed an increase over the years of certain fans of this content making over-the-top comments/feedback in all sorts of inappropriate venues. These people frequently post very explicit commentary on YouTube, Facebook, and other platforms in response to others who post wrestling-related content. Explicit comment about the wrestlers or content, explicit fantasies, their own fantasy challenges to wrestler, etc. I’ve observed maybe 2 dozen or so who have been very prolific with this behavior (often repeatedly across multiple platforms), and I’ve observed how some wrestlers, photographers, videographers, promotions that post content have stopped, restricted content, or had other reactions to this inappropriate behavior. I think platforms have also responded to a degree to complaints about this behavior. I’m not talking about appropriate, appreciative comments. The majority of wrestlers respond well to gay fans keeping things non-explicit. But some people unfortunately think that it’s okay to harass and even sexually harass people online because they aren’t doing it face-to-face, and that I think damages the wrestling community and the LGBT community.

  4. Alex Miller says:

    I was just thinking how PiledriveU is the Tumblr that I will miss the most. I tried to go see what remained and all that happened was that I got sent back to my dashboard. I hope it gets fixed because my favorite posts didn’t show any nudity. They were the #ask posts where he and readers talked themes and described past matches and fantasies.

    Hope it gets fixed, PDU!

  5. admin says:

    Thanks for this excellent and detailed information about what has happened on Tumblr. Hopefully your comments will encourage other wrestling bloggers to take the trouble to keep their content accessible to the wrestling fanbase…

  6. K T Ong says:

    You forgot to mention all the wrestling locks and holds, many of which are intensely homoerotic as well. Seeing a half-naked muscleman’s corded limbs wound around some helpless victim in some intricate fashion is always a huge turn-on for me!

    I agree that it’s a pity Tumblr had to implement the said policy. What’s with all this prudishness anyway? I seem to have heard that in some of the Nordic countries, where porn is apparently uncensored, there are also very few incidences of rape (before all the immigrants came, that is). Something to reflect on if you ask me.

  7. James says:

    Ridiculously sloppy computer algorithms flagged the majority of my own pro wrestling pics on my non adult Art tumblr (often featuring pro wrestling stuff). Other images that were flagged were amateur college wrestling pics, vintage bodybuilding and physique images, any photograph of an arm or hand and finally an image of a scuba diver being menaced by a fake shark. Most were eventually restored after an labor intensive appeal process, there were over 100 appeals. Yet, there are many innocuous non-adult images that are in limbo just flagged and blocked without recourse.

    I won’t write a dissertation on my own love of pro wrestling that is firmly planted in sport, entertainment, kink, porn, gymnastics, showmanship and theater. It’s no secret that the suspended reality of pro wrestling can be all of those things.

  8. Mick M says:

    Hi! Does anyone know the name of the sexy jobber in the blue Speedo face down on the ropes in the second pic? Great little bod! Happy New Year!

  9. Dan Erickson says:

    So funny you should mention the hiding-in-plain-sight nature of the wrestling kink – I latched onto that and started writing novels about it. If current trends of steroid muscle being a necessary entree into the wrestling world continues to match the steroid muscle requirement in the porn world, wrestlers and porn stars will always have a huge overlap in appearance.

    I*’m writing about the futureworld of pro wrestling where this net nanny attitude about sex has withered finally and commerce has won over that churchy equation. This is not a sales push on my part, but showing the place where we have industries that showcase sexual men and how crazy and threatened people are by that idea.

    As to Tumblr, I’m on there as Bigsqueezer – my pen name over the last 20 years – and showcase bearhugs and bodyscissors and male muscle. I was amazed at how nearly every bearhug was instantly struck down as “sensitive” and just everything with large pecs was struck down. Everything with Brian Cage was gone. About 80% of the bearhugs were gone. I challenged all of their decisions, but now my whole blog is labelled as “Sensitive”. My Likes are locked away. My Subscribers list is locked away.

    The amusing thing is how this stinks of power and control, like they are threatened by this material. Sure sure its their platform and I’m using it free. I just don’t know of any service that continues when they declare war on their users. Within our ranks are saints and sinners. We’re all going to have a reaction ranging from “whatever” to “Fuck tumbler and they should die” and everyone in between. With this move they have insulted a committed rank of hackers and angry bored people with free time. What could go wrong? I smell something…. smells like Yahoo.