The Return of Tumblr Culture 

Temi Idowu

During the covid-19 pandemic and the inevitable lockdown, in order to survive these trying times many people turned to nostalgia. The need to escape to more simpler times led to the resurgence of many things such as the Y2k trend, the return of indie culture and surprisingly enough 2014 Tumblr.

Tattoo chokers were suddenly making a comeback as well as the telltale sign of the return of the indie girl, drawing a heart on your cheek.
TikTok was a haven for trends that were popular on tumblr were either returning to their full glory or were rebranded in a way that made them different but still recognisable. For example the Coquette Girls on tiktok being a slight rebrand of the pastel pink “Lolita” girls, the return of the twee aesthetic represented by Zoey Deshanel and the resurgence of cottagecore. 

Many people were loving this Tumblr renaissance. It was a fun way to re-live teenage years and revel in nostalgia as a way to escape modern troubles. The return of the indie sleaze movement with the cherry red lip gloss inspired by Lana del Rey, smudged eyeliner and brightly dyed hair.

Many girls saw it as a push back against the influencers with perfect skin and meticulous routine that were seen on Tiktok. It was the ability to embrace an imperfection that tumblr allowed. However many people were wary about the comeback for one particular reason. As a space, Tumblr was known for many things; it was very easy to find community on tumblr and the site was built in a way to encourage that. One of these communities that we are unfortunately seeing on Tiktok are the pro-anorexic or “pro- ana” community.

Tumblr unfortunately had a habit of romanticising sadness. Whether it’s depressive texts written in pretty fonts including back drop to edits of the TV show ”Skins” quoting lines about Casssie’s eating disorder. Tumblr loved the beautification of self-destruction and the pro-ana community was a result of that. Girls posting their bodies edited in a way that made them look an unhealthy, people posting tips on how to starve yourself and motivations like, “thinspo” and “meanspo” making their rounds on the site encouraging young girls to develop or further their eating disorders.

Even in a time when conversations around body positivity and the rejection of “fatphobia” have become more commonplace, these accounts have started rearing their heads on Tiktok. With girls what they eat in a day with a Fiona apple song playing in the background of a plate that has barely any food on it and with this means the slow return of the glorification of thinness.

The resurgence of tumble on tiktok has been exciting for some and downright traumatic for others. I believe that more work should be put into policing these pages so as to not expose young girls to these harmful and terrifying ideas. It is important to remember that your body is enough and if you’re having issues with eating disorders make sure to reach out to resources such as “Body whys”. The important thing is nostalgia can be fun but let’s not forget the darker sides of it and be careful of how we engage.