Luckily, this isn’t Tumblr.
I say that, not because of its disgustingly ‘trendy’ name which looks ridiculous, but because of what I call The Tumblr Bubble. They would probably prefer bubbl or something.
The Tumblr Bubble is for people who live on the Tumblr Blog platform, and base their opinions on their experiences in the Bubble.
I find the majority of WordPress blogs are engaging, thought-provoking, cohesive and generally enjoyable to read. This is one of the reasons behind my decision to use WordPress as a platform for my blog.
As for Tumblr… Well, I beg you, reader, not to type ‘mental health’ into the Tumblr search bar. You will be confronted with some upsetting images, which you can’t un-see.
A lot of Tumblr blogs are fantastic. However, because of its demographic, and because it’s very image-based, it’s also filled with people who are destructive when it comes to their, and others’, mental health. There are few constructive blogs in a sea of people who enjoy feeling sorry for themselves.
It is, in my opinion, harmful. People who are suffering from anorexia see images of people who are skinnier than themself, rather than ways to beat their disorder. This just makes someone suffering from an eating disorder worse.
Because of this, the majority of people who use Tumblr are people are people who society sees, or has once seen, as being non-normative. People who might be oppressed if they air their opinions in public.
Specifically, people whose identity doesn’t conform to the identities readily accepted in society are regular users of Tumblr.
Today’s society is very accepting of gays and lesbians. If you are heterosexual or homosexual, you fit into society’s binary way of viewing the world.
However, people who are bisexual, asexual, transexual, transgender, or whose gender or sexual identity can’t be labelled quite so easily, have a much harder time.
Many of these people make it over to Tumblr. Lots of Tumblr blogs are wonderful, I’m sure. But lots of them are used to share thoughts and opinions in an non-constructive way. These opinions gather momentum, as other bloggers repost, share, comment, and write their own posts. Sooner or later, the ideas on Tumblr burst out into the real world in a bid to take over the non-Tumblr, non-conformist communities before they move on to rule the world
This is what happened to queer.
The word queer has a historical meaning and a present-day meaning, both of which are completely different.
In the sixteenth century, the word queer entered English, after us Scots loaned it from Low German. It meant ‘strange, peculiar, eccentric’ in Scots, and in German quer meant ‘oblique, perverse, odd’.
In the nineteenth century, the queer was briefly used as a verb: ‘to spoil, ruin’.
In 1922, the word queer acquired a new meaning: ‘homosexual’.
This does not mean to say that gay people went around referring to themselves as being queer. It was a derogatory word, used as an insult.
It started to be reclaimed on Queer as Folk, among other things.
… And now there’s a movement, largely on Tumblr but also in the real world, to ‘reclaim’ the word.
I understand that there’s a need for a word for people who don’t necessarily identify as male or female, or as heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual. I know that there’s so much more to sexual and gender identity than the words we use to describe it.
But to use a word which means abnormal? Perverse??
The worst part is, it’s spilled out of the Tumblr community. Queer is among us. People (usually terribly political people who were never bullied at school for being ‘queer’) are actively identifying as queer, and are promoting the use of it. Most LGBT-related things are now LGBTQ.
My university’s LGBT magazine, Polari, recently became simply a ‘queer-mag’. They write articles about ‘queer-cons’.
How is that a thing?
How did this happen? I turn my back for a moment and the LGBT community is ‘reclaiming’ a word which was never theirs to reclaim.
It’s more claiming the word.
… Alas. It’s too late now. There’s no way to create a word which means the Tumblr, present-day sense of the queer, but which doesn’t have this meaning attached to it which is so incredibly offensive. Queer has caught on, and once that ball is rolling, there’s no way to stop it.
But, if we could… what word do you think would be the best?
(I think lime. No reason behind that thought.)