Tumblr, Porn and Teenage girls. | Dr Em (Banned From Medium)

Pornhub is seeking to buy Tumblr in order to restore pornographic content to it. Dr Em examines the ways teenage girls are being groomed into pornography.

Hot Girls Wanted poster source: IMDB.

We need to talk about Tumblr and porn and teenage girls. Tumblr is a website whose target audience is tween and teen girls. Pew research published in 2015 estimates that 23% of all young females are using this online sharing site. 1 Tumblr has 456 million registered accounts as of 2019 and is often considered the origin of the thoughts of the most vocal and frustrating social justice warriors. Helena of the Pique Resilience Project has examined the way Tumblr is producing a contagion amongst young women with regards to transgender ideology. 2 Tumblr is having a real impact and is a real problem. I would like to focus on Tumblr’s problem with porn. When Tumblr removed porn from it’s pages many feminists and parents celebrated. However, as we live under patriarchy there is always a response to any minor gain and this response has come from Pornhub. Pornhub has now announced that it may be purchasing Tumblr with the intent of restoring the sexual degradation of women for teen girls to view. 3 Ryan Broderick has reported that

Pornhub Vice President Corey Price said in an email to BuzzFeed News that the porn-streaming giant is extremely interested in buying Tumblr, the once uniquely horny hub for young women and queer people that banned adult content last December to the disappointment of many of its users. Price said that restoring Tumblr’s NSFW edge would be central to their acquisition of it, were it to actually happen. 4

One presumes the ‘adult content’ Price is eager to restore to this teen website includes things like this

It is bad enough that this lynching and abuse of women is considered legitimate male entertainment in our culture, I am horrified that it is openly being targeted at teenage girls.

Teenage girls already live in a culture which hypersexualises them and grooms them to self-sexualise. Young women are being and have been taught that their value is in how men see them, do men approve of them? Their self-worth comes from men not themselves. They are immersed in a culture of ‘likes’ and ‘claps’, of show not integrity. They are either ‘f*ckable’ or invisible. 5 As Gail Dines instructs in her talks, if you don’t believe that teen girls self-sexualise ask a group of girls and a group of boys to split up and pose for selfies — the results are shocking. The sexual objectification of women is amplified as capitalism seeks to turn women into produce to be exploited we are at a crisis point. Indeed, teen girls are feeling pressured to send explicit images of themselves in order to gain and maintain male attention. Kerry Smith of Plan International UK, which works for children’s rights, told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme that “Girls are being pressured — sexting is a gendered issue — more girls are being asked to share” and that “There are double standards. When they do (share), the girls are shamed, not the boys who are holding the phones or the pictures or asking for them.” 6 Puberty and growing up is a confusing time. Culturally we continue to send girls mixed messages — they are to be both the gate keepers of male sexuality, producing the harassment they face through their existence, and non-sexual in case they are branded by their own communities. This focus re-enforces the concept that it is their bodies and their sexualities which define them, which express their inner worth. Porn teaches both girls and boys that the woman is there to sexually satisfy the male. Porn, and the view of women as sexual objects to please men, has seeped (although I think it is deliberate) into magazines aimed at teen girls. For example, Teen Vogue infamously published an article entitled ‘Anal Sex: What You Need to Know’ which included a diagram which removed the clitoris. 7

Even when these young women enter the hallowed halls of higher education they are reminded that their worth is really to gratify men sexually. Teen Vogue positively reported on the ‘Anal Sex Workshop Featured by Harvard University’. 8 I think that it is no coincidence that this has occurred during an era of the longest global economic depression, combined with the proposal that the sex industry’s profits have surpassed that of drugs and weapons, men are looking for new resources to exploit and put into the market.

Teen girls are certainly profitable. In most Pornhub videos the female being sexually abused for male pleasure is a teenager or young woman and as of the 21 May 2019 the category ‘Teen’ contains 92,271 videos. 9 The Sundance film by Rashida Jones, Jill Bauer, and Ronna Gradus purchased by Netflix, ‘Hot Girls Wanted’, evidenced how young women aged 18 to 20 are drawn into the sex industry, used, abused and spat out. Focusing on the category ‘amateur’ the documentary highlights how the teenagers and young women’s sexual boundaries are overcome and how after two months these young women are discarded for a ready set of new smiling teenagers. 10

The widespread trafficking and pimping of teenagers using the classified ads of Backpage further highlights that there is an appetite for the sexual abuse of children and young women. 11 Pornography was made of these teenagers being sexually abused, it is a vicious circle. We live in a culture which fetishizes youth, and in particular young girls and school children. The spoken word artist Hollie McNish expresses this perfectly in her poem ‘Cupcakes or Scones’. 12 She questions why the ‘school disco’ is one of Britain’s most popular club nights and juxtaposes it with how sexual harassment begins at school age for girls. Why do some men desire that women dress up as teenagers for a turn on?

The Pornhub viewing figures for films with ‘schoolgirl’ in the title suggest that this fetishization of teens is more widespread than we, as a culture, would like to admit.

Pornhub is changing culture as well as reflecting it, just look at the data. ‘Visits to Pornhub totalled 33.5 billion over the course of 2018, an increase of 5 billion visits over 2017. That equates to a daily average of 92 million visitors and at the time of this writing, Pornhub’s daily visits now exceed 100 million’. This isn’t niche. That Pornhub intends to openly put content on a website used by 23% of all teen age girls is, in my opinion, grooming.

  1. ‘Teens, Social Media, and Technology Overview’, Pew Research Centre, https://www.pewinternet.org/2015/04/09/teens-social-media-technology-2015/pi_2015-04-09_teensandtech_27/
  2. Helena, ‘Tumblr — A Call-Out Post’, Fourth Wave Now (20 March 2019),
    https://4thwavenow.com/2019/03/20/tumblr-a-call-out-post/
  3. ‘Tumblr May be Sold to Pornhub’, Pink News (3 May 2019),
    https://www.pinknews.co.uk/2019/05/03/tumblr-may-be-sold-to-pornhub-after-porn-ban-leads-to-huge-traffic-drop/comments/
  4. R. Broderick, ‘Pornhub Is “Extremely Interested” In Acquiring Tumblr’, Buzzfeed (2 May 2019), https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/ryanhatesthis/pornhub-interested-in-buying-tumblr
  5. This formed part of my thread. @PankhurstEm, Twitter (7.49pm 19 May 2019), https://twitter.com/PankhurstEM/status/1130183822706765824
  6. ‘Thousands of children sexting, police say’, BBC News(11 July 2017), https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-40566026
  7. G. Engle, ‘Anal Sex: What You Need to Know’, Teen Vogue (MAY 16, 2018), https://www.teenvogue.com/story/anal-sex-what-you-need-to-know
  8. B. McNamara, ‘Anal Sex Workshop Featured by Harvard University’
  9. ‘Porn Videos: Teen’, Pornhub,
    https://www.pornhub.com/categories/teen?o=mv [Accessed 21 May 2019].
  10. R. Jones J.Bauer, R. Gradus, ‘Hot Girls Wanted’ (2015)
  11. J. Seidel, ‘Accused pimp set for trial after teen’s murder put spotlight on Backpage’, Chicago Sun Times (24 February 2019) https://chicago.suntimes.com/2019/2/24/18468455/accused-pimp-set-for-trial-after-teen-s-murder-put-spotlight-on-backpage

  12. H. McNish, ‘Cupcakes or Scones’, Youtube, https://youtu.be/eaL2tN-M6s4