Not too long ago, fanart was mainly shared through websites and forums, and through places like deviantART as it gained popularity. Social media wasn't as big as a thing and many specialised sites existed for collections of fanworks, including adult-themed works. These places still exist, of course, and on sites like deviantART you can mark specific drawings or posts as being inappropriate for various reasons when you submit them. Social media like Tumblr has had a huge rise in popularity in recent years, but despite being such a vast hub of fandom activity there are very few options for filtering and a lot of apathy regarding it.
Technology is far, far more accessible than it ever used to be. People of all ages can access the internet very easily, and it's become almost mandatory to have a smartphone to keep up to date with your social circles. As a result, there's many young people on Tumblr and practically no moderation for the kinds of content they'll see without unofficial extensions and considerate tagging.
There's been some effort to change this as of late, by means of adding an official filter system rather than a fanmade one, and allowing blogs to flag themselves as adult-oriented. Tumblr itself is even implementing an age limit of 16 for European bloggers. However, even with all these measures, a large amount of people still don't set their blogs as mature nor tag things as inappropriate, and will simply post what they wish as and when they wish it.
Certainly, it's not the job of bloggers and artists to babysit people. After all, you can't control who follows or views your blog and when, and for personal blogs it's important to have that space to post what you want and express yourself (provided it's not actively harmful to people, of course). What about the specifics of Pokémon art blogs, though?
Pokémon, at its core, is marketed towards children. It has a lot of elements in it that appeal to all ages (such as the competitive battling and the monster designs), but a huge portion of its audience are indeed kids. A child on Tumblr who loves Pokémon art will likely follow blogs that focus solely on Pokémon art, along with other shows they may enjoy like Steven Universe or Adventure Time.
It's not even just kids - many people who love Pokémon will follow specifically Pokémon art blogs if they make cute content, since it's the kind of work they love to see and want to see more of. They may even participate in the Pokémon ask blog communities, where it's encouraged to regularly post artwork and interact with others - people will send messages to these blogs, and those blogs themselves may interact with characters on other blogs.
By posting safe, clean artwork you make, people who see it will think you solely make safe, clean artwork and they will choose to follow you based on that. People inherently assume a content creator who produces cute art of Pokémon and cartoons will stick to the age rating of that thing, provided the one piece they see is not something edgy or actually inappropriate.
Alas, it then becomes really sad and disturbing that some people will go out of their way to send inappropriate things to aforementioned ask blogs, or to otherwise reblog clean artwork with extremely naughty blogs - ones where the artist will be shown thumbnails of adult content if they accidentally hover over that person's username. Don't you just love Tumblr's interface?
A common sight on aesthetic blog posts or art made by minors are labels like "[inappropriate communities] do not interact", and I wish so, so badly that it wasn't necessary to have to do that to prevent people from doing so. A label like that may not even stop those communities - it's utterly selfish and reprehensible how far people will go to disregard the comfort levels of others. And again, the people making this content or viewing it are likely to be kids, teens, and people who simply do not wish to see such obscenities. Is it really such a difficult task to respect them?
I'm certainly not going to pretend I can make any kind of difference with a small article on my fan website, but I do firmly think people should carefully consider how they interact with other blogs, and how they filter and label their own blog. It is so incredibly easy to make a side blog for reblogging and making adult-oriented posts, and such sideblogs are more likely to be found and shared within adult-oriented communities. If you're a creator or purveyor of mature works, this could only ever be helpful to you.
Whilst things like Google searches and tag searches are a bit of a lost cause, they really shouldn't have to be. I'm certainly not condemning adult works or mature artists at all, since it's important for people to have that creative outlet as long as they're not harming others. I just think it really shouldn't be so readily accessible, and that a bit of mindfulness can go a really long way. Just think of all the times you've had to frantically scroll past inappropriate things when a family member walks near your screen...
It's so, so important for spaces for kids media to be kept clean and safe. Please be considerate when blogging and interacting with people.
Page last updated on 26th April 2018 at 17:47 GMT.