I’m not a big fan of the tech blog Gizmodo. While I am a self-professed geek-girl who loves technology, I often find their tone to be a little too snarky, a little too condescending, and the comments to be some of the worst the troll world can offer. And after the nasty Magic the Gathering article last year, it was all the incentive I needed to move on to other tech sites.
That is, until my husband sent me a link. “Pinterest is Tumblr for Ladiez”! And I officially hit the ceiling.
Pinterest, for those who don’t use the internet’s newest social media crack, is “a virtual pinboard” that “allows you to organize all the beautiful things you find on the web.” Among the suggested uses on Pinterest’s home page are planning weddings, decorating homes, keeping recipes and finding your own style.
Notice “planning a wedding” was on that list, and I think you can see where this foolishness is going.
The author and his “bros” (his word, not mine) took to the campfire to try to unravel the deep and abiding mystery that is Pinterest, and then, they pose the question to Twitter. And here’s where things really started to bother me. Most of the responses were from women, and they weren’t encouraging.
“Pinterest is Tumblr for ladiez with OCD who want to get married.”
“Pinterest reaffirms men’s fear that all women think about are weddings and babies.”
“Engaged or not, it’s safe to say that 90% of women on Pinterest have a wedding board. Fact.”
Or, my personal favorite:
“If by ladiez you mean blogger moms, then yeah, Pinterest is for them.”
Why is it that people automatically denigrate a site that, while not specifically targeted to women, has an 80 percent female user base? Why treat it like a mythical Otherland that men intrinsically can’t understand? And, most importantly, why did these women go along with it?
Pinterest is, very simply, a place for pretty things, and last I checked, beauty wasn’t gender-specific. The tendency to try to categorize Pinterest and other women-centric sites and tools as simply for plotting future weddings and babies or for blogger moms who the internet seems to think have nothing else to do is reductive and just perpetuates the hackneyed view that nothing can appeal to women if it doesn’t eventually lead to hearth and home.
Personally, I’m a stay at home mom. I’m one of the “blogger moms” Pinterest is supposed to target, and I do, sometimes, use it to pin things pertinent to my child. Mostly, though, I use it to help build my small business, which is teaching private cooking classes. I pin photos for catering gigs and recipes to teach. I pin ideas for home renovations and destinations I’d like to see on vacation sometime. Friends who are amateur photographers use it to organize tips, tricks and inspirations for their craft. Friends with a more spiritual focus use it for scripture or quotes. It has inspired me to try new things, from laying ceramic tile to making a souffle to getting off my butt and doing Pilates for the first time. And, to me, Pinterest is one of the few places online where positivity still reigns. It’s about growing and doing, being creative and appreciating beauty. There’s a lot to be said for that.
There’s nothing wrong with planning a wedding, wanting a family, or using Pinterest to express your interests and organize your thoughts. But, as many people have said before, and I’m sure many people will say again, being a woman doesn’t mean you automatically want any of those things, and even if you do, it’s certainly not all you think about. And frankly, I think we’re smart enough to respect that.