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How Pinterest Is Killing Feminism

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we have met the enemy and she is us

Scary fact number 1:

One in five American women over the age of 18 who regularly use the internet is on Pinterest, with an estimated 23 million users as of July.

That makes Pinterest one of the most important websites on the planet.

good read

Scary fact number 2:

Pinterest drives more traffic to and than Facebook and Twitter combined.

Pinterest also drives more traffic to PandaWhale than Facebook and Twitter combined.

Not kidding.

Scary fact number 3:

Like some women's magazines, Pinterest also blurs the lines between unhealthy diet obsessions and health tips. Are users storing charts of fitness routines so that they can try them at the gym because they want to ward off heart attacks and be healthy overall, or because they're obsessed with getting to size four or thinner? It's hard to say, especially since comment threads on pins — where users often chime in to say they love something without trying to spark debate —are more reactive than discussion-oriented.

It is unclear who's pinning for fun, and who's pinning to state an opinion.

All over Pinterest are lots of obsessions over appearance, materialism, and being thin.

Serious question: are feminists against improving their appearance, physical and mental well-being, and having nice-looking homes and weddings? I'm trying to understand if how I see folks using Pinterest and "feminism" are mutually exclusive.

Also, if folks watch popular TV shows for middle American women, I think it follows a similar trend: focus on appearance, home/kitchen, and marriage/wedding dreams. Is Pinterest really different than what folks are already looking at in magazines and on TV? I'm not saying folks haven't been conditioned for this stuff, but looking at the current state of media -- presumably a reflection of what consumers want -- Pinterest content is unsurprising.

And let's talk about Martha, who I will admit to having satirized. She made her money with her intellect and now sells us a piece of tranquility. Sometimes I think the cult of feminism tries to stamp out the sphere of domesticity. Martha shows us you can be both.

"I'm not saying folks haven't been conditioned for this stuff, but looking at the current state of media -- presumably a reflection of what consumers want"

therein lies the problem that's being raised. Pinterest isn't killing feminism, but if you see it as a pure expression of female desire, outside of cultural and media conditioning, it's damning women to a life that centers around being pretty enough for their men and if they get that right the highlight of their life will be their wedding.

The list of issues with that is long. I was told when I was a size ten and when I was a size sixteen if I'd just lose a little weight I'd be perfect (i'm almost 6ft so a size six would make me skeletal). I have been told I'm almost perfect too many times.

My wedding was a wonderful moment, so was the birth of my child. So was my book being published, and founding a nonprofit, launching a start up, my first angel series, my graceful exit with Linekdin, becoming a GM and many more epic career milestone. The kid continues to rule as the highlight of every day, but my life is fuller than just motherhood.

So it's sad to see a tool that women (and men) could use to collect any thing (mine includes game design and mexico travel being used for house, wedding and diet.

But look at some of the default boards they gave me I left up: my style, for the home... the are seeding for a certain audience also.

You've lived a full life!

Perhaps it's that Pinterest is designed to share things that on the surface appear "beautiful,"; therefore, folks focus on the items in home/garden, style, weddings that are easy to document. Perhaps, similar to Instagram, people are simplifying their full range of desires in order to meet a product. Perhaps, similar to how reddit and 9gag often feature the adolescent and the prepubescent, Pinterest defaults to the female societal archetype, whether right or wrong.

I just had lunch with a successful female friend in her mid-20s doing well in her corporate career. And yet, as I dropped her off at the airport, she told me she liked when men hold the door for her. Now, this comment surprised me, as I considered her an indecently-minded ambitious woman ... Perhaps for her, these two things -- a Pinterest focus on house, wedding, diet -- are not mutually exclusive to her own professional career ambitions. Or perhaps her liking for chivalrous behavior is more nurture than nature.

But what do I know? :)

yes, I have a lot of life in my life!

You are right, pinterest is picture focused,; something pandawhale has to watch too. I find it annoying sometimes when I find a cool link in email and all I get is a lol cat. Image over substance can be a trap.

I like it when men hold the door for me, and I like it when they are comfortable enough with themselves to walk through the door when I hold it for them. :)

it is likely/possible that the same women post new feminist articles on facebook and pictures of cake on pinterest. hard to say. We can theorize all day, but it's all inside baseball.

I love to think of our definition of beauty, success, and power as females. I remember my first career--getting paid less, not getting a company car, and getting pigeonholed in the office equivalent of the "equal" job. I presented my boss with a raise request equivalent to the value of the company car and insurance that all the guys got. I was laughed at. I also remember taking second seat early in many a project I directed. As females, those images of domesticity extend over to "nice," "polite," and "humble," which often result in some of the gender equity issues that never knew would actually exist.

But at the same time I want to be able to claim the sphere of the home without embarrassment. And having more inspirational women like Christina, helps us to be able to do that...

That being said, it's pear canning season, friends:) I don't use Pinterest often, and where I do it's homesteading/simplicity stuff. I'll put some of my pears up there for you. And I'll make them sweet and hi-cal just because I can:)

What makes Pinterest good is curation:

The nice thing about Pinterest, unlike women's magazines, is that if your fitness board starts to make you feel like a slacker, you can just delete them and unfollow other fitspiration boards in your feed. That kind of personalized editing is one huge advantage to the site. When you buy Shape from a newsstand, you can flip past pages, but you can't un-see them. You're relying on editors to present you with the best version of a woman's life, rather than taking the initiative to curate that for yourself.

Users can UNFOLLOW. That's the key to liberation.

Real fact number 1:

One in five American women over the age of 18 who regularly use the internet is on Pinterest, with an estimated 23 million users as of July.

That makes Pinterest one of the most overrated websites on the planet.

Well, that was dismissive. I hate pinterest, for so many reasons, from usability to the fact that all the good stuff seems to be 18 clicks deep to the fact it is a echo chamber on a grad scale (repinning seems to be more common that reading a link, from the links I've actually followed through) BUT with these kinds of numbers, something is going right. or they are lying about their numbers. Worth knowing which... and if the first, why.

I doubt theyre lying but they have a funny definition of "users". They dont seem too big on deleting spam accounts according to this spammer.

Nick, you're right that they're not quick to remove spam and robot accounts.

But Pinterest is genuinely engaging to millions of people, and that's rare.

So I'm with Christina, they're doing something right.

And one something right outweights many something wrongs.

I'm going to give Pinterest props on this issue--I see a ton of teacher stuff popping up for collaboration. This is super cool, because it's curated, compiled, repinned, and linked so that the cream can rise to the top. I'd like to see more career organizing curation and sharing use here...

Pinterest is like catnip for women.

Pinterest is like a bell for pavlov's dogs.

I wonder if we could redo Pavlov's experiments with catnip and cats?

I wonder how much attention you would get for writing an article, "Reddit encourages retrograde masculinity"?

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