As ladies living in the year 2012 we are probably all quite familiar with Pinterest. If you don’t use it you probably have consciously made the decision to not get on Pinterest for your own reasons. If you’ve never heard of it, you’re probably not reading this article as you don’t spend much time on the internet.
I started pinning early last year when the full force of the craze hadn’t hit yet and I only had a couple dozen of my Facebook friends’ boards to follow. Now I would guesstimate that about 70-80% of my lady Facebook friends and about 5-10% of the men are on Pinterest.
It’s no surprise why Pinterest became popular, considering its ease of use, visual platform, and social integration. Pinterest quickly became the largest place on the web for referring to other urls, beating out even Facebook. It joined the ranks of other successful sites whose functions were clear: giving the user one major function and a clean design (Twitter, Google, etc.). I myself love the site. I’ve found amazing recipes, home decorating ideas, and some of the cutest outfit examples I’ve ever found. I go to Pinterest every day and use it as an important resource.
Most things have their dark sides, and it’s difficult to spot what might be wrong with the cutesy, beautiful, friendly site that is Pinterest. Yes, you can waste a lot of time there, but after a few months there myself, I started to spot a few worrisome images.
I will spare you the popular speech about how Photoshop and improper body images are ruining the entire universe. Most of us are acutely aware of this fact when we look at advertising and have resigned ourselves to adding this to the list of things we must teach our children (and remember ourselves) about the world.
Images. Get. Edited.
It’s the truth. Photoshop isn’t going anywhere and I’m not making an argument that it should. What should change is our recognition and response to altered images. Pinterest is very magazine-like in its nature, but it’s a “magazine” where users themselves compile and project the content. We have control of this medium, but my homepage feed looks remarkably like the images I see when flipping through a magazine while getting a pedicure. The disturbing part is not even the images — it’s the captions that users write under their pins.
“I love this dress . . . just need to lose 10 pounds.”
– Women’s Fashion Pin
Can you see how her head is enlarged to make her body skinny? This pin placed in a “Haircuts” category can help contribute to unrealistic body images.
“Ugh . . . those legs!”
– Fitness Pin (which was Photoshopped)
From where I sit as a lady and a Christian, being a part of the Pinterest community can be a part of being “in the world, but not of the world.” We have to be careful what we say about what we pin. I’m guilty of this, and learning to be aware of what we see is the first step. Let’s do more pinning of real people’s images who blog, create and photograph. Can we all pause for one more second before clicking the repin button? What did the previous person’s caption say? Should I change it to something more uplifting for the next gal or guy who will see this pin? I say we all actually try to do this. Let’s change small things about the places we hang out online and make those things into large, positive changes.
I’ll see you on the boards, ladies . . .
(you can follow my pins at pinterest.com/jessicaraehuber)
Photo Sources: 1, 2-InStyle Magazine 2005-Pinned to Pinterest