The Falcon | Volume 83, Issue 52
Published 5/22/13 | Log In
College-aged women can embrace their feminine roots on the web
By ALLEY JORDAN, Opinions Editor
Published: October 10, 2012
Because the social networking site Pinterest has gained a substantial amount of female users in the last few months, it is being said that it is anti-feminist. Many critics are dubbing Pinterest as such because they see it as a place for housewives and prenuptial 20-somethings to express the lives they wish they had. They are, however, failing to see the merit that the college-aged women see and invest in Pinterest.
Pinterest is a social networking site with the basic function of a pin board, in which users virtually “pin” pictures from fellow users with links to various websites. In essence, it’s an organized collage of images that can also act as a visual search engine and curated source of information. It has recently become a social networking site that has gained the attention of mostly women, though the site does have its fair share of male users. In fact, businesses are increasing in numbers on Pinterest as a mean of advertisement.
Pinterest is far from merely being a place to “scrapbook” a DIY papier-mâché puff ball or a place to pin the world’s best Nutella-cookie recipe. It’s a place to pin quotations by Keats or C.S. Lewis. It’s a place to see women in politics. It’s a place to promote books and topics directly related to women, such as issues on health and politics.
Now, Pinterest is abundantly full of its share of knitted cowl scarves, Essie nail polish and wedding dresses, but that makes it no more anti-feminist. In fact, to say that the kinds of things women enjoy on Pinterest are counter to what women “should be,” namely more gender-neutral, is hypocritical and anti-feminist in and of itself. Should a woman feel less intelligent because she pins pretty pictures of the Eiffel Tower? Should she be taken less seriously because she pins pictures of French actress Marion Cotillard in Dior? Or should she be called a housewife-in-training because she pins a recipe for lemon chicken? To say that the aesthetic pursuits on Pinterest, like fashion and beauty, are to be separate from intellectual pursuits, like studying math and literature, only perpetuates the delusion that a woman cannot be both very beautiful and highly intelligent.
Pinning the likes of fashion, recipes and home décor on Pinterest is not a sign of this generation’s young women reverting back into the fifties, where the expectation was that they would happily stay in the kitchen all day and never pick up a newspaper. Many of the 20-somethings on Pinterest are full-time students, and many have jobs. Many watched the presidential debate and understood what was being said, many speak multiple languages and many study calculus. This generation of women, especially at SPU, is doing things that their foremothers never could have aspired to. Their grandmothers were prohibited from being surgeons, chefs and engineers. And now, women can, and are, double-majoring and are expected to go to graduate school.
Women should not feel ashamed by their feminine traditions. Quite the contrary, women should embrace them. Pinterest is allowing women to do just that. In this ever-changing world, women have found themselves to be just as strong-willed as men and with the same intellectual prowess. Outlets like Pinterest allow a woman to rekindle her femininity and to be the kind of woman she so-aspires to be, namely a woman who has a Ph.D. in Middle Eastern Studies but can also bake one heck of a Guinness chocolate cake.
To say that women fit into just two categories: the housewife or the “career-girl” is to once again limit women to what the world thinks they ought to be and do. To say that Pinterest is anti-feminist is to once again put women into a cultural box from which they can never hope to escape.