I created a Pinterest account with the sole purpose of meeting the requirements of this assignment. Other than Facebook (which I signed up for long before it got crazy), I choose not to be a part of trendy websites such as Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. The reason is quite simple, although it may come across as particularly blunt. Look at society today. Between the ungodly amount of social media websites to the ever-changing technologically savvy cellphones, and other super convenient, hand-held devices, a crowded campus (for example) practically resembles a ghost town. Sure, there are hundreds of people all around, but because everybody is nose deep in their cellphone, Kindle, iPod, etc., countless opportunities to make friends, admire the world, or simply brighten someone’s day with a smile pass by. This disconnected world that we live in is affecting people in tremendous ways. Because of the unlimited access to “hip, convenient” technology, combined with the overwhelming number of popular websites, especially websites where people can become a “member”, the poisonous amount of ideologies that serve as the “face” of everything that is popular have caused people to strive to achieve, or become a part of this “perfect world’.
One website that I would like to discuss is Pinterest. Pinterest is a very popular site (intended mainly for women) where people “pin” all sorts of cute decorating ideas, beauty tips, fun outfits, etc. Although this website is fun, and contains a lot of crafty, clever ideas, there is an underlying issue, a silent common denominator that people do not see. Whether the topic of choice is makeup, clothing, weddings, hairstyles, etc., the image (more often than not) showcases a stereotypical, “ideal” image. “Pinning is a key practice for popular social media that involves the selection and sharing of content” (Wilson and Yochim, 4). By constantly seeing what is “popular”, or what is “trending” on Pinterest, both women and young girls (often) develop a mentality that, in order to achieve the “look”, or successfully “wear the outfit well”, they must first obtain the image that the “pin” showcases. In other words, a woman may be looking at various wedding dresses that people have “pinned”, but if that woman is anything other than barbie doll skinny (because all of the women modeling the dresses fit the ideal, thin image), that woman may not even consider the possibility of even trying the wedding dress(es) on. “Reception of social media is clearly far more individualized and customized than in the case of niche magazines or DVR’d television shows, but, at the same time, it is far more open and linked up to a vast community of users” (Wilson and Yochim, 7). Having said this, it is fair to assume that because many women see what is “trending”, considering the vast majority of images that are popular have some sort of superficial, “ideal” undertone, it is not uncommon for insecurities to develop.
I have created a wonderful, generic, stereotypical Pinterest board showcasing elaborate clothing combinations, show-stopping beauty tips, an elegant (yet likely unaffordable) wedding dress, as well as a photo of the “average, happy couple”. Also, I searched for images associated with the word, “family”. To no surprise, an attractive, white, heterosexual family photo was one of the first images to appear. Unfortunately, these “ideal” images are taking over true identity. individuality is becoming a thing of the past. In my opinion, it seems that our society is headed in the direction of “sameness”. During the 1930’s and 1940’s, Adolf Hitler aimed to establish a “New Order”. The purpose of this was to develop, maintain, and ensure an “ideal” race. Although this time period is an “extreme” example, the bottom line is quite generic. Individuality, uniqueness, and difference became absurd and unacceptable. Today, the concept of “sameness” is (more or less) expected in society. Although movements, such as the Civil Rights Act and the Equal Opportunity Act “prevent” discrimination, the media has done a fantastic job at showcasing ONLY the “ideal” way of life, and what the “ideal” person should look like. Because the media has a parasitic effect on the way people view the world, it has contributed tremendously to this “sameness” that people strive to achieve. This warped, idealistic view has burrowed within the depths of social media websites, attracting, and often addicting people to the absurd illusion of society that is often impossible to obtain. Why are larger women (and men) rarely portrayed as desirable? Why, (on Pinterest, for example) are all wedding dresses being modeled on women who are thin enough to hide behind a pencil? Why, when you google the word, “family”, must white, middle aged heterosexual families appear first? This IS discrimination.