By: Joe Majka
As stated by Wilson and Yochim: “Facebook status updates offering mothering advice, Instagrammed images of a family’s summertime fun, lifestyle blogs where kitchen sinks look elegant, Pinterest boards that promise to make meal times meaningful: social media for mothers seem to overflow with domestic bliss. This world – the mamasphere – is never-ending and constantly changing, highly customized and produced by communities of everyday women and the corporate marketplace.” This beginning quote of the article basically sums up social networking today. Whether you are on Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest, there is a social networking site for everyone out there. Throughout this critique, I am going to explain why moms are so into social networking and what makes each social networking site so appealing.
Twitter, as of late, seems to be the go to social networking site. Whether you’re a sports fan, a music fan, or an avid celebrity follower, every famous person seems to have a Twitter and tweets frequently. This certain social networking site is different and more appealing than any other in that you can directly tweet at any friend or celebrity that you want. It’s also similar to other sites such as Instagram and Tumblr where you have followers and people that you follow instead of “friends”, like on Facebook. As good as this as sounds, there are also a lot of downsides to Twitter. The fact that anyone can mention you in a tweet can lead to potential racism, sexism, and homophobia. This not only happens with normal people, but also with celebrities. It is constantly a popular thing to tweet celebrities how much you love them and want them to follow you or how much you detest them and want them to, in the worst cases, kill themselves.
The video that is shown above shows various celebrities reading mean tweets from regular people on Twitter. These are just a few examples of how celebrities are berated on Twitter on a daily basis. This video maintains the status quo that Twitter is a place where people can write whatever they want, including potentially racist, sexist, or homophobic comments.
According to Matchar, Pinterest is a place where anyone, mostly women, can blog about feminist things. This is described as the “June Cleaver 2.0” where there has been a rise in “domestic chic”, especially in the blog sphere. They can blog about recipes, their kids, chores, etc. or otherwise known as “Mommy blogs.” Pinning makes moms feel happy about themselves and actually feels like they are accomplishing something. A reason why moms especially like Pinterest is that the economy has been down for the past couple of years, so they have been turning to social networking in order to feel better about their lives. It is easy to feel disconnected to yourself in a technology-driven culture, so social networking is one way that brings people together. Wilson and Yochim describe Pinterest as: “The affective networks of Pinterest can thus be seen as passing the potential for happiness around. The platform provides a hub where mothers can seek out, preserve, and share happy objects, for it is a place where the expectation of happiness abounds.”
The video that is shown above talks about how people on Pinterest love to blog about dream cakes, fit women, dream rooms (usually built for children), fur shoes, dream happiness, dream friends, “pinspiration” (inspirational quotes on Pinterest), cat fashion, clever recipes, dream men arranging flowers, foods that showcase domesticity, model moms, nail art, and dream weddings. This video maintains the status quo that people who use Pinterest are white, middle to upper class, women. There is nothing in this video that tries to oppose Pinterest at all. The girl in the video also mentions Pinterest for men, known as Manterest. These two sites, Pinterest and Manterest, seem a little sexist. Why can’t Pinterest be for both guys and girls?
This particular “someecard” describes Pinterest perfectly. It maintains the status quo by showing how Pinterest is dominated by women and all they want to do after spending time on this social networking site is cook, clean, and work out.
Facebook today is considered a dying social networking site to teens. Teens seem to be fleeing Facebook because their parents are now using it. They are now taking to such sites like Twitter and Instagram. But there is still a huge amount of users on Facebook that is parents, especially moms. They like to comment on their kids’ posts, usually with things that are annoying or embarrassing. Another reason why teens don’t like Facebook is because of “fake friends.” People just accept friend requests from anyone, even from people they don’t know. The following is a video mentioned in the embedded link:
This video explains how when moms post comments on their kids’ Facebook, it comes across as embarrassing to the kids. Moms are now discovering Facebook and kids/teens want to stay away from it as much as they can because of it. This video does something in between maintaining the status quo and going against it. It maintains the status quo that Facebook is getting to be a social networking site that nobody uses because their parents are now using it, but it also goes against the status quo when people leave a social networking site that is popular and it is considered “normal” to have a Facebook.
Overall, social networking today has a little bit of something for everyone. Whether you like to tweet, pin, or update your status, you can always find something you like to do. However, the rise in moms using social networking seems to make it far less cool to use sites such as Facebook. Despite this though, teens are finding other social networking sites to use and there always will be more options. In such a bad economy, people are embracing this “New Domesticity”, or the embrace of the domestic in the service of environmentalism, DIY culture, and personal fulfillment. Social networking makes people feel happier and better about themselves, even if it is racist, homophobic, or sexist, like on Twitter, or if it is sexist by posting girly things on Pinterest. But no matter what you post, it will always be criticized by feminists and students, like myself.
Beck, Laura. “Meet Manterest, the Pinterest For Dudes.” Jezebel. N.p., 25 Mar. 2013. Web. 20 Nov. 2013. <http://jezebel.com/5992357/meet-manterest-the-pinterest-for-dudes>.
Fallon, Jimmy. “Celebrities Read Mean Tweets #1.” YouTube. YouTube, 22 Mar. 2012. Web. 20 Nov. 2013. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RRBoPveyETc>.
Matchar, Emily. (From her book Homeward Bound: Why Women are Embracing the New Domesticity, 2013). “The Pull of Domesticity in an Era of Anxiety.” Print.
Matchar, Emily. (From her book Homeward Bound: Why Women are Embracing the New Domesticity, 2013). June Cleaver 2.0: Bloggers and the Rise of Domestic Chic.” Print.
Newman, Rick. “5 Reasons Teenagers Are Fleeing Facebook.” Yahoo Finance. N.p., 8 Nov. 2013. Web. 20 Nov. 2013. <http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/the-exchange/5-reasons-teenagers-are-fleeing-facebook-182756430.html>.
Newman, Rick. “Annoying Facebook Parents.” YouTube. YouTube, 07 Nov. 2013. Web. 20 Nov. 2013. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1HJ8pQV_iM>.
Thornberg, Molly. “25 Hilarious Pinterest Memes for Pinterest Addicts.” Digital Mom Blog. N.p., 11 July 2013. Web. 20 Nov. 2013. <http://www.digitalmomblog.com/pinterest-memes/>.
“Why Do Women Love Pinterest? – Stuff Dad Never Told You.” YouTube. YouTube, 31 May 2013. Web. 20 Nov. 2013. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3JgHPPGwzbA>.
Wilson, Julie Ann, and Emily Chivers Yochim. “Pinning Happiness: Affect, Social Media, and Women’s Work.” Proc. of Society for Cinema and Media Studies, Chicago, IL. 1-26. Print.