More than just Socks! – Pinterest Activity – Samson Gladieux

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Upon searching for handmade socks on Pinterest, many pairs came up and almost all posted were pinned by women and up for sale. BUT, What is a pair of handmade socks? It is an object that you pine over in this picture perfect image or actually buy to fill your sock drawer? What makes someone buy a 50 dollar pair of handmade socks, the intrinsic value of the socks themselves? Or are the socks a symbol of something more, a window into a utopian world that is unattainable? This pair of handmade socks, along with many other products on Pinterest are examples of how only people of a certain class are able to partake in this new domesticity as either a producer or consumer. Many people are not able to drop out of their job and pursue domestic roles. They are stuck economically in a suburban middle class “box” and it is only by buying into the idea of the perfect family that you find respite in your eco-chic home spun artisanal socks. As Wilson and Yochim describe in Pinning Happiness, websites like Pinterest  are sites of “social and cultural privilege: its happiness is reserved for those who are already invested in a particular raced, gendered, and classed conception of the good life” (Wilson and Yochim, 21). The women selling the socks aren’t making millions selling socks by the masses, every sock they sell is because they sold someone on the idea of the “domestic bliss” in the idea of the American Dream. Even the image that is used to sell the socks portrays so much more than just something to put on your feet; notice the way comfortable familial items like jam and bread are used to elicit connection and an emotional response from the viewer. We aren’t just selling socks here; we are selling a connection to our past and to a future dream.

Wilson & Yochim, Pinning Happiness: Affect, Social Media, and Women’s Work. 2013.  Print.

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