Before this assignment, I had little experience with Pinterest. I had mostly heard about the site through friends of mine. At first, Pinterest struck me as something that attempts to amplify already engrained gender norms and expectations, especially for women. The women’s fashion, health and fitness, and even crafting tags were perhaps the most notable sources of this notion. However, Wilson and Yochim’s Pinning Happiness got me to think twice about this view. They state:
“ While Pinterest relentlessly reinforces gendered ideologies and norms, as the ‘good’ mom on Pinterest is ever-crafting, ever-cooking, ever-teaching, here we want to push beyond ideological critique to suggest a different starting point for feminist media studies, particularly for critical analyses of social media platforms like Pinterest that seem so bent on enhancing and optimizing women’s work.”
So, instead of a place that is engraining these norms, it is perhaps better to think of it as a medium of expression and communication for many women who live these lifestyles. Sites like Pinterest highlight women’s work and lets their voice be heard. While this is definitely positive, it is important that these activities and lifestyles are not shunned. A quote from Matchar in The History of Women’s Work (Homeward Bound) sums this up well. “As homemaking fell by the wayside in the 1970’s, ‘80’s, and ‘90’s, it became unfashionable and uncool. And as women tried to be taken seriously in the workforce, they often felt the need to shun traditionally feminine activities or risk male scorn…” (p. 43)
So, it’s not only imperative to have a forum for women to share these things, but for their lifestyles to be respected as well.
Wilson, Julie Yochim, Emily. “Pinning Happiness: Affect Social Media, and Women’s Work”. 2013.
Matchar, Emily. “From Angels in the House to Crunchy Domestic Goddesses: The History of Women’s Work”. Homeward Bound. 2013.