Pinning for your thoughts By: Deunte Banks

Before this course, I had only briefly heard of pinterest. It was in my communications course, that my professor polled to see how many of us had pinterest accounts and many of my peers in fact had them. What concerned me was that if pinterest was a site that was so widely popular, why didn’t I have an account and more importantly, who is the site for? After creating an account and doing a little research, I found out all I needed to know about pinterest. In my opinion, it is like an online media outlet that acts as a governing body, helping to reinforce norms and trends in our society. Whether it is from assumed gender roles or funny quotes and sayings, the website plays a key role in shaping our ideas of the world around us.

According to Wilson and Yochim, “The social networking and bookmarking site Pinterest is a primary entryway into this online world.”  What they are saying pretty much reiterates my idea about how pinterest plays such a pivotal role in reinforcing societal norms in our world today. They have many different categories for just about any type of user on the earth’s surface. Whether you like Harley Davidson motorcycles or prefer to get your thrills in the kitchen, pinterest is a place for everyone. Well, at least that’s what I thought until I dug a bit deeper. I decided to search things like beauty, sexy and fashion and stumbled upon a common recurring theme. No matter if I chose country, urban, wedding or everyday beauty, the same type of images appeared. I would primarily find white, thin, middle-class/ affluent, heterosexual individuals in my search results. The same thing occurred when I searched sexy and fashion. I could count the number of African Americans, Asians and people of other different backgrounds on one hand. This disturbed me in the sense that theoretically, America is supposed to be a place known as a “Melting Pot.” Yet somehow, in 2013, there is still such a barrier that may not be visible under a microscope but we, as a nation all know that it is there. The site fails to properly represent anyone other than the white, financially stable able-bodied, American.

Another thing that Wilson and Yochim said that caught my attention was, “…Pinterest relentlessly reinforces gendered ideologies and norms.” As we learned in class, ideologies are systems of ideas and frameworks that allow us to think a certain way about our society and the people in it. Pinning is a way for people to sort of “Keep up with the Kardashians” if you would. You can know the latest fashions, find out what’s in and what’s out and also meet people along the way.  More simply put, “…pins are packets that carry the potential to produce and shape pockets. As social media become more central to everyday life, packets and pockets become more significant for theorizing the cultural power of popular media.”

All in all, I found pinterest to be more of like a search engine/ tool more than anything. It helped me find things the same way something like google or Bing would. Overall my experience was somewhat pleasant, but I have to be honest and say that a site like this isn’t anything that would consume as much of my time as something like Facebook or any of the other popular social media network sites. The reason is primarily because there just isn’t much that I can relate to personally; as opposed to something like Instagram or twitter, where I can see real people in real places, doing things that are what I would consider real.

Works Cited

Wilson, Julie A. Yochim, Emily C. Pinning Happiness: Affect, Social Media, and Women’s Work. 2013.  Pg. 2-11

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