“Pinning” to Prove Womanhood

So maybe I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I’m definitely a joiner when it comes to internet sensations. I search YouTube viral videos, religiously follow Reddit and now my latest obsession is a little site called Pinterest.

I was first acquainted with Pinterest through a friend who said, “I would love it because I’m so girly.” I asked her what exactly she meant by that comment and she proceeded to log me into her account to show me the wonders. Images of cupcakes, fashionable outfits and home decorating pictures filled the page. With a feminist perspective, I knew I had to evaluate my obsession over this website.

If you haven’t started “pinning,” here’s the low down: there are different sections viewers can browse ranging from fashion, arts & crafts, cooking, weddings and baby pictures (lots and lots of baby pictures). Gazing over all of these images, it’s very easy to be swept up in domestic bliss and desire. However, I’m only 20 years old and here I am planning my wedding colors, my children’s 5th birthday parties and arranging menus for dinner parties.

I see Pinterest as a revival of the 1950’s housewife and domestic culture. Overall, this site promotes excessive femininity, creativity and overall passion for the patriarchal home. The average woman doesn’t have the time (or the skills) to cook gourmet breakfasts, lunches and dinners, make arts & crafts, do home improvements, take care of children and still be fashionably dressed in heels.

According to Pinterest’s mission statement, their goal is to “connect everyone in the world through the ‘things’ they find interesting.” So what their users find “interesting” seems to circulate around the idealization of domesticity and what women should enjoy. This assumption stigmatizes the female population and dictates what women should be ‘naturally’ drawn to.

With this being said, I still browse the photos and admire other women’s works of creativity but I do not feel the need to emulate them. I realize my skills and weaknesses and I know I don’t need to perform all of these acts of femininity to label myself as a woman. I can’t cook, I hate crafting and my idea of fashion is just hoping to match similar colors. But I am still a woman nonetheless.

Photo credit: RetroHousewife/Creative Commons

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