I ran across an article recently critiquing the extremely successful website Pinterest for killing feminism on the internet. I immediately felt ashamed, as my Pinterest site is guilty as charged: I regularly ‘pin’ recipes, clothing, workouts, and DIY ideas for the house that I don’t yet have. Then my guilt faded away. I am a dedicated feminist, yet the fact that I have a site where I keep track of and share recipes is somehow “killing feminism?” Please. But the critique is certainly indicative of a really common perception, a sort of backlash against feminine activities as well as the perception that these traditionally “feminine” activities are in some way inferior to other things (everything).
But come on, I mean, the way I see it, feminism means that we don’t have to cook dinner if we don’t want to: we aren’t defined by how good our pineapple upside down cake is. But what if I really enjoy baking? There most certainly shouldn’t be anything wrong with that.
Plus this article is missing something else, as I see it. Food is about loving and nurturing and yes, food preparation historically has been the domain of the female. However, we live in a society where we aren’t supposed to indulge in food, just provide it. I know my personal obsession with Pinterest is mostly founded on my love for trying out new recipes, one, because I enjoy cooking and it de-stresses me (plus if I cook my boyfriend has to do the dishes); two, because yes, I do enjoy loving and nurturing the people I care about through food (I’m not saying this is an inherently feminine thing, I don’t believe in those, but it IS something I enjoy, so shoot me); and three, because I LOVE FOOD. Food is an indulgence, it is sexy and fun and it is something we should all enjoy. As far as I’m concerned, in a world where every woman is supposed to hate food and be on a diet, that’s pretty empowering.
Anyways, besides that this article contends that Pinterest supports that same diet thingy, as people are constantly obsessing over body image and re-pinning low-cal recipes. You know, I haven’t noticed it as being a major theme of the site, but I’ll give that to them, they have evidence in the form of cauliflower crust pizza (which sounds kinda yummy, btw) perpetuating these themes isn’t good. But killing feminism?
The other major critique is that Pinterest is full of workout tips and photos. I’ll admit it. I’m a workout buff. But I’m not one of those girls who spends an hour and a half on the elliptical in hopes that I might burn off all the calories I ate for the past three days (not anymore at least). I love weightlifting and have been engaged in it since I was 15 years old. I’m the girl over in the “boys corner” lifting the bars and dumbbells and doing the things generally considered “not feminine.” And I have to say, this is where the critique of Pinterest falls flat. The women pictured with ideal bodies (at least the ones popping up on my feed) are generally a whole hell of a lot more curvy and muscular than the cute little hipster girls I see just about everywhere else on the internet (*cough* tumblr *cough*). Even in the article, the pictures they chose were these:
Maybe I’m just biased, but those surely don’t look like the unrealistically miniature size 00 women. They look like powerful women who go to the gym to get stronger and feel better about themselves, not victims of eating disorders. Plus the workouts on the site, though often they are of the annoying “do lots of side crunches” women’s mag variety, are often pretty kickass. And working out is NOT inherently a bad thing. Obsession with/disordered body image is no good, but working out is good for everyone, both physically and emotionally.
Anyways, I conclude with the fact that the entire article seems obsessed with the fact that Pinterest is letting the internet down because it’s not Jezabel. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Jezabel. It’s amazing, fantastic, but it’s something completely different than Pinterest, and can’t I have both???
So now that I’m done ranting, here’s the article so you can see what you think.