The Pinterest Problem

 

Happy Monday! Hope you guys had a fantastic Easter weekend if you celebrate it. The hubs and I spent a ton of time in the backyard, trying to finish up this landscaping project we've been working on foreeeeever. But we also managed to squeeze in some fun with a trip to the farmer's market, where I finally got my hands on some avocado toast, tried a new Libyan restaurant for dinner, and celebrated Easter over at Scott's mom's house.

Consider today an early Wellness Wednesday since I have a sponsored recipe post coming at ya this Wednesday, plus I had something on my mind that I wanted to get out on paper....err, the internet.

Last week, I was working on a moodboard for a big website rebrand (gahhhh can't wait! ). In pursuit of branding inspiration, I searched "fashion" on Pinterest. This is what I found...

 
 

Notice anything in common? Blonde and thin certainly seems to be the theme. I literally scrolled through hundreds of images before I came across a black woman. I don't even know how long I would have to scroll to see someone who is plus sized. As it turns out, Pinterest is less diverse than any magazine I've ever seen. As an over thirty brunette with naturally curly hair, I don't even see me or my friends represented, let alone anyone who isn't white, has a large body, or disabled people.

I'm kind of embarrassed that I never noticed it before (hello privilege!). I guess when I'm normally on the main Pinterest page style pictures are dispersed between recipes, DIY projects and travel, so it wasn't so glaringly obvious. Plus, in the past couple years, I've really tried to cultivate a diverse instagram feed for style-inspiration so I'm not really used to scrolling through such homogenous images meant to represent beauty.

Right after I noticed it, I did a quick insta-story and got a huge response, so I know it resonated with a lot of people.

It's no secret that our society has a pretty narrow image of beauty, but I think the lack diversity on Pinterest is particularly troublesome because it's self-curated. We go online, pick out what we think looks beautiful and repin it. So basically, we've unconsciously created a world that's even less inclusive that what's being sold to us by marketers. Think we may have internalized the standard of beauty much?

And P.S. I will totally call myself out as part of the problem because when I looked at my fashion board, it looked exactly the same. I've rarely used Pinterest for style inspiration in the past 3 years, but now I'm going to try and make it a point to pin stylish images of women with different bodies and skin colors - I hope you'll do the same.

I think basically every woman I know has felt unhappy with their appearance at some point in life, or like, daily. And it's no wonder when you look at the images on Pinterest. The women we aspire to look like not only don't represent the average woman, but don't even represent a single woman I know, and I have some pretty conventionally beautiful friends! 

A few years ago, a few of my friends and I were talking about our wedding pictures and how we were heartbroken when we first saw them. They didn't look like the pictures we had pinned on as we planned for our wedding. We all eventually came to realize that it was because we looked like ourselves, not the model-like women filling our wedding inspiration boards. How sad to see images of one of the happiest days of your life and feel inadequate?

Pinterest matters because it's supposed to be images we can theoretically recreate. It isn't the highly editorialized pictures in magazines that we might admire, but in reality, who is going to wear a $4,500 see through designer gown paired with a neon yellow fur stole and plastic platform shoes in public?? The whole idea of Pinterest is that you're using it for personal inspiration. So why not fill it with people who actually look like you? Just like other forms of social media, be mindful of what you're consuming and how it makes you feel.


More on social media and body image: 

10 Inspiring Instagram Accounts

10 Inspiring Instagram Accounts

Food Blogs and Disordered Eating

Food Blogs and Disordered Eating

The Only Detox You’ll Ever Need

The Only Detox You’ll Ever Need

 
9 Comments