Pinterest recently got a very high profile new member.
Boards titled Dresses, Dresses, Dresses! and Baking, Baking, Baking! make social networking site Pinterest far more popular with women than men.
But Pinterest’s young women usesrs have found endless ways to maximize the site’s potential.
Laura Milton, a senior from University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, mostly uses Pinterest for her arts and crafts projects. Pinterest gives her inspiration for sprucing up her house with a “more modern touch.”
Her friends have found ways to make the site their own as well.
“One of my friends is getting married and looks up things to use for her wedding,” she says. “A lot of my friends like baking so they’ll go on there and look for desserts if they’re going to a party.”
She does point the example of her university’s male dean — who uses Pinterest for create more conventionally masculine boards such as pictures of cars — as a sign that more men may be using the site. But she says that ultimately, “there’s just so many things on there that women are interested in.” She adds, “it doesn’t bother me. I just attach stuff I’m interested in.”
It doesn’t bother Cristina Arreola, either. The Northwestern University senior uses Pinterest for everything from graphic design inspiration to organizing shopping lists. Her mother even requested that she send her a Pinterest board of gifts she wanted for her birthday.
“I don’t necessarily think Pinterest is geared towards women, but it organically blossomed into something that seems gendered,” she says. “I think women are just naturally more drawn to this type of expression and organization.”
Mallory Mattimore-Malan, a Northwestern University senior, has four different boards. Three for pretty things, and one for nice thoughts.
Nothing too serious, although she has ideas of what Pinterest could be in a larger sense.
“The vast majority of Pinterest is stereotypically geared toward women in that it focuses on weddings and fashion and baking and cute babies,” she says. However, “it has the potential to be used as a space to express yourself, and some people do use it that way.” She notes the use of boards for body acceptance and the normalization of different body types, even though many boards sound more like, “don’t I have great taste in shoes.”
Mattimore-Malan says that even though first lady Michelle Obama recently signed up to use the site, the character of Pinterest probably won’t change too drastically.
She does acknowledge the potential for broader ideas on Pinterest, however.
While the site probably won’t secure the 2012 election for her husband, Mattimore-Malan notes that the First Lady could use Pinterest to advocate more healthful lifestyle choices and better eating, two of her big initiatives. And while it’s unlikely that she’ll will be changing the world with her pins, “I’ll probably follow her,” Mattimore-Malan says.
So maybe Pinterest isn’t the new wave of feminism, but for now it serves its main demographic just fine. And has left itself plenty of room to grow.
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