Signing onto Pinterest can be overwhelming. On my homepage right now there’s a bikini I’ll never afford, a photo guide to how to make beignets, and an instructional for “How To Light A Barn For A Wedding.” It’s easy to see why the site is often the target of mockery. (Come on—how often do you actually need to light a barn for a wedding?).
Apparently, however, those beauty-shots of banana bread and DIY crafting tips are starting to make some women crack. According to a survey of 7,000 moms done by TODAY, 42 percent admit to suffering from “Pinterest-related stress.”
While the study itself might sound ridiculous, the underlying premise that Pinterest can make you feel bad about yourself is legit. According to Jenna Andersen, founder of Pinterest Fail, the main reason for this is that it’s easy to believe everyone else’s life looks like Pinterest, and if yours doesn’t there’s something wrong with you. “It tricks you into thinking that everyone is baking their own bread,” she told TODAY.
The phrase “Pinterest-worthy” is already part of our vernacular, suggesting we shouldn’t share things publicly unless they look just-so. And apparently, moms are becoming anxious and depressed because their lives don’t look as perfect. In a recent op-ed, New York Post writer Naomi Schaffer Riley also bemoaned the rise of Pinterest, and how it propagates the image of the picture-perfect domestic goddess. “When did being a good parent mean becoming a master hobbyist?” she asked.
On the surface, this sounds incredibly silly. Pinterest is mostly just pictures of banana bread and braids, and if you’re stressed out you can just choose not to look at it. However, Pinterest is just the latest example of aspirational living porn to make women feel bad about themselves. Before Pinterest we had magazines and Martha Stewart telling women that it’s easy to recycle old library drawers into seedling planters, or make the perfect low-carb spinach pizza crust, or bedazzle your own shoes. And not only is it easy to do those things, it’s also necessary to maintaining a happy domestic life.
The upside to this, however, is that as beautiful and organized as Pinterest can be, it is also the home to some of the most disgusting stuff I have ever seen. Seriously, search “red velvet” on the site, or “dip,” and just watch as the most horrifying recipes appear before your eyes. Pinterest is perfect if you curate it to be so, but any deeper digging shows, umm, this.
Update 1:12pm CT, June 11: Though the results still stand, the Pinterest survey was conducted by Today.com in May 2013.
H/T Today | Photo via Steve Johnson / flickr (CC BY 2.0) | Remix by Max Fleishman