Why Pinterest is addicting for everyone

Critics may have pegged Pinterest as "Facebook for Women," but the photo-sharing network truly takes all kinds. 

Mar 3, 2020, 8:24 am*

Internet Culture

Lauren Rae Orsini 

Lauren Rae Orsini

There are countless ways to use Pinterest. From business promotion to political protest, Pinterest offers a pinboard for every type of user, including geeks, manly men, and even celebrities.

It’s been nearly two years since since the image-sharing social network launched in March 2010. But even now, observers are still getting it wrong, labeling this momentous, multimillion user-network as nothing more than a ghetto for women.

Is Pinterest “digital crack for women,” as one Washington Post columnist suggested? Are women no longer from Venus but “from Pinterest,” as a Time writer opined? Is it, as the Daily Mail inaccurately asked, “Facebook for Women?” Or is the network so unabashedly girly that men must seek refuge at Gentlemint instead?

It’s true that Pinterest has a userbase that’s 70-80 percent female, proving that women rule the site in the U.S. (In the U.K., Pinterest is male dominated.) However, in what way is this unusual? Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Yelp, and nine other major social networks or sites with social features all skew female.

On the flip side, Google+ has a userbase that’s 88 percent male. But not once has it been referred to as “digital crack for men.” That’s because writers assume a male default. If anything proves that, it’s the tech world’s sweeping generalization of Pinterest as a site by and for women.

At social media agency Clever Girls Collective, Kristy Sammis writes that many journalists’ designation of Pinterest as “just for women” forced them to play catch-up once Pinterest got too big to be ignored:

“Men still do a majority of the tech blogging… and most of the men in the tech blogging world missed the boat on Pinterest. They didn’t get it, they thought it was ‘just for women,’ and they dismissed it.”

We’re not saying that sexism is responsible for Zoomsphere creating a list of the 10 most influential Pinterest users two months after we did. However, a societal tendency to pigeonhole and discount women’s influence may be.

Pinterest is for everyone. Even Mark Zuckerberg, who goes to the extreme to exert his masculinity with hobbies like hunting and slaughtering the meat that he eats, is a member.

It’s time to admit that Pinterest isn’t the fastest growing women’s social network. No, it’s the fastest-growing social network, period.

Photo by zoonabar

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*First Published: Feb 21, 2012, 3:30 pm