It all seemed so innocent at first. The pretty pictures, the overwhelmingly nice comments, that swirly, scripted P.
Once upon a time, Pinterest was merely a way to share all that was cute and aesthetically pleasing in the world -- without getting defriended by your Facebook connections who didn't want to get inundated with recipes and home décor tips.
But like an expertly decorated, poo-flavored layer cake, something evil lurked beneath Pinterest's cheery surface. Five things, to be precise. And now that it's the third most popular social network in the U.S., those sinister truths are rearing their vintage-styled, expertly braided heads. From iffy online morality to passive-aggressively judgmental messages, Pinterest has morphed from the pretty, friendly new kid in class into the full-blown mean girl of the Internet. And she hates what you're wearing.
Read on for five reasons to ditch the clique and go smoke behind school with the loners.
News flash: When someone uploads an image to the Internet, it doesn't automatically become public property. It's a brave new world out there on the web, but not so brave or new that copyrights cease to exist. So when you're repinning a photo, painting, illustration, or any other image without first asking for permission to share it, you might actually be breaking the law.
That's bad enough on its own. And you've probably heard this complaint before. But here's what's really creepy. When you Google "Pinterest stealing," the first result isn't a news story or blog post about the site's copyright controversy. Neither is the second one. The top two sites: Stealing-related Pinterest boards. Mega (and meta) disturbing.
Pinterest's "hair and beauty" board.
Pinterest presents itself as a forum for all kinds of interests: art, design, film, culture. But let's be honest: The majority of the content on the site is superficial fashion drivel. Here's a pair of snakeskin boots filed under "art." Here we have a hair model filed under "food and drink." Looking for interesting photography? Hope you like weddings. (More on weddings later.) And we'll give you three guesses where we found this "dance floor date dress." If you guessed "Science & Nature," you're a winner!
Is there a time and a place for fashion? Sure. Just not every time and every place. Studies have shown that focusing too much on your physical appearance is unhealthy for your self-esteem. More important, it makes you boring. We suggest you spend more time reading Cultist instead.
Have you ever seen an episode of Whatever, Martha? It was a TV talk show hosted by Martha Stewart's daughter Alexis (it's since morphed into a satellite radio show), and it was essentially a showcase of all the insecurities and personality problems that come with trying to live up to domestic-goddess perfection. Alexis Stewart is not OK, you guys. Her stories of being reprimanded for playing with fondant as a child are bone-chilling.
The evil genius of Pinterest is that it's slowly turning us all into Alexis Stewarts. Browsing its wealth of perfect recipes and "easy" home décor projects, it's hard not to think, Man, I wish I could make some time in my busy drinking schedule to make a wreath out of ribbons and twigs I found in the imaginary woods behind my imaginary mansion in the country. And we've all seen where that type of thinking gets you: Sirius XM talk radio.
Pinterest wants you to get married. So much. The wealth of wedding dresses, wedding cakes, wedding flowers, and DIY wedding décor on the site is overpowering. You're not married? Pinterest asks. Because here are about a billion reasons to get married, pronto. And if you are married, well, wasn't it great? Don't you wish you could do it again so that you could fashion mason jars into a homemade chandelier that'll look amazing in all your sepia-toned photos?
Some people might think that's insensitive to gays and lesbians, who don't yet have the right to marry in most places. But we think it's a heteronormative conspiracy. Just look at the evidence: anti-gay, pressuring women to stay home and cook and craft, distracting the nation at large with meaningless drivel. Pinterest, clearly, is the right-wing extremist of social networks.
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But perhaps the worst thing about Pinterest is this: Despite the legal issues, the vanity, and the pressure to get married and be a '50s housewife, the site is damned addicting. There's something intoxicating about scrolling through its happy, unchallenging images -- like lingering in a dreamworld made up of tasty desserts, inspirational quotes, and white fashion models. If Neo had chosen the blue pill in The Matrix, he probably would've woken up at his laptop, scrolling through Pinterest photos of pets wearing funny hats. Come to think of it, the column-centric layout of the site itself looks a lot like the green binary code in that film. Coincidence? We think not.