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Fri Dec 7, 2012, 05:15 AM

Is it true? "How Pinterest Is Killing Feminism" [View all]

Are traditionally feminine interests like fashion, recipes, home decor, etc. an attack on Feminism?

Do sites that are oriented towards women have an obligation to minimize fluffy subjects and focus on the heavy heady stuff like economic and social equity?

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http://www.buzzfeed.com/amyodell/how-pinterest-is-killing-feminism

One in five women over the age of 18 who regularly use the internet is on Pinterest, which had an estimated 23 million users users as of July. It also has an overwhelmingly female audience; around 60 percent of visitors to the site are women. And the site is only growing: between July 2011 and July 2012, 22 million users joined. Since Pinterest stopped requiring an invite to become a member in August, that number is only increasing. But the site's popularity highlights an uncomfortable reality: Pinterest's user-generated content, which overwhelmingly emphasizes recipes, home decor, and fitness and fashion tips, feels like a reminder that women still seek out the retrograde, materialistic content that women's magazines have been hawking for decades and that the internet was supposed to help overcome.

Pinterest which drives more traffic to marthastewart.com and marthastewartweddings.com than Facebook and Twitter combined has become impossible to ignore, even as critics deride it as "the Mormon housewife's image bookmarking service of choice." But it's much more than a collection of pretty pictures. In fact, the site seems like one big user-curated women's magazine from the pre-internet era. Sites like Jezebel were created as an antidote to women's print magazines, which are rife with diet, fitness and dressing tips. The internet has for many years now been thought of as a place where women can find smarter, meatier reads just for them.

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On Pinterest, you'd never know that sites like Jezebel and Feministing had hit the internet. "Thinspo" and pro-eating disorder content may be banned on Pinterest, but the site is filled with images of Victoria's Secret models wearing bikinis and other cellulite-free, idealistic bodies. Images of covetable figures and body parts often get hundreds of repins.

~ snip ~

But while sites like Jezebel have found sizeable audiences online, it's taken a lot of work to avoid rehashing the same old tropes. Anna Holmes launched Jezebel with the hope of encouraging women not to obsess over their appearance, materialism, and being thin, but noticed these themes would creep into the site's comment threads anyway.

~ snip ~

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The reason I bring this up is that I have a friend who is a self-described "girly girl". She is most definitely liberal, supports all the traditional feminist viewpoints on equality, abortion rights, etc. But she feels like she is under attack for the fact that she likes scrap booking and beading and her other traditionally feminine interests.

Can "traditionally feminine" coexist with feminism? Or is she knitting her own slave chains when she knits her own scarf? Is it necessary to completely abandon "gender normative" actions and ideals in order to not insult people who are not gender normative? Or is it possible for people to be themselves, even if that includes accepting and acting in accordance with old-fashioned gender roles when others cannot?

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