Pinterest: do you love it or hate it?
On the one hand. I don’t really like Pinterest very much. It is full of recipe and craft ideas that seem specifically designed to make me feel like a complete and total loser-slash-slacker who has failed her children in every imaginable way. If all the other women out there can somehow manipulate marshmallows and chocolate chips into snowmen, make bento box lunches with fruits and veggies arranged just so in the recognizable shape of Princess Elsa, put up a delicious crockpot meal before heading to work, and get firm abs with only fifteen minutes of exercise a day, why can’t I?
So I resent Pinterest. I resent that it holds me up to a standard I don’t have a prayer of meeting. I resent that it says that anyone does these things, as if motherhood was some kind of pass fail competition that depends entirely on your ability and motivation to produce museum quality arts and crafts. Mostly, I resent the word “easy” and the phrase “no time at all.” Horsehockey.
And yet I’m drawn to it. I’m drawn to the directions for crochet projects that I’ll never make; recipes I’ll never try, and memes that were Photoshopped by people who will always have more time (and computer skills) than I have. Pinterest is a time suck, a thing you can get lost in, because the more you click on things, the more it knows what you like, and the more it knows what you like, the more things you truly are interested in pop up.
It irritated me for a long time that I liked it. It irritated me so much I wouldn’t even admit that I liked it, instead pretending that I couldn’t look away in the way that you can’t look away from a horrible wreck on the side of the road. But then last night happened. Last night I had an epiphany. I figured out what I liked about it.
Pinterest is full of hope and humor. Pinterest makes you laugh. Pinterest likes the books and movies and tv shows you like. Pinterest doesn’t laugh at you for thinking grammar jokes are funny or for dreaming that you’d still look good in a sparkly tulle skirt. Pinterest believes in a world in which making your own prom dress is not only possible but a good idea.
No one rants about politics on Pinterest. No one tells you that you are some version of idiot because of your political leanings. No one tells you that your form of worship ensures you a first row seat in Hell. Pinterest doesn’t force you to look at pictures of cute cats (unless you want to look at cute cats, in which case there is an endless supply of cute cat pictures) and it doesn’t brag about other people’s children. Nope, you see what you want to see. The more funny stuff you look at, the more funny stuff it gives you. The more pictures of baby sloths you post, the more pictures of baby sloths you see. Lego birthday party ideas? In spades! Want to know how to make a facial mask out of an avocado? Done! Clever jokes about Dr. Who? Gotcha covered.
Besides, I’m not convinced that any real actual people do any of those things. Most of the posts were generated by professionals who are hawking a website or book and who create this kind of thing for a living. Or nineteen year olds who really don’t have anything better to do with their time than come up with and create clever memes. Or people with money dripping out of their eyeballs so that the nanny or maid or personal assistant does all the scut work and you have nothing but time to individually cut complicated cookies out of refrigerated dough made with hand churned butter derived from cows who get massages twice a week and who only eat organic kale served out of buckets made by women in third world countries who are paid a living wage for their labor. Or something like that.
The rest of us? Just like we read fairy tales and watch implausible romantic comedies, we like living in fantasy worlds, if only for a few minutes at a time. A world in which everyone shares our sense of humor and our taste in clothing and food; and no one ever yells at or belittles anyone.
So yeah. I do like pretending for 12 seconds at a time that there is a prayer I will make that adorable knitted fox hat for my daughter, even though in real life I’m hard pressed to make it to Big Box R Us to buy a cheap serviceable hat for her before the cold weather hits.
A girl can dream, right?