This article is fascinating, not only because it is pointing out the labels a site can garner if ‘too many’ women should choose to populate it, but that it brings together different feminist ideologies to explain the phenomena. Also, it is written by a sociology professor, so academic blogs are becoming the next best teaching utility?
Anyhow, the author starts by defining pinterest, but does so explaining that it is predominantly feminine, as in the user base 70-80% female. But that’s not all! Why does a website become feminine when other sites out there (he uses wikipedia) have users that are predominantly male (with users being 80%+ male)? Is this another attempt to ‘other’ women and exclude them from tech/blog/internet communities? As an aside, I have seen the dismissive behavior the author is talking about.. and I’m not sure what to think.
He continues by defining two forms of feminist thought and their take on the whole pinterest exclusion dynamic. Dominance theory as he defines it “holds that those differences are themselves a result of patriarchy and to celebrate them is to celebrate the dominance that created them.” And difference feminism contends that “the differences between men and women are more fundamental than the inequalities those differences take on socially.” The two thoughts are diametrically opposed, one contradict one-another. The Difference feminist find pinterest as a save haven void of misogynist content while the Dominance feminists see it as “exemplifying a particularly juvenile and defanged version of women and empowerment” which in and of-itself is attractive to men.
Regardless of what view you take (those are just two of many), there is an othering element, and that pinterest is being defined as distinctly feminine — as if that has a bad connotation by those giving it that label. If we apply our reading from Bond-villain the ‘feminine’ stereotype as incompetent, emotional, frivolous, etc. has followed women in all fields. Off the top of my head I think about her argument about psychology and medicine throughout modernity constantly reaffirming these gender roles and the stereo types we perpetuate. This is just another example, but it is manifesting itself on the internet.
What are your views? Personally I haven’t been on pinterest, and my knowledge of it is actually acquired through the dismissive labels the author of this article points out.