If you are a frequenter of the all-out girl zone Pinterest like I am, you’ve probably seen these kinds of images before. Photographs on Pinterest where the focus in on some cool, frilly, pretty part of a woman’s outfit, hair, shoes, nail polish, washboard abs, etc. And while Pinterest is celebrated for being this wonderful haven of femininity where women can just go balls to walls with their girliness (a preverbial “room of one’s own” if you will), let’s take a closer look.
The advertising world has often been knocked for knocking down real women’s self-esteem by endlessly parading airbrushed super models in every single advertisement ever et nauseum. Yes. When you see a skinny model in a magazine, you may regret the ice cream cone you are dripping all over the glossy pages you are currently flipping through. But for me, I’m safe behind the shinny page; the big bad skinny sexy model can’t touch me. It’s fake and it’s photoshopped and I dismiss it just as quickly as I polish off my Ben and Jerrys.
But on Pinterest, the endless parade of instagram shots of expensive outfits, of pretty fashion bloggers walking their white fluffy dogs on the street, of rock hard abs of sexy fitness trainers…I mean, what’s a girl to do? The consumerism is palpable. Full disclosure, I work in social media professionally, so its my job to know these things. Statisically, Pinterest drives more direct sales for businesses than Facebook could ever dream of. That to me signals that the women who spend a major part of their time on this site (and many are; it’s the 3rd most popular social network in the US), the desire to buy is heightened. We want our lives to be our Pinterest boards. We want to be that accessible, effortlessly thin and stylish girl laughing as she bites into her gourmet lunch and strutting down the beach in a skimpy, designer bikini. It’s a cleaverly packaged advertising campaign of the same old “buy this to make you happy” scheme that advertisers have been employing for decades. Just now it’s packed up with a pretty bow and inspirational quotes all around it.
A photo of a headless woman is common practice in advertising, and it works two ways: (a) to highlight that which makes her valuable – noteably her shoes or bag or skirt and (b) to allow for a better ease in imagining yourself as said girl. If only you just had that sequins clutch…
Check me out on said social network here…. http://pinterest.com/clairemcgovern/