Pinterest: Why are we having the gender conversation?

Before I had an account with pinterest, I used the site as a source for recipes. If I was bringing a dish to a family get-together or wanted to try something new for my friends I’d simply go to Google, type in “pinterest recipes with Reeces and Oreos,” see hundreds of photos, and eventually be routed to a website or blog with the instructions. As I said in class, I mostly use the website for cooking and baking ideas. It’s a modern day, updatable, collective recipe book. Because this is the general reason I use pinterest, most of the blogs or accounts I see and interact with are doing the same. One thing I did notice this past weekend while paying extra attention was the difference in users who post the instructions and ones who don’t. Most women (all of the accounts I see/saw are ran by women’s magazines or women themselves) gave some inclination in the title or caption under the photo of how to make that particular food. However, some didn’t include the recipe or instructions. In these cases they were commenting on how unhealthy, fattening, or outrageously delicious the food looked i.e. “OMFG nom nom nom #icant.” I don’t quite get the point of these types of pins. This pattern, along with many other I saw, coincided with the class’ discussion of how pinterest is gendered or tailored towards woman.

For me, I’m not sure why this matters. It’s like having a conversation about Cosmo or GQ Magazine… they’re obviously targeting a specific demographic (gender in this case). I don’t know what the implication is here. Shouldn’t there be a site, television channel (or tv show to be more specific), magazine, book section etc. for transgender people, people of color, children, women and men? It only makes sense to me that women who like to craft, cook, exercise, decorate, you name it, should have a place to connect with other users who enjoy those things. The following quote from the reading communicates my idea: “The future of the Web is less about having these mammoth sites that are focused on everything under the sun and more about niche sites with really supportive, passionate users” (Williams). 

So what’s the big deal about Pinterest being “for women?”