Pinterest is to mason jar DIY projects what Snapchat is to dick pics, Tumblr is to pastel goths, and Twitter is to Beyoncé think piece headlines. As a digital version of the photo-adorned cork boards found in the bedrooms of teenagers and brides-to-be, Pinterest has been lady-centric since the first picture was pinned back in 2010 — attracting plenty of derisive scoffs from the World Wide Web Boys Club.
But the actual statistics on Pinterest’s gender bias are staggering. Not only do women comprise 80% of Pinterest’s usership, but new studies show that 1/3 of all women in the United States are using it. That’s up 25% from a similar study carried out back in February.
I’ll be the first to admit it — until now I was a Pinterest naysayer. I guzzled the Pinterest haterade. Pinterest updates on my Facebook feed make me only slightly less likely to de-friend you than FarmVille invitations. I refuse to try Greek Yoghurt as a cure for foot odor, and for a website where ‘typography’ is pinned with the same frequency as ‘rainbow layer cake’, their logo reminds me of Target’s. However. There are few better things to do in a blizzard than collect images of DIY projects you’ll never complete or recipes that appear to defy the laws of physics, so what do you know? I am now one of the 150 million-plus American women on Pinterest.
I won’t pretend it was love at first pin. The first thing that came up when I clicked on the ‘Women’s Fashion’ category was a pair of bedazzled Rock Revival jeans that someone had vomited rhinestones all over. But in this way it’s a little like Tinder, and you can do a heap of cool things with it besides arranging hookups with a guys who’s profile pictures are of themselves at their own weddings. Mindless leafing can lead to your eureka! moment, like when you find the babe who works at your local wine shop, or realize that you’ve been dispensing soap wrong your entire life.
Pinterest, please accept my apology. Here are five reason I actually love you.
1. History 101
It’s not as if Google Images is short on photos of Audrey Hepburn, but Pinterest allows you get specific as shit with your sartorial history lessons. One of the best pinners (yep, said it) to follow is the Museum at FIT, which has 87 boards including “Fashion Illustration 1900 – 1930″ and “Vintage Ivy League Clothing. Into the Gloss also has a great one on Mick Jagger and his various lovers, where most of the pins fall under the description “Mick Jagger’s amazing hair”.
2. News You Can Use
Due to a growing number of journalists and media sites use Pinterest, the site introduced a “rich pins” feature giving you extra details on everything from the ingredients in that kale smoothie to actual news and feature stories. The New York Times has boards showcasing articles they’ve published on certain topics, as does the Wall Street Journal, while sites like NPR Music’s news board operates like a Twitter feed with lots of pretty pictures. This makes you feel smarter while you’re essentially just procrastinating.
3. Science experiments.
Another fun thing to do on snow days is to conduct experiments. I have already identified the fact that most recipes and DIY projects appear to defy the laws of science and human patience, but if you have time to test these things, there is much fun to be had. One things I intent to test when I have a few dollars to waste on eggs that will probably spontaneously combust is cooking them in the oven. More intrepid pinners might like to have a crack at the DIY urinal, made out of a beer keg and pinned by, yes, a woman. If you succeed, you will feel like a genius. If you fail, it’s only because somebody gave you crap instructions.
4. Interiors that aren’t whimsical lakeside cabins.
One very cool Pinterest account is the one for American Hustle, which has a production design board where you can perve inside Jennifer Lawrence‘s bedroom and more tacky-fantastic interiors from the movie. For real life inspo you can also just do a quick search for “apartment porn”, which is something you should never, ever do on Google Images.
5. Gathering information on your friends and acquaintances.
Pinterest is a great place to track the interests of people who don’t have, or refuse to accept your friend request on, Facebook. Many celebrities have Pinterest — Nicole Richie‘s has an entire board dedicated to tee pees — but it’s more fun as a way to collect information on real life acquaintances. Wanna be pot luck’s most popular? Perve at your friends’ must-try recipes. Same logic applies for buying birthday and Christmas presents, since of the ways Pinterest makes money is by linking you to places you can buy the stuff you’ve pinned — though you can also just go find the cheaper version.