Trending now: women saying Pinterest makes them feel inadequate.
Surely you’ve heard women complain about how Pinterest makes them feel lacking because they can never live up to the standards set by those perfect pinboards.
To which I said: What?
I don’t have this problem. I use Pinterest to track of ideas and images I used to throw into two dozen poorly organized bookmarks folders. I use it to track my books and show Stitch Fix what I’m into. I don’t spend a ton of time browsing, and I can’t recall a time I’ve been struck green with envy whilst in front of my computer.
I believe this problem is real: too many women experience Pinterest-driven discontent to just dismiss it. But I struggled to understand why Pinterest was such a big deal for them, when it wasn’t for me.
I thought maybe Pinterest didn’t get to me because I was content with my life. Or that as someone who creates web content, I have a better idea of what’s just outside the frame of all those beautiful pinned photos. Or that something in me recognized the futility of comparing my life to what is essentially a neverending magazine.
But I wonder if the explanation is more simple than that.
Last week, I was listening to my daughter complain that her dress wasn’t as pretty as her sister’s–a common occurrence in my house. This child is quick to compare herself with others, and often finds herself lacking. I have no idea why she does it; this tendency seems to be innate.
And that’s when I remembered something Gretchen Rubin said about technology and self-image: When it comes to social comparison, “Some people are just much more inclined this way than others…and some people aren’t so much that way.”
Gretchen wasn’t discussing Pinterest (though she did mention Facebook, which has been the subject of numerous social comparison studies). But her explanation illumines not only my daughter’s frequent complaints, but Pinterest-driven inferiority complex syndrome as well.
Some of us are much more likely than others to feel badly about ourselves after browsing Pinterest.
Just knowing that social comparison is real, and that some people experience it more than others, can help you shake free of it. Diagnose yourself: does Pinterest make you feel bad? To paraphrase Gretchen, is this tool serving you or oppressing you?
If you find Pinterest helpful and fun, then have at it.
But if Pinterest messes with your head, don’t let comparison steal your joy. Remind yourself that this is hard for you, and you’re going to struggle with it a bit.
And maybe, just stay off Pinterest.
Recommended reading: 16 Ways to Become More Content over at Money Saving Mom.
Are you on Pinterest? How does it make you feel?