If you’re a Pinterest user, you’ve certainly seen at least a few images of slender women in sports bras flaunting their chiseled abs. Below the image, you’ll probably read a lose-quick diet tip or a pithy motivational statement like “Train insane or remain the same.” These images are part of the “fitspiration” or “fitspo” trend that takes up a large part of Pinterest’s Health & Fitness category. But while fitspo might seem to encourage women to strive for healthier lifestyles, the trend seems to instead uphold a narrow standard of beauty.
The popular online pin board Pinterest has seen incredible growth since its founding in 2010. As of April 2013, the site had over 48 million users, but what’s most interesting about the site is the surprising slant of its demographic. Unlike other social media sites which are fairly equal in their male-female divide, Pinterest female users outnumber male users 4 to 1.
Exactly what attracts American women to Pinterest more so than men is unclear (in the UK for instance, men dominate the social bookmarking site), but it begs the question, if women are the ones generating content for this site, what can we learn about the media that women value. As a result of considering this question, a debate has arisen over the relationship between Pinterest, feminism, and gender roles. Women on each side of the divide are examining the content of the site and questioning the role its playing in the lives of women.