If you know anyone with a suburban white mom, you know they’re probably on Pinterest, even from just a quick statement. (“This casserole is fabulous!” “Oh, thanks. I found the recipe on Pinterest.) This site is probably the most dangerous time sucker I have ever come across.
I knew about Pinterest in my junior year, back when you still had to get an invite to join. (Yeah, it was that niche in the past.) My friend Beka was raving about it in English class. I really liked Beka; she was trendy and slightly boho (is that even the right word?) before boho was popular. And she was nice to almost everyone, indiscriminately. So when she mentioned this site, I was kind of pretty interested. I signed up for the wait list, and then promptly forgot about the whole thing after about a week. I hadn’t gotten the invite email, and so I figured I just would never get into this Super Elite site. Which was okay. I had my Tumblr blog which took up enough of my time as it was.
I did eventually get my invite. I used the site for probably all of three days before realizing my pin boards were even less disorganized than my usual attempts at organizing. I deleted my account, assuming I’d never use it again.
Flash forward like, a year.
I’m suddenly on Pinterest again. I don’t even know why. I’ve linked it to my Facebook and I’m pinning like it is my job. I’m frustrated when I go up to the top of my new pins page and the only things there are my own pins. I want new content, dammit! I need new recipes to try, new cute home ideas to put in my imaginary house, new wedding ideas to pin to my super secret wedding board (because everyone knew I was never getting married.) But alas, there was nothing. I’d have to wait at least a day for my new pins page to fill up again. Tedious. I deleted my account again.
As time went on, Pinterest gained a reputation. At The Picture People, where I used to work, we’d view the Suburban White Mother with her cubs in the wild. Sometimes, she’d bring the father of the cubs, who wanted nothing to do with the display that it’s mate was about to put on. The Mother would come in armed with props and ideas and the phrase “I saw it on Pinterest, and I want my kids to look just like it,” without understanding that those kids did not have an entire cinnamon sugar pretzel from Auntie Annes before going into their photo shoots. Those children were not photo shy, screaming how they want to go home, or just woken up from a nap. But the Mother would persist; her cubs are angels, and she will not go home until she gets the picture she wants. (She will then produce a Groupon at the sales counter and fight that the Groupon entitles her to more than one pose, and what would she even do with twenty copies of the same pose, and she doesn’t even want wallets so can’t she switch those out? And then she won’t buy anything else despite the high-resolution CD being half off and therefore she will drag your average sale down to $18 on a slow day.) I’m sure they then went on to cause havoc in some other corner of the world because “I saw it on Pinterest and now I need it for me right now, exactly as it was on a website full of things done by other people who I have never spoken to and have no idea how many times they had to try to get it right.”
The Suburban White Mom reputation kept me away from Pinterest for a while, because god help me if I ever turn into one.
Something always brought me back to it, though. I must have three accounts open right now because they’re tied to emails that I don’t know what they are anymore. I apparently came back at one point, started one on my Facebook again, and never deleted, because there was one open when I logged back in a few days ago. (I will say, the new interface is a lot more “find new boards” friendly than the old one.) And once I got on, I haven’t been able to get back off.
Pinterest is the biggest productivity killer I’ve ever willingly logged onto (and still go back to.) More than Tumblr or Facebook or anything else like it. It disguises itself as being productive in most cases. At least other websites, there’s a voice at the back of your mind going “this is literally the opposite of being productive, you’re procrastinating, you need to get up and do something worthwhile.” On Pinterest, you see these wonderful foods and go “ooh, I can make that one night this week!” and continue on, fooling yourself that you’re making a recipe book, or a wedding idea board, or accruing writing inspiration. And at least for me, this shuts up the little nagging voice at the back of my mind because I’m being halfway productive. I almost never actually look back at these boards when it’s my turn to make dinner, or I have writers block. They exist to be fake productivity. That’s all.
And yet it is so addictive that I can feel myself being drawn back, all the while muttering under my breath “I will not be a Suburban White Mom” and trying to ignore the gender stereotypes plastered all over the baby planning pins.
If you’re on Pinterest, and want to wallow with me, you can follow me here.