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Is Pinterest Picture Perfect?

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Temple chapter.

Pinterest. Founded in 2010; the picture sharing, mood-board-making, life-hack-finding app has taken the world by storm, (especially as we sit in quarantine grasping for any type of visualization that makes life feel somewhat normal). I have been a Pinterest user for a long, long time, but for the duration of that long, long time, I have always had mixed feelings about the effects of scrolling through a never-ending Pinterest feed. 

To be honest, I would be lost without Pinterest. My creative career, photoshop design passions, and collage collections would be a dud. My attempt at a room re-decoration would be a total mess, and let’s be real—where else are you going to find the most drop-dead gorgeous pictures of the northern lights or that Greek island you’ve been yearning to visit? Pinterest thrives on the aspect of romanticizing its users’ lives. You can’t scroll through your homepage feed without feeling overwhelmed by the beautiful destinations, the trendy outfits, the recipes, and the study tips that seem as if they are the missing glue that can hold your life together. Do these pins inspire us, stress us out, or swallow us whole? My opinion? All three. 

There is nothing wrong with wanting to act as if your life is straight out of a dream. There is nothing wrong with finding beauty and joy in your day to day lifestyle. There is also nothing wrong with admiring the way the sunlight hits your collection of crystals, to get that Pinterest perfect angle. In fact, I have been trying to romanticize my day (emphasize trying) as much as possible. Pinterest also gives its users’ a different type of social media experience, one that isn’t defined by followers, likes, comments, shares. It’s a safe space for creatives, planners, animal lovers, fashionistas, etc. All of this is good.

But that’s not the issue. 

The issue is, websites and apps, like Pinterest, make us feel as though our efforts for self-romanticization and self-confidence and inspiration, are not enough. Each day, a new way we should dress, a new thing we should eat, or a new exercise routine that we should try is at our fingertips. Is this exciting or is it over-bearing in making us Pinterest users feel as if our efforts–our lifestyle–are not enough? Is Pinterest contributing to our overall self-betterment or is it poking us with self-consciousness? Is this app making us feel like we need to travel all over the world, eat the best food, and wear the best clothes just to have a happy life? To me, it’s an odd combination of exciting aspirations and mentally-exhausting standards.

Perhaps this is just my easily stressed out subconscious speaking, but I can only take Pinterest in so many doses before I find myself hyper-pinning every image in my feed. Despite truly enjoying what the app has to offer, it is just truly so easy to drown in all the possible ways you can dress, eat, think, study, exercise. It can get exhausting… and this is coming from someone who loves to plan (seriously, it’s a problem… ask my friends)!

But I think this microcosm of a Pinterest world expands into a broader societal context… and it really comes down to two questions: are we, as a society, obsessed with self-improvement or infatuated with trying to abide by unattainable standards and aesthetics that society has implemented? Or (okay, I lied, three questions) is it both?

Fallon is a sophomore journalism major and political science minor at Temple University. She is the Graphic Designer for Her Campus at Temple and the News Editor of The Temple News. She enjoys writing about politics, mental health and gender, eating vegan food, color-coding everything and creating digital art. Follow her on Twitter @fallonroth_.
I'm a social media fanatic. Between my work as a rising senior public relations student at Temple University and my personal blog (living-with-love.com) hobby, you can always find me on my phone. I'm from a small town in Connecticut and spend my free time doing barre workouts, rewatching television series, and reading new books. I joined HC as my first organization at college, and I can't imagine ending my academic career leading anywhere else!