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The Pinterest Gap: Is Pinning Only for Women?

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As a mother to an 8-month-old, you would think the main reason I am not getting enough sleep would be the new baby in our home. But really I stay up late into the night while my husband and daughter sleep because, with iPhone tightly in the palm, I am pinning the night away.

In the wee hours of the night, as my cat snores loudly at my feet, I decorate the dream house that I so badly want down to the last corridor carpet. I collect images of the places in the world I visited and loved, along with pins of cities I cannot wait to see. I articulate my sense of personal style with images. I have gathered the recipes of foods I love to make and foods I will learn to make. I define my core feminist beliefs through pinning.

Oh, and I have planned pretty much every one of my daughter's birthday parties, every year until she is about 16 years old.

As "girly" and "silly" as this may seem, the number of women using this social networking site in droves is serious business. But do the statistics on women collecting and sharing pictures mean that Pinterest is just for females? Salon's Mary Elizabeth Williams describes Pinterest's gender problem, saying that the gender gap exists even online:

This intensifying social media gender gap reveals a great deal both about how social media works and how conservative ideas about gender find themselves reproduced online... I remember years ago people saying, 'Online communication is going to be gender neutral. This is great!' But the same patterns show up everywhere.

The article, "Pinterests' Gender Trouble," goes onto state that "pinning" has become such a female activity that many sites are popping up offering "manlier" versions of the social media site, such as

Seriously guys? Are men that insecure and immature that even pinning has to somehow feel "manly" in order for you to do it?

While this may be a reality for men, it was an article about another emotion Pinterest is known to stir up that caught my attention. The post describes how Pinterest is making women depressed and stressed over everything they don't have -- the home, the marriage, the size 2 wedding dress, and 10 carat engagement ring.

This silly approach ruins the point of pinning. For me it is a place to organize your dreams in addition to just organizing your daily life, from what to feed your family for dinner to landscaping your yard. It makes me more focused on my goals. I actually find it a great way to de-stress. Pinterest increases my drive and makes me more ambitious to a degree. A visual collection of to-do lists? What is not to love?

Maybe women do like to organize more. It's a critical skill which let's us taste what it is like to have it all and keep tabs on everything. But at the end of day is OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) considered feminine? Isn't everybody just a little obsessive?

This is precisely why I think Pinterest is not just a "women only" site, and the people at Pinterest agree, stating that while "People who initially discovered Pinterest were largely women... The act of collecting is a universal behavior."

I think that even though women may have driven over in droves from the start, Pinterest is for everybody. The point is to share, people! That is actually one of my favorite things about the site: sharing with people you know -- and people you don't. Actually, the latter usually have some of the best pins.

As we learn, explore and remember through pictures, let us keep the Internet gender neutral for as long as we can. After all, great ideas know no gender barriers.

PS: If you are as addicted, follow me on Pinterest!