05/03/2012 11:53 am ET

Pinterest's Gender Trouble

It's one of the biggest online success stories of the decade, attracting a staggering 10 million monthly uniques faster than any site in history. But what makes the rise of the image-sharing Pinterest surprising isn't its stampeding growth, or its sudden ubiquity on your friends' Facebook walls. It's the fact that it's a raging success story with an unmistakably female bent.

Even a cursory glance at Pinterest makes it easy to see why so many of its critics have been dismissive about it - specifically about its girlishness. In Salon earlier this year, Jude Stewart called the site "basically online scrapbooking." Slate's Farhad Manjoo summed it up in a feature called "Cupcakes, Boots, and Shirtless Jake Gyllenhaal," wherein he admitted, "I just don’t get it." And when I first looked at Pinterest, my initial impression was "social networking for cat ladies."

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