Pinterest And Feminism
And, no surprise, the tech community, which is still a boys club, has been terrible at writing about how people, especially women, use Pinterest. The site has been used as an excuse to make fun of women, stereotype women as shoppers, dismiss the site as overly gendered and anger some of the feminist blogosphere.
When visiting the site, one quickly notices the refreshing “lack of misogynist content.” Amanda Marcotte states that “the pink and girly exterior of Pinterest works as a jerk force field, keeping the most piggish men away.” Women are using the site and enjoying it and spending lots of time there and that is a good thing.
And even more perspicative:
Take Wikipedia: 87% of its contributors are male; a bigger discrepancy than Pinterest by any count. However, when discussing Wikipedia, it certainly is not the norm to go on and on about how male the site is. Instead, it is far more common for the site to be praised for its “neutral point of view.” Usually-male tech writers describing the male Wikipedia have convinced themselves that the site is neutral and thus useful to all of humanity. Pinterest, on the other hand, is implicitly, and sometimes explicitly, dismissed as merely female.
That says a lot. Wikipedia's "culture" is basically misogynistic, as well as delusional (the "neutral point of view" business, which anyone here knows is a load of crap).
Wikipedia is a "jerk" culture, and Pinterest is the opposite. Wikipedia is based on "facts", whatever those are, while Pinterest is meant to be a flexible and open-ended database.
Compare them purely by appearance: Pinterest is very simple, clean, minimal, and functional.
Wikipedia is crammed with useful/useless trivia, argumentation, rules, "policies", and craziness.
27 million pages full of tiny barely-readable text, organized in an utterly arcane manner.
What kind of jerk does Wikipedia cater to? I like to think of the "Wikipedian" as being like, well,
Stephen Wolfram. Incredibly smart, mildly autistic, antisocial, and having little use for women.
Read this. Wolfram plots and analyzes his typing, email sending, other computer work, and phone calling
patterns since the 1980s.
Note the phone plots: the guy starts most of his phone calls exactly at half-hour intervals. Cuckoo! Cuckoo!
That helps to explain Wolfram, a guy that I always found to be an annoying (if brilliant) bastard.
If he were younger, I suspect he would be a Wikipedia administrator and bureaucrat.
(I bet he hates/doesn't understand Pinterest, because it's not "deterministic" enough to be "useful".)
There you are: high-level social analysis of the Wiki-phenomenon.