Most Pinterest users have one thing in common

That one thing is -- you guessed it -- their gender.  80 percent of Pinterest users are women.  Image by John Muyskens
That one thing is -- you guessed it -- their gender. 80 percent of Pinterest users are women. Image by John Muyskens

Pinterest, a popular social media site, finds its popularity pulled towards only certain kinds of users — women. What deters most men from using the site?Pinterest describes itself as “a content sharing service that allows members to “pin” images, videos and other objects to their pinboard.” It might not sound particularly groundbreaking or exciting; however, the response proves otherwise. Roughly two years after its launch, the site boasts 10.4 million users according to David Wallace’s article “Pinterestingly Enough: Interesting Pinterest Stats.”

However, these impressive numbers are very much slanted toward one particular demographic: women. Of the 10.4 million Pinterest users, 80 percent are women and 20 percent are men. And that statistic doesn’t seem all that different in the Calvin community. “I joined the site because of all the do-it-yourself content,” said Annette Brouwer, a senior. And many other American users would agree with that reason. Wallace’s article states that the top five Pinterest interests in the United States are crafts, gift ideas, hobbies and leisure, interior design and fashion collections. These are not the top interests that could potentially entice male users.

Many male students responded to questions about Pinterest with strange looks or stated “I don’t know anything about that” when asked about Pinterest. However, one male student, Richard Martin, seemed to know a little more than the others. “I think Pinterest is …” he covers his mouth with his hand momentarily before continuing, “dumb,” said Martin, a junior. “People go on the site and just look at the do-it-yourself stuff, and they don’t even end up doing it. It’s a mass procrastination mechanism.” Elizabeth Doerop, a junior, agrees with Martin to some extent, “I go on the site because it gives me something mindless to do when I am bored.” Pinterest gives Calvin female students a way to procrastinate by looking at things they enjoy.

But would changing the top interests help bring in more male users? When asked that question, Martin looked unconvinced.Pinterest is usually filled with images of things you could or should do. “Ultimately, I don’t think men respond well to that. They like to do things on their own.” Martin said. Brouwer would argue that it is maybe it is the occasion for all the do-it-yourself content, “There are so many wedding things on there. No wonder men want to run away from it.”

Pinterest is essentially geared toward women now. And it is hard to rip that demographic audience in mind when even thinking about the site.The font the site uses on its name and logo reveals a lot about the site. Brower mentioned that the word ‘Pinterest’ and its logo on the site use pretty, swirly letters, which look feminine. Also, Doerop said that the simple one page scroll down, rather than the clicking to the next page appeals to her.

However, Brower does critique certain formats of the site, “The pinboards and system of organization annoy me. They could do better, but I don’t know particularly how at the moment.”

Emily Diener, a fifth-year senior would agree. She said that she had joined the site because she wanted a way to organize all of her projects. But she soon gave up when she found that the site was a bit too complicated to use.

Even with these slight critiques, the site has become a woman’s domain. And it looks like it will be hard to change its domain to be more inclusive toward men. With 80 percent of users being women, this will only fill the site with content that interests them, making it a site geared to women.

And the lackluster response from male Calvin students suggests that it will be difficult to talk about Pinterest, let alone join the site any time soon.

But maybe it isn’t a hopeless cause. “I might join if I become a stay-at-home dad. They have some recipes on there,” Martin says with a smile.

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