When I browse Pinterest, I feel guilty about the lack of high-quality, glamorous images of racially diverse women. Am I the only one?
In case this spiel on the whitest of white guilt hasn’t given it away, I am a white person. I’ve been lucky enough to grow up in a relatively diverse area. I’ve traveled to places that are less ethnically diverse. That aspect of those places depressed me in a way that realizing a friend hasn’t read my favorite book would: the people who live there don’t know what they’re missing.
That’s kind of how I feel about Pinterest.
Should I really be surprised that a platform populated by religious (mostly Mormon) housewives lacks a more accurate representation of society as a whole? In some parts of the country, a sea of whiteness is a reflection of that society.
But this is the internet, and the internet is nothing if not diverse.
My guilt isn’t about Pinterest’s neglect of women of color in general, it’s about my role in this neglect. Pinterest is a reflection of how I see the world and where I gather inspiration. It’s where I go to aspire and apply trends. For me, Pinterest replaces the need to buy fashion magazines; I can be my own Anna Wintour.
However, I browse through my own whitely populated boards and sadly realize that I’ve ignored a major part of the population. Most of my pins are from fashion editorials. Lamenting the shortage of fashion editorials featuring non-white models is not a new sport, but I think I just made varsity.
Realizing my myopia, I made a decision to seek out glamorous images of women from different racial and ethnic backgrounds. At first I was worried that promoting diversity on Pinterest when I, myself, am white makes me guilty of tokenism. But if I think the images are beautiful, who cares whether or not the women look like me? Alex Wek is my new favorite makeup muse, leading me to conclude that the same eyeshadows and lipsticks that look great on someone with very dark skin work equally well on very pale skin, but I digress.
Pinterest is a place where people can create their own icons. That is why it needs more pictures of fashionable and fabulous women like Bianca Jagger, Eartha Kitt, Lupita Nyong’o, and Fei Fei Sun. We all can gather inspiration from these women and plenty of other POC. Besides, Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn are getting painfully boring.