Stress Beneath the Surface: The Realities of Pinterest

STORY BY Candace Bryan

Published: May 20, 2013

Growing up, I remember thinking Martha Stewart was essentially a superhero. Everything she did was perfect, fancy, and creative, and she always seemed to do it with an inhuman level of serenity. Women looked to her for inspiration, and she was a beacon that many women followed and hoped one day to emulate.

However, in recent times Martha Stewart no longer seems so incredible, and this is largely because of Pinterest. Whereas in the past, moms and homemakers turned to books and television for their inspiration, the advent of social media has led to a shift. Now these women look for inspiration online. When hosting a party or cooking a brunch for friends, men and women can easily access recipes, DIY decoration ideas, and other kinds of inspiration. On the surface, it seems like this quick means for “Pinsperation” would help reduce the stress of hosting and being a super-star mom.

However, according to a recent survey at Today, Pinterest actually causes, not reduces, stress. 42 percent of U.S. mothers surveyed admitted to feeling “Pinterest stress.” The survey showed that  Pinterest stress happens when moms feel insecure after perusing the social media site, because they don’t feel crafty or creative enough.

I’m sorry, but “Pinterest stress” is a very depressing phenomenon. Social media sites like Pinterest (and Facebook and Twitter) don’t paint a fair picture of what people’s lives are actually like. If your friend posts something on Pinterest, it doesn’t mean they came up with ideas themselves, or that their party was even fun. In the same vein, just because you’re friend only posts flattering pictures on Facebook, it doesn’t mean their hair and makeup are always perfect and that they’re always impeccably dressed. And with Twitter, not all of their thoughts are witty or inspirational.

Seeing our friends’ lives through the lens of their own curation gives us unrealistic expectations of our own lives. We’re not always going to look picture-perfect. Our parties aren’t going to always be perfect and spill-free. We don’t live in a photo shoot, so we shouldn’t feel bad if our lives don’t look hand-crafted by a professional. Social media admittedly has its advantages, but when it starts affecting our real lives and our senses of self-worth, we should reconsider how important a role we let it play in our lives. 

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