What do you want from us, Pinterest? On one board you want us to be skinny workout fiends and on the next you want us to be Martha Stewart/Paula Deen (pre-diabetes) hybrids that are able to whip up magical food creations that will make everyone fall to the ground and grovel in our presence. So are we supposed to follow through with our “Good Food to Try!” board and gain a bunch of weight from cookie dough filled treats, or are we supposed to follow every workout and weight loss tip on our “Getting fit, tomorrow!” board? Make up your mind, this is confusing.
I have a Pinterest account, and I have fallen prey to the cliché of re-pinning tempting recipes and workout tips that seem too easy to not do; however, my main motive for joining Pinterest was and always will be because there are tons of smokin’ hot pictures of Ryan Gosling. Am I right, ladies? My older sisters also have Pinterest accounts but they usually just pin stuff like pictures of Billy Idol or how to make yarn out of old Duran Duran concert T-shirts. After belonging to the Pinterest community for a year or so, I’m beginning to think we have been doing it wrong all along.
The protocol on Pinterest seems to be that you have one board where you pin all of these delicious, creative, easy recipes you never would have thought of and are dying to try. Most of these recipes include some type of food covered in cake batter, or foods that are cake batter flavored, for example: cake batter popcorn, cake batter cookies, cake batter shaped like broccoli, cake batter microdermabrasion treatments, kegs filled with cake batter, and even cake batter enemas. How are we supposed to maintain a healthy lifestyle with all of these temping cake batter recipes? They seem too good to ignore but where do we draw the line?
Another popular recipe on Pinterest is plain ol’ cupcakes filled with all types of weird s**t. There are recipes for chocolate cupcakes with a strawberry cupcake inside, vanilla cupcakes with chocolate chip cookie dough shaped like cake batter in the middle, “mommy’s special cupcakes” (Funfetti cupcakes with a Xanax center), and Devil’s Food cupcakes with teeny tiny miniature horses baked right into the middle that you can give out as party favors at your child’s birthday party. These recipes sound hard but with a photo tutorial, they are explained in easy to follow steps that help us all get a little closer to Martha Stewart status. While all of these foods sound amazing, it would be hard to try all of the 700 pins on your “Food to Try!” board and not turn into Paula Deen (post-diabetes, but before the weight loss).
Conversely, those with 700 pins on their “Just call me Betty Crocker!” board also most likely have an additional “Work it, girl!” board containing numerous unrealistic workout tips, tricks, and promises, all with pictures of humans with Barbie like proportions that while aimed to motivate probably only induce self-loathing. Most of these pins redirect you to a link explaining an “easy and safe cleanse” that goes on to describe an incredibly unhealthy diet of black coffee, apples, and did I mention the cake batter enema?
I can’t blame those that pin these said pins. They all have entirely promising titles that can justify all of the high calorie recipes you are going to make later such as “4 moves to say goodbye to saddle bags!” (Wait, what are saddle bags? Great, another thing I have to worry about having. “Saddle bags” actually sounds fairly functional. If I had them maybe I wouldn’t have to ride this burro all over the place. I’ll pin this one, but read later), “Tone your arms in 7 days, you unworthy school marm!”, “6 moves for slimmer hips and thighs, because God forbid you look like you’d be good at poppin’ out kids, gross!”, “Shrink your fat! Real workout tips from Rick Moranis and the new inventions you need to succeed (Not FDA approved or tested)”, “Easy 10 minute chair workouts you can do at work when you’re taking a break from the pole”, and “The Jessica Simpson workout” (this one hasn’t actually ever been re-pinned).
So what are we supposed to do in a psychologically conflicting Pinterest world when we are trying to figure out how to be healthier? One option is taking the recipes and exercise tips at face value and realizing that you are better off just looking at all of the pictures of Ryan Gosling. Another is to use common sense when figuring out if making cookie dough filled red velvet cake is really worth your time and calories. Using common sense is also vital when decoding the fitness tips to decide if they are prescribing a healthy way to work out or are offering unhealthy eating-disorder-inducing suggestions.
Pinterest, make up your mind. Do you want us to eat and eat until we have our own reality show on TLC or do you want us to get fit by subjecting ourselves to humiliating, unrealistic workouts to the extent that our fat just changes its hair color and runs away to hide out in a different state? I think we need to get real about Pinterest, and filter through the good and the bad so we don’t perpetuate the unhealthy and annoying ideas it provides. Perhaps ask yourself, WWRGD? He would probably say something like “Girl, don’t let the societal influence of Pinterest dictate how you live or make you feel conflicted. P.S. Those child-bearing hips are your best feature.”
Bridget is a small town girl working her way through grad school in the big city. She likes to sit down and write jokes and occasionally stand up and tell them. She is a recently converted fitness fan who no longer feels like the awkward, out of place dude in The Black Eyed Peas when she is at the gym. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org