Pinning the Feminine User: Gender Scripts in Pinterest's Sign-Up Interface

Media, Culture and Society, Forthcoming

31 Pages Posted: 6 May 2015 Last revised: 5 Sep 2015

Amanda Friz

University of Wisconsin - Madison - Department of Communication Arts

Robert W. Gehl

University of Utah - Department of Communication

Date Written: May 5, 2015

Abstract

Popular social media site Pinterest is known for its strong female user base, something often attributed to the links, images, and ideas available on it. We argue that Pinterest’s popularity with women can also be attributed to a kind of gendering that occurs during the sign-up process. We see the sign-up process as a “gender script” that inscribes specific gender performances into interest itself by “prescribing” adherence to a dualistic conception of gender and encouraging users to cooperate rather than to compete with each other, to curate content rather than to create content, and to interact affectively with images rather than with text. These behaviors have connections in the broader public imaginary to traditional performances of femininity, thus the kind of introduction and instruction the new user receives when signing up encourage a perception that Pinterest is for women, a perception that is then materialized in user behaviors. We close by arguing for the sign-up interface as an important site of study in new media scholarship and by discussing the ways in which gender scripts might be resisted.

Keywords: Pinterest, gender scripts, sign-up interface, social media

Suggested Citation

Friz, Amanda and Gehl, Robert W., Pinning the Feminine User: Gender Scripts in Pinterest's Sign-Up Interface (May 5, 2015). Media, Culture and Society, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2602954

Amanda Friz

University of Wisconsin - Madison - Department of Communication Arts ( email )

United States

Robert W. Gehl (Contact Author)

University of Utah - Department of Communication ( email )

United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.robertwgehl.org

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