Pinterest is a visual bookmarking tool that helps you discover and save creative ideas. Use Pinterest to make meals, plan travel, do home improvement projects and more.
I have a problem.
With a capital “P”.
For any of you who are not familiar with the platform, Pinterest is a social media site that’s tailor made for those of us who want a little less “social” with our media. It’s like having a huge virtual cork board where you can “pin”, well, whatever you want. You can create individual “boards” for a specific topic, and fill your boards with recipes you want to try/have tried, TV shows you enjoy, actors and actresses, or in my case: Art, horror memorabilia, more art, Batman, Scooby Doo, quotes and clever quips, and (surprise!) even some art thrown in.
Where does the social part come in? Well, you can follow other people’s boards, repin and “like” what they’ve pinned, and if you really want to, you can send private messages.
I really do like Pinterest, as my 24,000+ pins would suggest. In fact, the only three social media sites I use are Twitter, Pinterest and WordPress. And because my career is a creative one, I fuss over my Pinterest boards as if they were paintings.
But recently, I’ve been seeing a disturbing trend developing. Please allow me a few minutes to explain.
There are three ways you can “pin” something. Repin an existing pin from another user, upload a saved image, or pin from a website using the URL address of the picture you want.
I don’t follow a lot of people, so my timeline (showing me pins from people I follow, and pins that Pinterest recommends for me) doesn’t see a LOT of updating over the course of a day. Until very recently, I used to get an email once a day that listed all of the activity on MY pins. Who repinned/liked what, and to where, and who followed me that day. It was nice because it exposed me directly to other people’s boards that I might enjoy browsing. If someone pinned my photo of Christopher Lee to a board called “Classic Horror”, there was a great chance that board would have other pins that *I* would like to repin myself, and I could easily go browse it.
Pinterest has since revamped these notifications, eliminating any mention or link to the boards where my pins get repinned to (effectively making the email useless to me), and actually, the emails just stopped all on their own a few weeks ago.
So I’ve taken to browsing another way. When you pin from a website, Pinterest automatically shows you a selection of other images pinned from the same source. For example, I recently pinned the following image from Twitter:
Nice, right? This is how the page looks when you pin using this manner.
That’s just the first line of many, showing me random pins that other people have recently pinned from Twitter.
Oh, you noticed that blurred one, did you? Good. That was a man’s bare bum that I censored for this post. And so brings me to the perilous “P” of Pinterest.
You can find Pinterest’s “Acceptable Use Policy” on their help page. There’s a whole list of dos and don’ts, but we’re interested specifically in the nudity/pornography section. Now, they’re not completely cut and dry when it comes to nudity. Take a look:
For the most part, I’m fine with this. They show some examples of what’s deemed acceptable including an image of Michelangelo’s David (an image that I myself have pinned), a classical painting of a bare-topped woman, and a black and white photo of a breastfeeding baby. They also include the following image of a nude John Lennon and Yoko Ono, and while I don’t like it and don’t agree with their assessment that it isn’t “explicit”, this is still not where my complaint lies.
Every pin has a “report” button on it that gives you several options.
Over the last few months, I’ve been seeing more and more pornographic pins popping up in Pinterest searches. I’m not talking about nude images like John and Yoko. I’ve pinned some nude pin-up girl illustrations as well as classical nudes in art, so I’m not a hypocrite. But I draw a line between that and straight-up pornography and the fact that the latter is currently being shoved in my face without even going to look for it.
So I’ve been reporting pins. I don’t want to see some girl fingering herself, or one guy bent over on a bed being penetrated by another guy. I take offence to being shown a man and a woman on the ground with their naughty bits in full view, going to town on each other — ESPECIALLY when it was an image of a Scooby Doo comic that pulled it up in the first place.
But what’s truly disturbing is that the more pins I report? The more of the same type of pins Pinterest shows me! I don’t know what kind of algorithm the site uses to determine what pins they think I’d like to see, but clearly this is something they need to address. STAT. Because I have seen more penises and vaginas on Pinterest in the last month than all four of my grandparents saw in 80+ years of life. More vajayjays than a gynecologist. More boners than an army doctor. And honest to God, I’m fed up with it.
Can you imagine how many images get pinned from Twitter every day? And yet they choose to show me the ones that are pornography related, over and over again. Why are THESE my choices? Clearly my reporting so many has inadvertently acted like a filter for the program, and that’s the irony — the more I report what I don’t want to see, the more of it they seem to show me.
Going back to the pin I showed you earlier: “The world is changed by your example, not by your opinion.” Let me show you some of the other images it pulled up and put in front of me.
And I’m telling you, this is a near-daily experience now. Sometimes more than once in a day, even. And the ones I just showed you? Oh, those are MILD compared to some of the hardcore images Pinterest has shown me in the last week alone. Full-on intercourse, guys on guys, girls on girls, two girls/one guy, engorged genitals everywhere, and some things I can’t even describe here.
Sooo… in order to stop these pornographic images from popping up (no pun intended) as often, I have to what? Stop reporting them? Because basically that feels like the only option right now. And that is truly sad. Nor am I willing to do it.
Somewhere along the line, we went from an “opt-in” culture to an “opt-out” one. It used to be that you had to opt-IN to the explicit stuff. Now it’s become the default, and that’s just wrong. And I can’t even opt out of this! The more I say “No, I don’t want to see it”, the more they’re shoving it in my face. It’s absolutely disgraceful and it sickens me to no end that mankind’s mindset is rapidly shifting to make the perverts of this world seem “the norm”. They are NOT the norm. Never have been, but I fear soon will be.
Can I block all of these Pinterest users who are spreading their vile pornography? Sure. But not until AFTER I’ve seen the inappropriate image. And blocking just means that we can’t repin/like each other’s stuff, and we can’t send private messages or comment to each other. I can still see their pins, they can still see mine. Which means it does ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.
And please don’t forget — I’m not searching out these pins! They’re scattered in among images of puppies and kittens, pasta dishes and bread recipes, paintings and churches. Which means perhaps the most disturbing thing of all: They’re completely accessible to ANYONE, and there’s no real way to avoid them.
When I was 12, I would have LOVED Pinterest. When I was 12, I didn’t even know what the internet was. Today, I see 6-year-olds running around with cell phones. I can well imagine that there are TONS of young Pinterest users browsing around the site right now. Have we truly regressed so much that the thought of a child stumbling across these types of images is OKAY?
I am NOT a prude, but there IS a right, and there IS a wrong, and it’s NOT subjective. And it is high time that we stop letting perverts shove us around. If I want to look at porn, then I will go looking for it. If I’m not looking for it? Then for God’s sake, I don’t need someone else forcing it on me. If my child were innocently browsing Pinterest and came across some of the images I’ve seen? *shakes head* It’s NOT okay. It’s just not. Pinterest, you need to start cracking down on this crap. And please fix your algorithm so that it doesn’t assume the pins I’m reporting are what I want to see more of.
If someone wants to “enjoy” explicit imagery, then let THEM have to go and search it out. Don’t force it on the rest of us and put it on US to just “turn the other way” if we don’t like it. No, that’s not how it’s supposed to work. You opt-IN to perversion. You shouldn’t have to opt-out of it. Ever. The perverts are NOT the majority and they should not be catered to and tolerated, nay, even celebrated in some instances. These degenerates are a disease on society, twisting morals and warping minds, and I’m tired of being expected to just clam up about it. No more. If they think they’re entitled to flout Pinterest’s policies and pin all sorts of pornography whenever they feel like it because chances are no one will report them? Then *I* should be entitled to pin a recipe without having some stranger’s dick shoved in my face.
So I will continue to report every pornographic and inappropriate pin I come across, and I will NEVER stop fighting against this type of scourge. And I’m not alone. The comments made by other users on the above pin of John and Yoko alone echo my feelings. And I know plenty of other Pinterest friends who don’t appreciate having to scroll past nipples, vaginas, and graphic displays of oral sex either. There was a time when it was considered an embarrassment to be caught buying pornography. But today, it’s all free, with easy access for everyone, and those of us who reject it are the ones who are supposed to be ashamed. Ha, I don’t think so.
I’m not ashamed to speak out against it, nor am I embarrassed to DO something about it. One removed pin may seem a hollow victory in a much larger war, but you and I and our children deserve to live our lives WITHOUT the constant barrage of indecency.
Just how far have we regressed as a society when the promise of LESS access to pornography in a state is considered a THREAT and not considered progress? Is used as leverage against the government, and might actually be a deciding factor for them to repeal a law? Even those not in favour of the law would have to admit that that’s, well, a bit hard to swallow.