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The Pinterest Gender Gap: Why Women Love It and Men Have Never Heard of It

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Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

You know Frank—he's been writing about menswear, sales, television, new shops, the recession, Lisa Loeb, the Golden Girls and getting blasted for Racked for over two years. Well, we think it's time you got to know him and his quirky-irreverent views on life and fashion even better with his column: Love, Frank. Taking the form of an open letter and always signed with love, Frank will rant about whatever style-related conundrum he encounters in a given week. So buckle your two-toned leather Moschino belts, folks, it's going to be ? Something.

From an interesting post on AGBeat discussing the technical and logistical reasons men avoid Pinterest (or, why Pinterest avoids men).

Dear Pinterest Users,

Late last year I shared a fantastic dinner with a very good friend and his mother. One of the main topics of conversation was Pinterest. His mom? She loves it. She's a heavy user. And she pulled up her account on her iPhone to show us some of the bits and bobs she'd recently pinned: A recipe for a pudding-and-canned-pineapple cake; decorative repurposing of wine bottles; several DIY Christmas decoration ideas; you get the gist.

I was impressed—here was a grandmother effortlessly pulling up saved cleaning tips on a brand new smart phone. Meanwhile, all I knew about Pinterest was it's one of the little buttons I avoided at the bottom of every website. But, to be fair—I don't even remember how to log-in to Twitter and I gave up on Facebook like seven redesigns ago (I like Instagram, though!)

But since that dinner, Pinterest has come up several times—as links in people's status messages; in conversation; as various brands and publications have begun using and pushing their use of the service more and more. And, I think I get it now: Pinterest is like a virtual mood board without the straight pins. Or like a virtual refrigerator covered in photos and notes and invitations without the magnets. It allows a user to "pin" images, articles, and videos in a variety of themed galleries (or "pinboards") they've created. Their friends, real or otherwise, can follow the galleries, or everything that user does, or simply pin something said user already pinned to a pinboard of their own.

It's Tumblr without all that pesky verbiage; it's Twitter but with a shred of actual usefulness.

And, I have to admit: My very limited forays into the maze that is Pintertest—just clicking around—have been incredibly useful. I've mentally noted great tips on how to paint your walls with a little less mess. I've been impressed by one women's discovery that cotton tubing from a beauty supply shop and everyday bleach can free your bathtub from the shackles of mildew without the inconvenience of re-caulking. I've learned that there are other ways to keep sliced apples from browning (cold salt water will do what lemon juice does without making your apples taste like a lemon)—even if the accompanying recipe for a peanut butter-Fluff dip intended for, like, real guests and not seven year olds, sounded absolutely heinous.

But here's the thing: Even if men get psyched on tips like this (my guess is most don't); they not going to want to share these with the world on a public pinboard. They're going to bookmark it or mentally note it or sort of grunt approval before forgetting all about it (I can vouch for this). Then, if it ever occurs to them to reference said tip, they'll just Google it because they've definitely forgotten they've bookmarked it.

Why? For one, all that tagging and pinning and noting are just extra steps and men can't be bothered. And, more importantly, no man wants the general public to know party-hosting and house-cleaning tips are things he is thinking about. Ever.

Meanwhile, many women love sharing this kind of stuff—and garnering approval for sharing successful tips with their friends, other women. Women trade recipes and make-up tips and DIY project notes with their buddies. Men watch TV together. Women are the reason the scrapbooking industry exists and why vast swaths of every craft and art supply store in the country feature tiny paper ballet slippers and weird scissors that can give your photos and clippings fun, frilly edging. Men watch TV together.

But, Pinterest is for everyone, you say!

Yeah, take a gander at the site's "What is Pinterest?" tab. Sample galleries include: Wedding planning, recipes for sweet treats (not, like, grilled steaks), and home redecorating. A fourth is about finding one's style—and includes menswear. But let's be real, if more than a handful of the style-based pinboards on Pinterest are created by a man I'll eat my hand. It's like Polyvore all over again—there are like seven men on Polyvore.

But, you continue, even Esquire—a venerable men's publication—created a pinboard last month featuring 30 days worth of holiday style tips.

Okay, fair enough. But, a lot of women work at man-mags. And, look closer, a huge chunk of the Pinterest users commenting on the board and the individual pins are women; including several ladies aghast at prices of featured items and another who finds the notion of a man wearing scarf hilarious. I don't care for her.

All that said: Any user of the internet could use a virtual spot for keeping all the various tips and trends and things-to-buy he or she sees all day every day. If for no other reason than, hey—not collecting this stuff somewhere means re-Googling or re-navigating some mess of an e-commerce site all over again. And again. And again.

One site, Evernote, has been around for quite some time. It's a bit like Flickr but you can upload documents and video as well; and each upload allows for notations or the inclusion of original links. A new service, Clipix, sort of does the same thing—and has a video on offer at YouTube that makes them seem utterly indispensible. Clipix is actually a lot like Pinterest—but touts a user's ability to keep those recipes and tips private. That said, you can share Clipix galleries with individual users or all users—your call. Best of all, Clipix has a price drop alert—a feature that lets you know when an item you'd pinned gets marked down.

That's amazing. That's worth remembering another new password.


· Love, Frank [Racked]