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November 6th, 2017 by biscuit

I was talking to Star a little bit ago about… something. Something I wanted to bake? Possibly how I wanted to make apple cake during Rosh Hashanah but it seemed disingenuous, somehow? And she said, and I quote (loosely because it was at least a month ago and what do you want from me, a perfect memory or the willingness to check my gchat logs?):

Pinterest has made that irrelevant anyway.

*Quickquick, before you accuse Star of cultural appropriation, she is actually Jewish. Not Seinfeld’s dentist Jewish, either. And Mexican. She calls herself a JewJewBean and is obviously a hilarious person.*

But.

Is Pinterest just a secret bastion of cultural appropriation for Christian white girls? (Hellllo hyperbole.)

Look, I like Pinterest. I do. I’m not great at returning to my own pins, but I love the ease of marking something. I have boards called ‘want to wear’, ‘STEM fashion’, ‘mmmmmmm’, ‘purdy places’, ‘stuff and nonsense’, ‘BANGS BANGS BANGS’, and more, and I pin new things a few times a week at least.

But.

Like, think about the people with the colonial wedding. Or Paula Deen and her plantation wedding. Or Julianne Hough and her blackface Halloween costume.

When I started at my current job, I made hamantaschen around Purim and took them into the office. It was just sort of residual from years of celebrating all the holidays with M- and working at a Jewish owned bakery in Boulder (SO MUCH apple cake, honey cake, challah… ugh, I’m hungry now). Then I chatted with someone in the stairs who saw them and told me about the differences between the recipes his mom and his wife used, and I felt … inappropriate appropriation. In a whole different way than the colonial wedding people, because a) cookies are good and b) there’s no obvious indicators when looking at me that I was borrowing baked goods from the holiday of another culture, but that almost felt worse. I felt like I was misleading this very nice man, somehow, and I haven’t made anything more culturally significant than cupcakes for the office since.

But, Pinterest. The cookie thing was significant for me because I came face to face with someone whose personal history included these cookies. Pinterest is an echo chamber of white women. Mostly with at least some college, mostly of working age. My gut from being actually *on* Pinterest (and the overwhelming dedication to Christmas and Easter) says mostly of Christian backgrounds, although I’m not finding any research to confirm or deny.

So, if someone pins something from outside that world that’s a little iffy (say, a geisha halloween costume), who is going to point out the ways that might be problematic the way they would on Tumblr or Insta? Instead, people are going to pin it to their own boards. Everyone will think ‘other people are pinning it, it’s fine’.

I’ve talked myself into Star’s opinion. In the world of Pinterest, people don’t ask if things are ok – if they’re repinned, they are and can be transferred to the real life suburb in which they originated. If they’re not, they were probably lame anyway.

I didn’t make the apple cake around Rosh Hashanah, but if I make one now, is it just cake? I’ll ask … Reddit. Those white boys love to tell people when they’re doing something wrong.

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