Admit it. You’re single and have a secret Pinterest board full of rustic-twinkle light aesthetic that is exactly what you’d want for your dream wedding. Yeah, same. I love scrolling through recipes and beauty looks but, like many media outlets, Pinterest has makes the seeing the representation of people of color like, well, finding a black model on Pinterest. Nearly impossible.
I’m just gonna say it.
Pinterest has been a ‘hail to the size 4 boho white girl whose hair flows long and blonde with summer tanned skin.” In every category. On every mood board. At all times. That is a really tough thing for some people to hear and, the thing is, I’m ok with that. It should make you uncomfortable when you realize that your favorite app to scroll through doesn’t celebrate all people.
What keeps all of us on Pinterest is the fact that it is women celebrating each other.
(And all the organizational tips, right? #virgo4lyfe)
How many times have you shown your hair stylist screenshots of the perfect highlights you saw on Pinterest.
For many of us WOC, seeing how those highlights or that eye shadow color might look with our skin color took a carpal tunnel educing amount of time to find. If you did not explicitly type ‘hair style’ followed by ‘black woman, asian woman, woc,” chances are that you scrolled and scrolled and scrolled and still didn’t find someone with a complexion similar to your own.
I have literally typed in my foundation or concealer shade in order to find women who look like me.
Pinterest did an update this week that POC have been asking for for a long time now.
Look at these tweets as your receipts:
I’ve had this exact conversation with my own sister. We were trying to find some Puerto Rican recipes for the holidays that weren’t created by someone went to La Isla Del Encanto and pinned their watered down version of sancocho.
Search by skin color
After you have entered your search, Pinterest has had a row of suggestions to help narrow your search. Now, por fin, finally, the new feature lets you add a skin color. They have added 4 color wheels to choose from. Pick the color wheel that most closely represents the skin color you are looking for. Here I searched ‘glowy makeup.” As you can see, the default result images are of lighter skinned women.
The row of suggestions still includes the option to add, for example, “Dark Skin,” and “Black Girl” to your search like it did before.
Pinterest is an homage to white girls with blonde hair.
Just look at this search of pretty hairstyle from this morning. Pretty hair according to Pinterest is naturally straighter and on a white woman.
But hopefully this new feature will help up us who don’t fit that mold get some inspo too.
This new feature isn’t all the way there yet. Not all searches include the option to add a skin tone to it. I looked up ‘purple smokey eye’ and the color wheels did not pop up. Instead it was the original way you had to search: waiting for the exclusionary results to then add who you are really looking for.
Why does all of this even matter?
Pinterests search results reinforced our societal flaw that we understand beauty as being in one form. It emphasized that ‘white, thin; blonde’ is the default for beauty. You could argue that that hasn’t changed because you still need to add a skin color instead of there being a natural mix of different women in the search results. I agree. White woman is still the Pinterest default setting. However, adding the 4 color wheels is a step in the right direction.
As a beauty editor, I try to be conscious of the beauty shots I choose to share. Pinterest is one of my most frequented sights when it comes to searching for a specific beauty look. Especially when I draft B. Scopes; meetpepperb.com’s beauty horoscopes. I spend a lot of time trying to find WOC: east and south asian, black, latina. All of us. Women and men with all skin tones but I do my best to focus on medium to darker skin tones. Even after I have chosen “The Look” for the horoscope, If I’m not finding models of different skin colors, I abandon that look and find something new. Even if I REALLY wanted to use that look.
I do this because it would be so very easy to just pick 10 pictures of pretty light skinned women.
Easy because we have been conditioned to recognize beauty through a eurocentric gaze. I refuse to be a partner in encouraging that one standard of beauty. I don’t always get it right. I’ve checked my work and I want more diversity.
I think this is a major improvement to Pinterest but I do hope to eventually see a more a organically diverse search result.