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Opinion | Sexuality

Why Women Are Obsessed with Pinterest

The spirituality of the booming online "self-expression engine."

"Men are more visual than women." It's a refrain we've all heard to explain the differences between men's and women's sexuality. If you want proof of the contrary, look no further than Pinterest.

What is Pinterest? TechCrunch describes it as a "self-expression engine" along the lines of Twitter and Facebook. Users can create virtual "mood boards" or "vision boards" on which they can collect images. Users can create separate boards for any kind of interest—fashion, art, books, decor, crafts, recipes, workout ideas, inspirational quotes—and "pin" to those boards images that reflect their style and tastes. Users can share these curated collections with friends or inspired strangers. The community is a large part of the draw—users can browse and search the entire network, which now includes over 1.5 million actives users (the majority of whom are women).

I am one of them. I first heard of the site a few months ago. A friend insisted I had to join and rapturously boasted she'd "wasted so many hours" poring over pages of pins (she assured me this was a good thing, and after a few minutes on the site I would realize she was right on both counts). I now have six different boards to which I regularly post. They're mostly of clothes I can't afford but like to look at, and a few home decor ideas I'll never try but would like to think I could. As of right now, I follow 65 people: mostly friends, but a few I don't know but have decided have excellent (read: similar) taste. ...

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