PROBLEMS WITH SEARCHING FOR HAIRSTYLES ON PINTEREST

Dear Pinterest,

Pinterest always seemed like an app for creative people or people who were into DIYs. When I first joined Pinterest, I noticed it was also an app for people who were into fashion, makeup, and my favorite topic, hair. With Pinterest at my fingertips, I thought finding new hair color, hairstyle and haircut inspirations would be easier. Surprisingly, it’s not.

As a black woman of color––I’m black and Japanese––my life has lacked representation for me and my hair. I had a rough time looking for women who had my kind of hair on YouTube back in 2008. I didn’t think I’d still have that problem on Pinterest in 2018.

“So, what’s the actual problem with Pinterest?,” you might ask. The problem is that every time I search for a hairstyle or hair color, every picture is of a white woman. Not saying anything is wrong with white women and their hairstyles (a lot of them are cute), but it just sucks that when I search for “balayage” I can’t find a girl that looks like me or has my kind of hair. And since I can’t find a girl that looks like me, I can’t tell if I could pull off a certain hair color with my skin tone or how a certain haircut might look with my hair thickness and texture.

The only way I can find women of color or black women is to literally type “WOC” or “black girl” before or after the hair color, hairstyle or haircut I’m searching for. And even then, white women still pop up. Isn’t that odd? I’ve never had to type in “white girl” into a search bar to find pictures of white girls on any platform. They just show up.

I’ve noticed more photos of black women and women of color have been added to Pinterest, which is exciting to me. I need representation and I know a lot of other women and girls need it too. It may be a small problem, but it’s pretty annoying and kind of sad that Pinterest can be seen as a “white girl’s” app. Someone really told me that they felt like Pinterest was made by and for white people, and this is probably one of the reasons why.

Pinterest is great for getting inspiration for birthday gifts, workouts and DIY candy-flavored jello shots, but when it comes to hair, women in minority groups are hidden. I still love Pinterest and have found beautiful, useful and inspirational photos on it, but I’d love the app even more if black women of color like me could be in the spotlight every now and then too. 

Thank you for your time,

A “WOC” or “black girl”

 

Photo by: Brianna Esparza-Magnone