Even if you’re not a Pinterest power user, only navigating to the site occasionally on Sunday nights when you feel like you’ve read the entire Internet, you’ve undoubtedly noticed. Pictures of gaudy, elaborate nail art, 18th century European castles and Olivia Palermo (Pinterest’s official spirit animal) are interspersed with inspirational quotes Photoshopped by tween designos. Quotes once uttered by intelligent and creative people like Albert Einstein and William Shakespeare are being adopted by the People of Braided Updos and Asparagus Dip, stay-at-home bloggers and young married girls bred in red states.
This is what the New York Times is calling “The Gospel According to Pinterest,” in reference to the way this fortune cookie wisdom spreads across the social network.
According to the Times, Pinterest’s newly-minted “Quotes” category now accounts for 10 percent of traffic. A quick perusal of the Quotes category shows religious fanaticism and misattributed Mark Twain quotes mixed with cursive-drawn ones uttered by Taylor Swift. They are “inspirational,” if you are inspired by tropes about women existing solely to make their husbands happy.
Still, many of the quotes help women live up to the impossible standards the hipster homemaker trend has set for them. “It’s one thing for a family member to tell you to get yourself together,” one woman told the Times. “It’s quite another when a person you follow on Pinterest presents some sound advice with a great typeface on a pretty background.”
Hear that, millennial parents? If you want your kid to get a job, just email them a misattributed quote about working hard superimposed on a picture of the sky and they’ll be out of your house in no time.
Disclosure: This reporter totally has a Pinterest account with a “Words” section but it’s like, for poetry and shit, okay?