When I was in Grade 2, I started at a new elementary school. Unlike my previous school, where teenagers tried to burn down the playground while we were playing on it, this school was fire-free, and covered in inspirational posters. Many of these posters, aimed at children, can now be found on Pinterest posing as wisdom for adults.
On the door the the classroom where I sat in Grade 2 and Grade 4, a well-meaning teacher had hanged the customary “You are Special” poster. Above the quotation floated a shiny field of yellow tulips, with one pink tulip rising above them all. You are the pink flower, the poster said. You are unique.
Even at the tender age of 7, this made no sense to me. What if you were one of the yellow flowers? Wouldn’t it make more sense to show a field of flowers of all different colours?
I know what you’re thinking: cool story, sis. What does this have to do with Pinterest?
Pinterest is overflowing with “you are special” mantras, with a new, modern, disheartening spin (be a Wal-Mart in a world full of K-Marts! Be a mason jar in a world full of, um, regular jars!). Exhibit A:
What if I’m a cheerio?