In which I am planning on taking over Pinterest with wise women

Now you know I love my Pinterest with a deep and undying love.  (Even though I truly have to wonder if it is in the process of jumping the shark when people have boards entitled “My Favourite Chain Stores.” Darling, that’s not the point….) I love to browse around and see what inspires people, what catches their eye, art being created in every walk of life. 

But I noticed a trend on there that disturbs me a bit. Some people call them Fitness Boards or Thinspiration (code from pro-anorexic groups) but it seems that there are a lot of people posting pictures or sayings designed to shame themselves into a better body. Pictures of strong women running are great, don’t get me wrong, but when it’s captioned “I”m such a fat slug – I’ll never look like this,” we’ve crossed the line of what is helpful and challenging.

And I see pictures of beautiful, thin women all over Pinterest, posted by other women simply longing to look like them in some way, wanting to copy their hair, their fashion, their face, their count-my-ribs-thinness.

So let’s do something different, shall we?

Lines are lovely and life is in the eyes.

I started a Pinterest board this week called Wise Women and I’m pinning quotes of women that inspire me, pictures of women that look beautiful even though our culture may not agree, art or sayings that women have created. 

Women like Maya Angelou, Luci Shaw, Eleanor Roosevelt, pictures of women I don’t know but their faces caught me, Mary Oliver and on.

Phenomenal woman

I’d like to celebrate a broader view of womanhood for us that think lines are lovely, that aging is not something to fear, that life is more than your dress size, that womanhood has hard-fought wisdom to offer us all.

I’m barely getting started there so that’s where you come in. Would you like to help?

If there is a wise woman that you want on that board, leave a comment telling me about her. Send me to where I can find your favourite picture of her and include a favourite quote or short note about why she’s there (about caption length is preferred). I may not be able to add all of them but I’ll do my best to stay on it this weekend and let’s see where we end up by Monday, shall we?

Instead of judging and railing against others, moaning and complaining, let’s just tell a better story about womanhood, even on Pinterest, shall we?

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  • HisSkinnedKnees

    I love this! Thank you for posting it. That is disturbing and I’ll be following your board!

  • Gretchen

    I love this idea!  Mother Teresa needs to be on there for sure!  Have you ever seen pictures of her hands and feet?  They’re so amazingly wrinkled and you can tell that she was on her feet for most of her life, but I think that’s what love in action looks like.

    • Sarah Bessey

      Got her on there! Thanks!

  • Chibi Jeebs

    LOVE what you’re trying to do! Just followed your board! :)

    My attempt to both battle the thinspo stuff and inspire myself is my “Self-Acceptance” board:

    As well, my “Beautiful People” board is all kinds and shapes and ages and cultures of people.

    • Sarah Bessey

      Great plan! I like both of those ones.

  • Mizmelly

    What about Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes? She wrote Women who Run WIth the WOlves and is a seminal work on the female psyche and how archetypes and stories can lead us to empowerment. Also Rita Nakashima Brock the Christian Feminist who wrote Saving Paradise – a fascinating work challenging atonement theory and discovering that in early Christian artwork there is no image of the dead Christ until 954 AD! Or Margaret Atwood – terrific wise and clever writer and CANADIAN!!! :) Or Elaine Storkey. Or Christine Sine. Or… I’ll think of a few more! LOVE THIS!!!

    • Sarah Bessey

      You are on a roll! Just got Margaret Atwood up there (love her!). Will work on the others, too.

      • Mizmelly

        Hope it’s ok but I have totally copied you and stuck a few Irish women who are inspirational to me up on mine if you’d like to repin them!

        • Sarah Bessey

          No, I think that’s an even better idea! If we each had our own board of who inspires us that would be even better. Good thinking, Melly!

  • Sallieleifeste

    I had the rare privilege to spend time with Maggie Barankitse, known as the “Mother Teresa” of Africa. She spent TIME with me, showed me all of her work, and talked incessantly about love and how hate can never triumph over love. She gave me a lovely bed to sleep in, served me tea and laughed often. Her story is incredible. She has never married, but dedicated her life to serve God by serving her people. She has cared for over 10,000 orphans, saving the lives of many of them. I hope you have time to read her story.

    • Sarah Bessey

      Wow – that is amazing, Sallie! I added her to the board just now along with your quote. Thank you!

  • Janet Oberholtzer

    Love your idea! 
    I’ve not been on Pinterest yet (didn’t need another internet  time-suck) but now you make me want to … to see your board : )

    • Sarah Bessey

      It’s the best kind of time-suck – pretty things!

  • Candace

    love, love, love this!! i also have been disturbed by some of the images but had not thought about how to counteract that! i love your idea and am going to go pin some of your beautiful faces. :) 

    • Sarah Bessey

      Great! What is your board link? I’ll start to follow it.

      • Candace

        Mine is called True Beauty under Candace Crabtree. :) I’m following lots of your boards too!! (of course, I’m just mostly repinning yours at this point! but oh well! ha!)

  • Abbie Kampman

    LOVE this!  I’m game.

    • Sarah Bessey


  • Kassie Rew

    This is such a great idea! When we see comments about girls thinking their fat – it gets to us all, I think! I know it makes me feel bad about myself because it simply puts the thought in my mind! 

    • Sarah Bessey

      Yes, it’s unhelpful for all of us, isn’t it?

  • Sheila Whittenberg

    Great idea! I’m not techie enough to start Pinterest, but post a link to the final product and I’ll definitely look at it.

  • Erin Adams

    Okay Sara!  I’ll start a board, too.  Love it!

  • Bree

    I love this idea, Sarah. I want to join you in celebrating wise women! One group of women who inspire and humble me are those who pour themselves out untiringly as caretakers of their disabled children. The personal sacrifice and quiet strength of  mamas who take on the role of parent, nurse,therapist, advocate, chauffer, etc, etc, etc…these are real women. 

    • Sarah Bessey


  • Leah Cadieux

    Love it – even though I haven’t seen that there (I just started) I see it everywhere else – joining in…

    • Sarah Bessey

      you have found some fantastic ones, Leah! I’m stealing from your board all over the place!

  • Alle McCloskey

    I saw a “thinspiration” board for the first time this week.  With a recent post-birth body, it’s hard not to covet the flat tummies and toned muscles – but, we are ALL created in His image and I cannot allow my thought-closet to be filled with those kinds of wishes!  I love your pinterest board idea and will gladly join you – I think this is an incredible opportunity to be that City on a Hill we are called to be!  Thank you for your encouragement, sister!

    • Sarah Bessey

      Thanks – can’t wait to see what you find!

  • Rachel Held Evans

    What a great idea! 

    • Sarah Bessey

      What’s your board handle, Rachel? 

  • Canita

    This is a beautiful idea!

  • Elizabeth

    Just read a biography about Patricia St John.  I didn’t know much about her except that she had written a lot of books.  She was an amazing women and did a great deal of Missionary work in Morocco and other countries.  She gave her whole life to serve God and others.  She is a woman who doesn’t fit into modern picture of a strong lady but she was. 

    Another lady who is my hero is my Great-Aunty.  She trained as a Nurse and Midwife.  At the age of 50 she left the UK and served as a Missionary in Pakistan for 20 years.  The only reason she came back was because of her dodgy heart and she didn’t want to be a burden others.  (If the hospitals had been nearer she would have stayed.)  She came back to the UK and continue to serve.

    • Sarah Bessey

      Oh, those are both fantastic. 

  • Katie

    I am continually inspired by Dr. Maria Montessori.  I can’t find a good pic though!  I kinda like this one:
    and I LOVE this quote:
    And so we discovered that education is not something which the teacher does, but that it is a natural process which develops spontaneously in the human being

    • Jessica Mueller

      I was going to suggest Montessori too! 

      “Education should no longer be mostly imparting of knowledge, but must take a new path, seeking the release of human potentialities.”

      • Sarah Bessey

        I knew you were going to say Maria Montessori, Jessica – I always love to see what you find related to education already!

    • Sarah Bessey

      Got it up!

  • Jessica Mueller

    I love this. I was going to suggest my grandma…grew-up a sharecroppers daughter as an American Indian in the South, refused to give up her seat on a bus (before Rosa Parks!), left the South to move north so her husband could get a better job not based on his color, raised 6 kids and buried two. She’s the strongest, humblest, most giving and  beautiful woman I know.

    • Sarah Bessey

      Oh, that’s good….

  • Gretchen Louise

    I was not addicted to Pinterest until I started repinning wise women.  Thanks kindly for the total addiction. 😉  Pinning my favorites at

  • Jillrosalie
    This is a GREAT idea, Sarah!   I started my board.   Joni Eareckson Tada, and Sarah Edwards, Corrie Ten Boom …. I need to work on the quotes part!

  • Rea

    Ah, this explains all the Wise Women popping up on the entry page for me. I love it! I have a friend who is gorgeous and thin and has one of those ‘motivation’ boards with tons of flat abs and toned bodies. I thought about starting one but realized that body is not achievable for me. However maybe if I work at it, someday I will be wise. I think that would be better.

  • Katie

    oh, and how can we forget Emily Carr!!!!
    “I think that one’s art is a growth inside one. I do not think one can explain growth. It is silent and subtle. One does not keep digging up a plant to see how it grows.”

  • Q.’

    I signed up for Pinterest but….was having trouble getting it started. I love all the pretty things but noticed after even just half hour of “window shopping” my contentment was slowly slipping away. My want-er started kicking in ….and I started plotting out my plan of action for getting MORE stuff.

    Well. I don’t need more. Really I don’t. So, I have just let my board sit as is and empty, but fully content. 

    But, now this….could really get me pinterested.  :)  I’m heading out for a look-see.  Thank you, Poet.

  • Elizabeth

    I have written a post about my Auntie and put a link to this post.

  • Leigh Kramer

    So cool, Sarah!  I’m just catching up on my Reader after a weekend away.  You are taking Pinterest to a whole new level and I love it.

  • Jenn

    Um…Love. Here’s mine:

  • Stephanie Sheaffer

    Now THIS is Pinterest at its finest. Thanks for starting such an inspirational board of beautiful + inspiring women.

  • Guest

    May I contribute a picture of my mother?  She is the wisest woman I know, and down in the trenches with her hands dirty, living out what she thinks and says. I want to be like her when I grow up.

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