Wednesday, July 29, 2009

♥ a fatal attraction to cuteness.

find kawaii goods here.

in this interesting new york times article, "the cute factor, author natalie angier contends that our collective tendency to worship all things cute: (i.e. youthful, round, soft, innocent, bubbly, helpless) is brought on by our unconscious and innately darwinian desire to protect and nurture our young.

when we are shown something cute, it pulls on our heartstrings in a way that cannot be easily beckons for us to love it and we cannot help but obey,we are suckers for cuteness. we are putty in its cotton candy coated hand. {or at least, i am!}

pinkhead hello kitty jewelry found here.

find jewelry on etsy here.

and find more jewelry on etsy here.

the japanese word for cute is "kawaii" and like angier's article asserts,
is meant to reflect the strong feelings of parental adoration
one may feel when presented with something adorably innocent.

since the 70's, the idea of cuteness has been interwoven into
the very fabric of japanese popular culture.
beginning with a cute style of teenage girl handwriting
(witten horizontally instead of vertically, using mechanical pencils,
producing thin lines with lots of curly q's, hearts and loops.)
kawaii has since caught on and become incorporated into
packaging for magazines, comics, etc.

ramen bowls via flickr

pikachu airplane found here.

sewer images via all things kawaii blog.

japanese water sign via flickr.

with cutesy faces and anime mascots
popping up on inanimate objects everywhere,
kawaii has taken japan by storm:
from mail boxes, condom wrappers and banks,
to fireman and police cars and household items,
airplanes, government publications, etc. (find more here.)
the japanese have certainly drunk from the fountain of youth,
and have allowed this cuteness to permeate through the entire culture.

and not only is cuteness a way of advertising and a way of life in japan,
but it is also a state of mind,
where young women act in a way that appears cute:
they speak in squeaky voices, pout, stomp, act silly,
and swathe themselves in the consumer trappings of ultimate cuteness:
bows, glitter, cupcakes, curls, fake lashes, black eyeliner, pink everywhere.

and while followers of the cult of kawaii are acting and dressing
in the fashion they feel they love and a unique style that reflects them,
and promoting what they believe to be a magical answer to the west,
they have also been criticized for propagating a society of
feeble.minded and weak individuals who take their life too much sugar
and as a result, may be walked all over.

the epitome of cute is none other than sanrio's sweetheart,
ms. hello kitty,
whose wide set eyes, button nose, and round white body
will bid people like me to buy anything with her face on it.

i must admit, i am sometimes referred to as "miss kitty,"
i have the coffee maker, the toaster, the key chains, the stickers, calendars,
stuffed animals, cd players, pinkhead hello kitty jewelry.
sanrio has made millions by licensing out this pretty kitty
to tons of different companies, which is why you will see her cheeky little face
on products of all shapes and sizes.

she also comes in all price points..
(as you can see in this glam kitty collection available here at neiman marcus)

it was not until i read this intriguing article, "hello kitty has no mouth," that i began to think about what it is that draws me to this bewitchingly precious and precocious feline?

utilizing this thought-provoking poem, the author of the article delves into whether or not this mouthless kitty, who essentially has no voice of her own, or agency in this world-is helping or harming a society of impressionable young girls, who (due to their glorification of this cute character) may or may not be able to find their own voice and speak for themselves.

with my own childhood fascination with hello kitty,
which doesn't show any sign of slowing down as i
eek ever closer to 26,
i find myself
.all at once.
:a kitty and a hard place:

i choose kitty!

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