Beatrice Marovich, a writer and academic (marovichbeatrice.com) presents the topic of cuteness in relation to animals in her essay in The Atlantic (Moravich) to propose a perspective on how humans have given “cuteness” to an animal and how the cute animal in return serves the human. In her essay, Maravich, provides the example of the cuteness of cats. Cats have been deemed cute by humans and also by humans through created figures such as Hello Kitty. The essay also provides an insight of how these cats have gained their “cuteness” by history. Because of cats becoming saviors to silk economics in the 17th century in Japan (by eliminating the cats that ate the silk worms that made silk), cats became a good luck charm. In the case of Hello Kitty, Marovich suggests that it’s vacant look gives humans the opportunity to fill that vacancy with themselves through the cuteness of the expressionless Kitty. A very interesting point that Marovich ties in toward the end of her essay is how cats, who have been deemed cute, have become something that people pay for, just to spend time with them. Unfortunately, Marovich doesn’t delve into the psychological questions about this but the skeptical observant question that lingers is: What does this endowment of cuteness do or affect?
Something that pop’s out in Marovich’s essay is the word vacancy. The eyes of the cute cat seem vacant and almost beckoning for someone to live through it. When something is “cute” it is: appealing, mentally keen, attractive (dictionary.com). The opposite of “cute” is”: ugly, unhappy, unpleasant (Thesaurus.com). This suggests that something “cute” is something that makes one feel better or seems to beckon one in a strange but delightful manner. For example, carrying around a small dog that matches one’s outfit is cute, because it makes the human feel that the cute little animal needs them and they empower the animal with the “pop” that their outfit or person needs. The most interesting part of cuteness is the way in which it works or the cycle which it forms.
When a human seems something “cute”, the human perceives that “thing” as an object that needs something, it contains a void that can potentially be filled — attention and care from the human. Giving this “cute little thing” that attention makes the human feel wanted or needed and/or giving, generous, compassionate, human, loving, etc. In return, the “cute little thing” provides the human credit for what they’ve done, and provides the human satisfactions in one or a variety of areas. These areas might encompass a human’s character, fashion style, compassion, “religiousness” or anything in relation to the expression of that human. As this occurs the “cute little thing” is given power, a power to enhance (or un-enhance) a human’s identity in one way or another. Although this “cute little thing” is bestowed power, the “cute little thing” becomes objectified (even if it is a living thing). When something becomes objectified it can be made, it is not one of a kind, it can be replaced; thus, a cute little accessory Chihuahua dog can be replaced by a cute little Affenpinscher at any given moment. Through these examples, Marovich clearly explains a perspective on cuteness and how it tends to objectify which is only scratches the surface of that definition.
“About – Beatrice Marovich.” Beatrice Marovich. Web. 5 Sept. 2014. <http://www.beatricemarovich.com/about.html>.
Marovich, Beatrice. “The Powerful Authority of Cute Animals.” The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 14 May 2014. Web. 5 Sept. 2014.
“cuteness.” The Dictionary of American Slang. 05 Sep. 2014. <Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/cuteness>.
“cute.” Roget’s 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition. Philip Lief Group 2009. 05 Sep. 2014. <Thesaurus.com http://www.thesaurus.com/browse/cute>.