When you google the search terms *african* *american* and *cute* (with no quotes, of course) the first hits you get are associated with hairstyles. After that there are some hits for baby names. This is a fascinating topic to me and I believe it begs a chapter in my dissertation. Among the biggest vlog topics on YouTube these days is that of one African American woman or another who has embarked on a “natural hair journey” or is otherwise describing some new miracle product that has finally knocked her kinky… Read more Afro & Aura →
So based on some things I’ve thought about “cute” as a transcendent sign of global exchange, I think this link says that I’m on to something. I was listening to… Read more Cute Markets →
It’s really not a surprise that cuteness is the preferred design characteristic of super-commodity merchandise and is therefore the chief brand aesthetic of multinational mega-corporations like the Disney media empire and the Mattel toy company. The predominance of soft rounded plastics makes it so. Known for their pop culture icons, Mickey and Barbie, you’d be hard pressed to come up with examples of more successful and durable branding. And along comes cute hip-hopper, Nicki Minaj fashioning herself as a Japanese street Barbie. Her name both rhymes and alliterates with Mickey’s.… Read more Here Comes BarbieB!tch! →
One rhetoric of cuteness is expressed through the sentimentality of the New Year. Of course, I’m talking about the symbolism of Baby New Year, which is representational of new beginnings… Read more Sappy New Year!!! →
How’s this for the racial rhetoric of cuteness? It’s a Christmas tree ornament of a black cherub cuddling a kitty, for Pete’s sake. Merry Xmas, folks.
I snapped this jpg at the antique store in Pendleton, SC — not more than 3 miles from campus. These cast iron coin banks cost $35.00 each. I’m not sure… Read more kitschy kitschy yaa yaa yaa →
The image to the left is by Gordon Parks, called “Black Children with White Doll.” The title of this post is “daddy-mommy-me” and is a quote taken from the introduction… Read more daddy-mommy-me →
Of course, cute is problematic. Dan Harris in Cute, Quaint, Hungry, & Romantic has some wonderfully delectable quotes. Here are a few: “Cuteness is not an aesthetic in the ordinary sense of the word and must by not means be mistaken for the physically appealing, the attractive. In fact, it is closely linked to the grotesque, the malformed” (3). “So cute so as to pitiable – possibly because of a malformation…” (3). “the aesthetics of cuteness creates a class of outcasts and mutations, a ready-made race of lovable inferiors whom… Read more Some Rhetorics of Cute →