Saturday, May 16, 2009

Cute Consumption

After reading the articles for week seven summaries, I became more aware of how much the "cute culture" or cute things influence what I decide to buy. I have not bought anything since starting the compact challenge, unless it was an essential item. But the "Cuties in Japan" article by Sharon Kinsella provided detailed information about the cute culture and how it evolved. This made me realize how often I buy things just because they are "so cute, I can't resist." In the article she said that the typical goods were stationary, toiletries, toys, towels, bags, etc. and were sold in cute little shops. Little things are always so cute, and because they are produced in this manner, when I see them, they catch my eye. You feel that you need the cute item and end up buying it. The manufacturers understand how effective it is to produce things that are cute because they really appeal to females. In addition, the characters were always “small, soft, infantile, mammalian, round, without bodily appendages, without bodily orifices, non-sexual, mute, insecure, helpless or bewildered.” Characters like Hello Kitty and Totoro are prime examples of these characters.

To be honest who can resist these types of characters. Producers make things that are small and cute and in some cases "inexpensive." I know that when I was a little younger I really like the little Peek-A-Pooh Charms that you get for $1 from the little machines at Asian Markets. There would always be one that I wanted a lot so if I didn't get it on the first try. I would keep trying, thus spending more money. It was a bad thing for me because I was actually wasting money, but for the company, I was doing exactly what they wanted, consuming. The effectiveness of small, cute things is so great and one is not even aware that they are consuming so much. My experience with these little charms shows how cute consumption has no limit just as the article said. Those who participate constantly consume and it con get out of hand. Luckily, I grew out of the charm phase, but not before I collected a lot.

As for the compact challenge, so far so good. And I hope to continue not to consume.

-Jasmine Lim (Blog #3)

"Cuties in Japan"by Sharon Kinsella

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