‘Cute’ — Not Quite What We’re Aiming For

I’ve written the beginning of this post a number of times.  I can’t seem to find a hook that’s particularly pointy, so instead I will start with a disclaimer.  This post is about women creators, which can be a touchy subject.  The opinions here are strictly my own, though I did get some of the ideas from this post by Pamela Ribbon (author and TV writer) on her blog.

I’m not sure weather to be surprised or not when I flat out told a guy I know to please not call Girls cute.  This launched a whole debate about who and what we are allowed to call cute.  And honestly, it’s a great adjective for shoes, babies, and terriers wearing sweater vests.  But not for things that were created or designed to be taken seriously.  Not even comedy.

Because unless ‘cute’ is what they’re aiming for, it’s actually quite insulting.  You don’t see serious men doing work they believe in called cute.  But it’s a common adjective for women who are equally brilliant.  It could be the goriest, most twisted thing you’ve ever read, but if a woman wrote it then it’s game for the ‘cute’ label.

In many ways it doesn’t even make sense.  A piece of work should be evaluated on it’s own merit, right.  In comparison to other similar works, yes, but not with thoughts on the gender of the creator.

I understand that this is sometimes done unintentionally.  It’s become a normal term in our society.  But that doesn’t mean we have to continue the cycle.

Start with yourself.  If you feel strongly about something draw on your wide vocabulary to come up with adjectives that will describe how you feel about it.  You can do it.  It’s not cute, it’s child-ish, funny, bizarre, raunchy, or insulting.  Your conversations and understanding of others will be better for it.

Next, call others out.  It can be slightly nerve-wracking to tell someone not to call something cute, but chances are, if you’re in a group discussion, you’ll launch a whole different tangent.  Do it.  These are the discussions we should be having.


2 thoughts on “‘Cute’ — Not Quite What We’re Aiming For

  1. I’m just five feet and one inch tall, but nobody has called me cute since I was about six. My writing isn’t cute – generally has a bite to it somewhere – so doesn’t get called cute either. OK, so I’m nowhere near the same age as you (peeped at your ‘About’ page), but I would say you are a woman, not a girl. Girls dress in pink wear their hair in bunches and don’t get to decide what they’re doing today. Woman know their own minds, wear what they please and get to bash patronising men (notice, men not boys) who call them or anything about them ‘cute’.
    Because it is patronising and you shouldn’t put up with it.

    • Absolutely. I think it’s an insult whatever it’s referencing. Writing, art work, clothing choices, ect., unless cute is what they’re aiming for it’s disheartening. Patronizing is just the word.

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