I had the privilege of flying on one of Eva Airlines’ Hello Kitty planes today.
Everywhere you turn on the plane, you see signs of Hello Kitty: from the pins on the flight attendants’ uniforms, their pink aprons, the pillow covers, to the air freshener in the lavatory.
I started chuckling as I stepped onto the plane. It’s cute and adorable. But soon I grew weary. [Yes, I tend to overthink. Are you even surprised?]
There are obvious social and cultural reasons that girls, and in fact, women under 50, are encouraged to be cute, to find cutesy things desirable, and also to screech in delight whenever such cutesy things are encountered: In a patriarchal, male-dominant society, men prefer women that are dependent and docile (or at least seemingly so) and find them to be more attractive.
A nation of young women marching to the drumbeat of cuteness. Some critics have even gone so far to call it the “infantilization of women”.
There is the voice that many women here speak in. High-pitched and nasal.
The facial expressions: eyes blinking deliberately with eyelashes a-fluttering, better yet if they appear to be watery & starry. Verisimilitude of manga characters.
I imagine myself a reject from the Hello Kitty factory.
I’ve never been able to be cute – partly because I am 5’7″ and not starving myself. By Taiwan standard, I am enormous. I also cannot fake Jennifer Tilly’s voice. Just imagine Lucy Lawless feigning cuteness. That. Did you throw up in your mouth too?
That being said, I begin to lean towards + on the cuteness scale when I arrive. It’s as if when I speak in Chinese, I assume a different personality. Or maybe they’ve spiked all the food here.
I tilt my head. I blink my eyes. I smile vacuously.
I know tomorrow I will start making a bunny sign when having pictures taken.
This is like an emergency note written by a survivor before the inevitable Borg invasion.