“Thanks,” she said, smiling at her beautiful little girl. “We just found out she’s made the cover of Baby Magazine. Aren’t we the lucky ones?”
That same week, I visit my friend in another town and see her small Japanese Chin dog prancing around the living room. Noting the pink ribbon in her hair, I hear myself use the “cute” word again, “What a cute dog!”
Later a discussion ensues with another friend about newborn babies. “All newborns are cute,” she said. “Oh, no they’re not,” countered her boyfriend. “They are so,” she argued. “Give me the name of one un-cute baby,” she demanded.
“Randy,” he said, emphatically. “My cousin, Irwin’s little one. He may be cuter now, but he sure wasn’t cute when he was born.”
Giggling she couldn’t help but concede. “Well, I guess you’re right,” she said. “But that doesn’t happen very often!”
“I agree,” I add. “But I’ll have to admit only one time can I recall having seen a baby that truly was not cute. I had the hardest time knowing what to say. I finally said, ‘What a sweet baby!’ It’s the only thing I could come up with! I surely didn’t want to hurt my friend’s feelings!”
In a discussion with another friend, she too admitted, usually babies are cute, but she had seen one or two in her lifetime she was sure could not have the "cute" distinction credited to them.
All this “cuteness” thing made me stop and wonder why some things, children, or even pets are considered cute, while others are not. Apparently cuteness is entirely in the eyes of the beholder; and it seems women are more likely to define something as cute more quickly than men.
Cuteness involves attractiveness connected with charm, infancy, dimples, soft body features, innocence, affection and the apparent need to be nurtured. What is fascinating is how humans carry this “stigma” of cuteness over into animals, just as I commented to my friend on the cuteness of her dog, and often includes babies in the wild!
My husband and I have a large, aggressive, fiercely loyal and protective white German Shepherd. Only my husband would describe him as a “cute puppy!” Most who see him describe him as a huge white beast that is aggressive and ferocious!
Even toys like Mickey Mouse and Elmo, Furby and Precious Moments or Cabbage Patch Dolls can be considered cute. It’s so important in toy making, it has become a strategic marketing tool to both children and their parents!
The other fascinating fact I discovered is how as humans, we are drawn to the “cute” children, even in the adoption process and will reject a child who is less than “cute” in our eyes. Additionally our “personal definition” of cute, will also determine how much care and nurturing we will give a child. The one who does not live up to our expectations of cute are often not cared for in the same manner as one who is "cute." Children then, who are not “cute” remain orphans longer than those who are considered “cute.” It's a sad realization that we penalize those children who do not “qualify as cute.”
So I challenge you to consider your own definition of "cute." Is there someone in your life who is being punished (even if not deliberately) because of a personal perspective of the word "cute?"