I Heart Cute

poneh love

As you probably read a couple days ago, I received my contest prize of one overly glitterized and accessorized My Little Pony figure (aka Sparklepony) from Alice on Friday.  I truly was eagerly awaiting its arrival, and from the contest’s get-go I was actively trying and hoping to actually win the thing.  It was just too cheesily cute!  A month prior to my mailbox watch for the Sparklepony, I was just as eagerly awaiting the arrival of another item in the cute overload files, the handmade crocheted masterpiece from Jennifer Olivarez in the form of my Rainbow Donkey character.

“So what?”, you’re probably saying.  You’ve been listening to me go on and on about them both for a while now and probably wish I’d just stick to posting more good old retro memories.  Well, here’s the deal…. it’s one thing for me to brag about my love for these adorable little treasures on this blog, because you all know me and have probably gotten used to my strange quirks by now.

What did you say you slipped in this drink again?

Even the squirrel and possum fetish… maybe.

But what would people in the outside world think of a 38 year old straight male who was proudly displaying a brightly colored unicorn and a sparkle-bedazzled little pony among his collection of favorite things?

How many dresses do you have in your closet, girly man?

How many dresses do you have in your closet, girly man?

Let’s face it… guys are not supposed to like things that are cute.  We are supposed to be tough, rugged, manly men and the only horses we’re supposed to covet are those that can be found under the hood of a car.  Yet it’s my fascination with things that are cute that made me want to win the Sparklepony.  It’s my fascination with things that are cute that led me to create my Rainbow Donkey character.  It’s my fascination with cute that caused me to be smitten by squirrels and the other underappreciated wild critters out there.  It was my fascination with cute that first attracted me to the world of anthropomorphic art in the first place, which was the cornerstone that supports all of the above.

love in venice

This scene would never be cute with people in it… I don’t care how good of an artist one is…

I think it’s a shame boys are conditioned from an early age to reject things that are cute.  Boys toys are all macho and heroic and kickass.  There’s nothing cute about a Transformer robot or a G.I. Joe doll….. oops, wait!  Boys are not allowed to play with dolls, so we call dolls for boys “action figures”, and action figures look like something that was pulled out of a barroom brawl rather than an enchanted forest.

Female action figures are fine for boys so long as they look like they could rip the head off some evil minion's shoulders.  Though I wonder about what's supposed to be stuck inside of April O'Neil's hole shaped hands....

Female action figures are fine for boys so long as they look like they could rip the head off some evil minion’s shoulders. Though I wonder about what is supposed to be inserted inside of April O’Neil’s hole shaped hands….

Girls toys however are all about cute.  In fact, I think it’s some kind of toy factory law that anything marketed at young girls must register some minimum value on the cuteness scale.  Just take a stroll down the girls toy aisle at any store, and you will be blinded by the bright pink and purple colors beaming against your retinas from the shelves.  It’s like you have just entered the Hall of Cute, with human, animal, and hybrid figures that were all specifically designed to generate an “awwwwww” from unsuspecting customers who wandered down the wrong aisle looking for the Depends.

In lieu of cute, skanky is an acceptable substitute for a proper girls toy.

In lieu of cute, skanky is an acceptable substitute for a proper girls toy.

Growing up with four younger sisters, I was obviously subjected to way more of these cute toys than the more manly toys I was supposed to be learning how to be a proper American male with.  Obviously, it had a profound effect on what would end up pushing my happy buttons later in life, and had I spent more time playing with Superman action figures and Stretch Armstrong back in the 80’s, I probably never would have even considered drawing squirrels and unicorns later in life.  And wouldn’t that have been a shame…

The world would have been just a little less cute...

The world would have been just a little less cute…

The trend towards cuteness in girls toys, however, has actually increased exponentially since my days as a child three decades ago.  Perhaps in no example is this more evident than the extreme makeover the popular series My Little Pony got.  The Ponies of the 80’s looked like this:

Hey!  Come back here!  Aren't we pretty enough for you?

Hey! Come back here! Aren’t we pretty enough for you?

When MLP was relaunched in the previous decade, the characters now looked like this…

Our eyes are bigger than our brains!

Our eyes are bigger than our brains!

Big, bright, sparkly eyes… long flowing hair… small, simplistically drawn bodies.  It’s no comparison, the modern My Little Pony design blows their ancestors away on the cute-o-meter.  In fact, the new Ponies are so cute, that it’s led to a bizarre phenomenon that has caused people to question traditional gender norms, and might eventually be cited as the turning point should the old boy toy/girl toy stereotypes that have been around since the Founding Fathers disappear in the future….

Bronyism.

The expression on the lady's face in the next booth is priceless...

The expression on the lady’s face in the next booth is priceless.  You make everyone around you uncomfortable, Bronyman.

The current generation of My Little Pony cartoons has pulled in a surprisingly large number of male fans who call themselves “bronies”.  Not only are there a number of young boys out there who go gaga for the colorful little fillies, but the underground adult world of bronies is even larger.  The series has a small, but quite vocal (at least in the relative anonymity of cyberspace) legion of grown men who like to wear their favorite Rainbow Dash T-shirt around the house and probably have a poster of Twilight Sparkle over their bed.  While definitely a small group, the number of men obsessed with My Little Pony would no doubt surprise you… and for the sake of this blog’s rating, I will not go into the details over why MLP appeals to a significant sector of those in the Brony Army.  Just trust me on this, you don’t want to see the things that I have seen on online art sites…

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooooo!!!!

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooooooooooooo!!!!

But while I adore cute, do admit the Ponies are very cute, and have picked up enough secondhand knowledge of MLP that I could probably apply for the Brony membership card… I am definitely not one of them.  My obsession lies with the cute little gang of characters I have created, and I am quite proud to admit that here and smile at my Rainbow Donkey that sits behind me as I type… even if I might be a bit hesitant to brag about ES and the gang to my co-workers.

Knock off the fruity little drawings and get back to work stocking that counter, Squirrel!

Knock off the fruity little drawings and get back to work stocking that counter, Squirrel!

This post is already over 1,000 words long, and I haven’t even gone into the other elements of “cute” I had planned on, so look for Part II of my look into the world of cuteness next Sunday!

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About evilsquirrel13

Bored former 30-something who has nothing better to do with his life than draw cartoon squirrels.
This entry was posted in Squirrel Droppings and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

32 Responses to I Heart Cute

  1. merbear74 says:

    We did it again!!
    Your infatuation with cute actually makes you cute. *Blush*

  2. My nephews have been proudly proclaiming their brony affiliation for a few years now. At first I was shocked, now I’m just waiting for the girl equivalent to take over. What will it be? I’m thinking female robots armed to the hilt. That sounds like fun.

    PS. Thanks again for the plug. I hope my crocheted RD continues to make you smile for a long time to come. 😉

    • Female robots armed to the hilt might draw in more boys than the regular robots do!

      Amigurumi RD will never cease to make me smile, nor anyone else who it lucky enough to gaze upon him! And I owe you yet another thank you, and hope you enjoy your mug! 🙂

      • Good point! Perhaps I’m onto something. Galbots (or shebots, or ladybots… lol) could be the big hit this holiday season.

        You noticed that, did you? 😉 I couldn’t resist purchasing my very own Rainbow Donkey mug. I’m going to take it to work tomorrow and be the envy of all my coworkers.

  3. 1jaded1 says:

    One of my favorite guy friends knits, hates sports and loves squirrels because they are cute. When I tell him about the latest hockey scores, he yawns out loud.

    • LOL, I might yawn if someone discussed the hockey scores with me as well, but that’s because I’m more of a baseball fan. I run into far too few other male squirrel lovers, so good to see I’m not the only one…

  4. Juliette says:

    Awwwww. All guys need to embrace their inner cuteness!

  5. NotAPunkRocker says:

    Guys who “embrace the cute” are cute. Normally. Bronyman above, who I am sure is a nice guy, does photograph a little creepy.

    • Yeah, it’s interesting how even I can look at that picture and immediately think creepy. I guess there are some things that when taken to obsession are just so far outside of the norm, there’s no way around the creepiness of it all…

  6. C.K. Hope says:

    What the heck is wrong with liking cute? I know lots of guys that like cute. I bet the peeps who would think it odd you like cute are the same ones who look at me odd for my Batman collection 😉

  7. It can work the reverse way too. My Thing Two is a Star Wars fanatic and has gotten more than one odd look or comment for it. That’s a BOY thing, didn’t you know that, despite how long we spent on the girls’ hair and costumes? On the other hand, she has a lot of boy friends that dig her geekiness, so she’s not doing too badly after all.

    Guys who aren’t afraid to show a cute side have real Dad potential, which is appealing to women. Sometimes I think straight men act manly to impress other straight men, whereas straight women coat on the makeup and lose tons of weight to impress other straight women. Ironic, isn’t it?

    • I guess the geek girl is the female counterpart to the brony. I think there’s more acceptance of the geek girl persona because we tend to have more admiration for girls who act like boys than boys who act like girls. And you are correct, everything seems to be about impressing your own gender! Since I’m more myself on the internet, my female friends online far, far outnumber my male friends…. and you won’t ever find me complaining about that….

  8. gentlestitches says:

    A problem with gender stereotyping children is that it discourages experimentation and they are at risk of not finding out what they enjoy doing and/or are good at. Creativity, curiosity, both move society forward in a positive direction. Happy, fulfilled people are less likely to run amok with automatic weaponry.
    I admire Mr bronyman. I admire people who find things to do other than watch TV and/or complain. 🙂 as long as it is between consenting adults.
    Rainbow Donkey is quite simply, a work of art as are your toons. Interesting post and interesting comments. 🙂

  9. On a less serious note, I’ve nominated you for the Shine On Award, you know one of those awards that your fellow bloggers create and pass around like a chain letter. Anyway, you can read about it here: http://sowsewso.com/2013/10/05/so-proper-thank-you/

  10. Kate Sparkes says:

    I like the new MLP show, and the toys are fantastic for customizing because a)they’re quick, and b) their massive eyes are easier to paint than the older ponies. The only problem is that they’re so cute, I can’t get rid of them. :/

    I see nothing wrong with guys liking cute, any more than girls liking… whatever the anti-cute is. I’d like to see a world where we’re allowed to approach our interests as individuals, rather than as members of a gender group.

  11. The Cutter says:

    Thankfully, I don’t have any MLP posters above my bed…yet.

  12. Mental Mama says:

    Cute is the new black, duh.

  13. fransiweinstein says:

    Nothing wrong with cute.

  14. My son is a brony. My other son loves his pink dancing toy hamster. It’s all good!

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