The C Word
No, not that C word. The other one.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines ‘cute’ as ‘attractive in a pretty or endearing way’. The Urban dictionary defines it as ‘A girl who is lovely and dreamy and cuddly and shy and beautiful and awwww *drools*’.
Either of these definitions could be taken as a really nice way to be complimented. And I get it. I understand how it’s meant to be taken. It’s intended as a compliment and the intention is very kind. But somehow it actually feels condescending. It makes me feel patronised, it makes me feel put down and it makes me feel somewhat small. An ex boyfriend (actually several) have told me when I get angry or annoyed I look ‘cute’. Let me tell you. There is literally nothing which could make a grown woman more angry than being told her anger is not recognized or legitimized and is, in fact, some kind of fluffy unicorn feeling which I am acting upon to panda to your own ego.
The connotations of being called cute, to me, seem to add me to a pool of cuddly, adorable animals. Kittens, puppies, aforementioned unicorns, babies, children (pretty gross if it’s said in a sexual or romantic way by a partner)…
In 2015, Reformation released a new collection for woman 5’4 (my height) and under called ‘The Don’t Call Me Cute Collection’.
Ever at the forefront of cool fashion and sustainability, Reformation reflect a sexy, eco-friendly, SASSY vibe which we can all relate to.
And they have it completely right; I’m not a koala bear. I’m not even a kitten.
For me, I want someone to tell me that I am strong, that I am valued, that I am intelligent, funny (hilarious in fact), even beautiful before I am cute. Cute somehow makes me feel as though I am pandering to the attention of someone above me, not an intelligent twentysomething with a career. I don’t want to be patronized.
Maybe it should boil down to this; I am not something which can be all encompassed by one word. Espieically not one which can also be used to describe a kitten or a cartoon character.