Sianne Ngai: Cuteness

“Cuteness is a way of aestheticizing powerlessness. It hinges on a sentimental attitude toward the diminutive and/or weak, which is why cute objects—formally simple or noncomplex, and deeply associated with the infantile, the feminine, and the unthreatening—get even cuter when perceived as injured or disabled. So there’s a sadistic side to this tender emotion […] The prototypically cute object is the child’s toy or stuffed animal.” Adam Jasper and Sianne Ngai, “OUR AESTHETIC CATEGORIES: AN INTERVIEW WITH SIANNE NGAI. The cute, the interesting, and the zany“, in Cabinet Magazine, Fall 2011