The Impact of Living a Kawaii Life

The social anthropologist within me from my days at the LSE wonders at the social connotations of being surrounded by Kawaii culture. Asian people from my experience, are generally perceived as looking younger and seeming more immature than their ‘Western’ counterparts at work and at school. Whilst this is generally thought to be due to our upbringing- think strict, nerdy and almost dictatorial, being surrounded by never ending cute imagery in branding and packaging in everyday objects must also have an effect. Women in Asia are known to speak in fake-OTT cute voices thinking that this is what society determines as cute and attractive. Men in these Asian countries are also known to enjoy this type of behaviour, favouring women who act naive, young and thus weak and submissive. Having just returned from a trip to Taipei, the extent of using cute imagery in the consumer market really grabbed my attention. I suddenly understood the mentality of the vast majority of Asian people who have been groomed and programmed to act and think a certain way because of these cultural constructsof what is deemed more acceptable and loveable in these countries. If I went to work wearing a Hello Kitty watch with a Hello Kitty iphone cover and a Hello Kitty thermos flask, I would probably be laughed at. Oh wait, I do that anyway … and I do get a lot of comments but back to my point, people assume its part of my culture, which it definitely is and therefore think its ‘fantastic’, ‘loving it’. Whereas this is the norm for Chinese people like me, for any other person, it would be hysterical and quite possibly, this is why my colleague think I am 22 as opposed to my older age … ! My blog and mission is to introduce subtle kawaii elements into the ‘Western’ culture, sometimes, we all need softening up!

#kawaii culture #kawai #the anthropology of kawaii #being Asian #asian culture