Does cute culture retard visual literacy?

When a culture is completely immersed in and panders to a specific and limiting definition of cute, does it condemn entire generations to thinking within a tiny pink box with bows?

If the majority only wants cute, then the producers will be more inclined to deliver that cute. New products are more likely to simply be extensions of the same cure formula. Creativity thus becomes a line-extension exercise, limited-scope variations on an already limited theme.

I think cute culture encourages visual literary laziness. It ultimately impedes innovation. It is like art teachers teaching children that the only “good” paintings are those that look like real people, objects or scenery.

The simplistic visual language of cute makes it easily accessible to everyone without requiring much thought. It is the memetic equivalent of lollies and fried food. Yummy and harmless in small doses, but you cannot actually raise a whole nation on it.

The sticking point is this: Japan does cute very well – it is the home of Hello Kitty after all. But the Japanese also seem to have a higher level of visual literacy than say China, Taiwan or Singapore. There is a sophistication and considered-ness in the Japanese use of visual language that is absent in the other Asian countries. How does this work?

Check out Hello Kitty Hell.