The children and teen cute cultural phenomenon that is labeled as Hello Kitty is celebrating its 40th birthday. Whether it is a positive or negative fashion force remains a controversial matter though.
The cultural icon that is Hello Kitty has inspired the candy cane, sugar and spice and all things nice, delicat feminine version of events. Today exactly 40 years after its inception, the moot point is whether it has been a good influence overall or a denigrating harbinger.
Over 25,000 devoted fans of Hello Kitty will congregate in LA to serenade their favorite cutsie pie cat with the pouchy cheeks and innocent expression. Termed the Hello Kitty Con, it will be a half week’s worth of festivity and fun.
Originally designed by Sanrio, a Japanese company, the tiny white cartoon figure of a cute kitten has become a world symbol of entertainment and kids toys. A yearly revenue of $8 billion gets generated thanks to the sales related to Hello Kitty.
The ladies who were just prepubescents in the 70s and 80s and manipulated their Hello Kitty products are now adult women. And they will be gathering at the occasion topay homage to their favorit cartoon character.
They might even consider relating to the good old days and bringing back the character into their lives at this late stage of maturity. Everything from Kitty getups to crystalline figures and jewelry based on the diminutive character will be up for grabs at the event.
And although one almost thinks to oneself what harm such a little thing such as Hello Kitty could do, in fact the cultural product is not as benign as it seems to be. It has led to camps and cultural sides which fight against each other verbally and in the media.
Those who are deadringers for the phenomenon say that it is a female symbol of empowerment. Or they consider it a very simple pastime. Feminist critics say that it encourages passive roles for women and makes them out to be innocent and silent like the dumb cat which is the rather mysterious logo of the company.
The fact that on the cartoon figurine, there is simply no aperture where the lip sought to be is cited as further proof of the taciturn and powerlessness of this ideal. To add insult to injury, Sanrio recently admitted this much that it is actually a picture of a three year old girl and not a cat.
The reason for having no features is so that whoever owns Hello Kitty can project her feelings onto the character. The versatile and chameleon-like nature of the blank canvass face that is Hello Kitty automatically appeals to everyone.
The cat almost appears to be listening to you. Especially Asian American women have always adored Hello Kitty. The logo is an ideal escapist symbol and it will always be kept in high regard by millions of girls regardless of what the hardboiled feminists proclaim from their pulpits.