Cuteness Kills.

Via Miriam Hall
on Mar 6, 2013
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Source: via Elizabeth on Pinterest

A friend and I have been having a cuteness battle on Facebook recently.

It all started with the adorable above.

Then I counter-posted this beauty on her wall, to which she replied, “That’s awful. I thought it was just a puffy mom, but look at the two babies!”

Source: via Cindy on Pinterest



We both love animals.

A lot. We watch Nature specials and share links to videos of penguins laughing while being tickled and are secretly addicted to Cute Overload.

I became curious. I have always loved that in Spanish and select other languages, there are words for this—for what I call “an aggressive reaction to cuteness.”

For instance, in Tagalog:

trembling or gritting of the teeth in response to a situation that overwhelms your self-control.

When a Filipina sees a baby that’s so cute, she gets so overwhelmed that she wants to pinch the baby’s cheeks and has a hard time controlling herself. What she’s experiencing is called “panggigigil.”

This is an ongoing exploration—mostly light-hearted and well-meaning between myself and a lot of my female friends. Roommates and I came to greet one another with “I am going to throw you out the window now,” meaning: “You are super cute right now.” We joke about punching one another, about not being able to stand how cute the other one looks. It’s fun, and an entertaining way to express our affection for each other.

However, cuteness has a dark side.

When I began to write this, I wondered if perhaps some animals are more likely to be saved from extinction because of their adorableness. However, it turns out that being adored can actually endanger animals, as I am sure some of you will not be surprised to know.

There have been amazing writings lately on elephant about femininity—I encourage you to read them all. I have always sensed that being “feminine” (cute) can be a risk for women. Being seen as cute, inspiring such aggressive—and in some cases, non-benign aggression—is not a beneficial thing, especially when the “cute” is code for “sexy,” as in the case of this dental assistant.

I think we suppose that cuteness offers a special immunity.

But it doesn’t.

It’s important to pay attention to what we cherish, whether it is in the form of what we look at on the internet in order to alleviate a shitty day, or the beauty of beings we admire in our lives in person. Animals. People. Nature.

Yes, National Parks are being saved. Their funding is also constantly being cut.

They also get tremendous traction and visiting attention that puts them on the risk of falling apart.

Cherish and honor, protect what makes you go “Squee!”

Don’t just share it.

Help it to survive—through advocacy and financial support—so the future generations can squee right along.



Like Animal Rights on Facebook.

Ed: Brianna Bemel


About Miriam Hall

Miriam Hall teaches Nalanda Miksang Contemplative Photography, Contemplative Writing and other fun practices that combine perception and creative process as a part of the Shambhala Buddhist lineage. Natalie Goldberg (of Writing Down the Bones,) says: “Miriam Hall has the heart, hands and head of writing practice. Study with her.” She can be found at her website, Flickr, Twitter, Facebook and all over the world teaching and playing. You can also read more of her here, here and by visiting her website.


2 Responses to “Cuteness Kills.”

  1. sarah e rosenberg says:

    squee! i love this post, but i promise i won't hurt it. 🙂

  2. Greg Heffron says:

    I think you've nailed the love/hate relationship we have with what attracts us. We're drawn. We're REALLY drawn. The beloved becomes the center of our focus. Perhaps even becomes a bit of an object, an idea that inhibits our ability to pay attention. We might *hate* how drawn we are. So we attempt to pull back, to buffer the power we've given to the object of our affection. Perhaps we go further and actually try to hate the same object we're drawn to, and pull away, and cast foul glances his/her way (if not physical objects) just because we actually *don't* hate this object — indeed adore him/her/it. And at the end of the day, the object is just be a person. Or a *really* adorable owl in a little hat, who actually is having sensations and reactions, feeling pleasure, discomfort, and experiencing the universe from it's own unique perspective just like the rest of us. This wild and whacky dance is the same reason sex is both the bastion of one of the greatest human virtues (romantic love — when it's not, well, totally nutters) and also the source of outrageous suffering (human slavery, et al). Thanks so much. You've provided a cuteness cure for cuteness that kills.