By Shilo Urban
Is Hello Kitty clothing on grown women cute – or a sign of regressed maturity?
Charlize Theron, who plays an emotionally stunted 30-something year old in her latest movie, Young Adult, said:
“I’m pretty amazed by Hello Kitty. I see so many women in their 30s walking around in Hello Kitty shit and nobody is concerned for them. It’s the one iconic teenage symbol that seems okay for women in their 30s? The world seems to not have an issue with it.”
Perhaps Ms. Theron hasn’t seen the legions of adults that walk around like they got dressed in the Disney store, or heard about the new wave of delayed adolescence – Americans are taking longer than ever to leave the nest, well into their 20s and even 30s. Some never do.
While young adults in the past wanted to “cut the cord” and strive for financial and emotional independence, today many men and women seem quite satisfied to live off mommy and daddy and dress like they are teenagers well into their 30s and beyond. Even if your childhood wasn’t a picnic, adulthood is definitely much harder: you have to work, pay bills, feed yourself and survive. This can be really difficult to figure out, so some people just decide to stay dependent forever – or for as long as they can, anyway. In our youth-obsessed culture, being an adult is no longer a top priority for many adults.
To many females, Hello Kitty regalia represents a simpler, happier time, when a world made of pink was the foremost dream and a new Hello Kitty pencil case or hair clip sated all of one’s earthly desires. As adults, we are intimidated by the immense complexity of the modern world and nostalgically yearn for a time-gone-by where one pink product solved all of our problems. You can’t return to that carefree state of childhood – but you can insist on wearing Hello Kitty barrettes and a mini tee.
Here’s why you shouldn’t:
In this world there are women, and there are girls. If you are still in the life stage of “girl” and are proud of it, by all means deck yourself out in head-to-toe pink with Hello Kitty ears and a mini backpack. Head out to a rave filled with teenagers, hit Claire’s at the mall with your besties or pick up the new Justin Bieber CD – but don’t dress like that and expect anyone to take you seriously as an adult, or a woman.
There are exceptions; wearing cartoon characters can be a sign that you are a funny, childlike joker who doesn’t take life too seriously – but usually it just means that you are uncomfortable with your age and current life circumstances and subconsciously desire to return to the days when cartoon characters played a big role in your life.
If you want your date to look at you like a girl, or if you are a girl, by all means go ahead and wear the Hello Kitty garb out on Friday night. But if you’re a 30-something year-old woman that could trade outfits with your 5 year-old cousin, don’t be surprised when instead of respect, you receive a pat on the head and a cookie.