Since the advent of the Hello Kitty phenomenon in the mid 1970s, fashion for little girls has never, ever been the same. The tiny white cat with the large pink bow on its ear and impassive face that charmingly waved hello while suspended perpetually in childhood swept young girls off their feet giving them an object of enjoyment and intrigue.
Sanrio, the Japanese company responsible for developing the Hello Kitty caricature, finally put a long-standing question to rest recently when representatives revealed that the character is not a cat but a little girl that has been made in the form of a young feline. That, therefore settled one question yet it didn’t answer another one which is whether it is inappropriate for women in their 30s to wear Hello Kitty clothing.
Based on reports, the company had to transition its target audience from that of solely preteen girls to both an adult and child consumer base and thus began to carry high-end products. With sales totaling 7 billion dollars annually, it’s safe to say that their strategy has been successful and is showing no sign of slowing down in the near future.
However there have been murmurings from those who believe that adult women should “grow up” and leave the Hello Kitty obsession to the kids. In 2011, Oscar-winning actress Charlize Theron spoke publicly about the issue admitting to finding the Kitty fixation among grown women to be unsettling. Further, online polls conducted at the time suggested that almost half of those surveyed shared her opinion.
So what to do? If you’re a fan, will you now begin to feel slightly uncomfortable wearing your favorite vintage Hello Kitty t-shirt when out running errands? Are you going to wonder if others will perceive you to be one of those adults who suffer from a severe case of arrested development, similar to men who still play with RC toys and watch cartoons on Treehouse?
Ultimately, doing what you’re comfortable with is probably the best decision to make, even if it means giving all of your Kitty clothing items to charity and walking away from her forever. However for us die-hard fans, we will continue to love Hello Kitty as she represents the elemental and unaffected simplicity that most of us associate childhood with and that, in our view, is something that should always be appreciated regardless of how old you are.
Photo: s_bukley / Shutterstock.com