Now, obviously, as you know, I am a female blogger/gamer/whathaveyou.  I am also a huge fan of cute, big eyed, colorful 2D art, and in gaming, it's no exception.  Even 3D games that I tend to love have a whimsy and cuteness that is somewhat off-putting to someone who probably does not spend a lot of time in the company of cuteness.

Basically, what I am saying is this: if your'e a girl and you like cute things, you're just normal (well, maybe geeky normal but I know plenty of girls who don't consider themselves "geeky" who still squee in delight over the cuteness of Ilo Milo or Hello Kitty), but if you're a guy and you like cute things, people think you're a pervert.

Now, obviously, there is a thin line between sexualization of characters in "cute" games (like Disgaea, where many of the-very small breasted-female characters wear little to nothing).

Case in Point.  Thank goodness Etna remains modest about her elbows...

Now, if you're female like I am and you're playing this game, you're playing as female characters who just happen to have very little on. And it's either just casual and something she likes to wear, so no big deal, or it's showing off her body and therefore it's billed as EMPOWERING (because battle bikinis are super breathable, didn't you know?  You might be cut to ribbons but at least you won't have those UGLY SWEAT MARKS under your arms!)

But if you're a guy, there is some automatic assumption that you must be ogling the female characters and thinking naughty thoughts.  In fact, entire game genres and series seem to EXPECT this sort of thing (*COUGH*DNF*COUGH*).  In general, I've noticed this to be a socially expected trend- men are expected to horn-dog-ify EVERYTHING and women are generally expected to see sexy female characters as "strong" or "independent" or "role models."

Men are expected to play Tomb Raider so they can look at a hot female butt while they platform, while women are expected to play Tomb Raider because they can "empathize" with a female character better than a male character.

Now, obviously, these are generalizations, but there is no time where I feel more privileged and lucky to be female when I see something cute and I can get all "ZOMG I LOVE THIS IT IS SO ADORABLE I WANT TO HUG IT AND KISS IT AND CALL IT GEORGE AND LOVE IT FOREVER" without fear of being looked at as either effeminately gay or basically being an affront to masculinity. 

When I see a mom with a baby, I can exclaim about how adorable said infant is without being looked at like a molester creep.  When I see a puppy and I gush about the fluffiness and THOSE. TINY. LITTLE. PAWS.  no one treats me like they're afraid I'm going to forget that puppies are not actual food items and just take a bite out of it like some wilderness buff shouting "MAN NEEDS PROTEIN HURRRRR!"

And when I watch anime, My Little Pony, or have some sort of accessory that shows my enjoyment of various shows that are INSANELY CUTE TO THE 10TH DEGREE, no one goes "OH YOU JUST WANT TO HIT THAT WITH YOUR NETHER REGIONS YOU PERV."

But I see this happen all the time with my male friends.

Oh yes, the cutness can infect even the most hard-boiled video games.

I actually have guy friends who love cuteness about as much as I do (sometimes more).  Many of these guys are heterosexual, generally intelligent and often quite masculine people.

But many of them want to pet fluffy bunnies and gush over infants and generally enjoy things that are adorable as all get-out without being immediately flamed by EVERY SINGLE OTHER GUY IN THE UNIVERSE who seems to think that the only reason said male must like cute things is due to his interest in sexing up other guys (uh, no, gayness has nothing to do with what you like and everything to do with what you want to have sex with) or because he actually wants to have sex with it (sometimes a fluffy bunny is just a fluffy bunny.  Why do we have to sexualize everything that a male likes?)

So there you have it-why the heck should women get a free pass to love on the cuteness while men are endlessly harangued and belittled if they even show a sign of enjoying something of the big-starry-eyed variety?

You can say that again, but only if you have boobies (unless you want to get smacked).

So for discussion:

How silly is it that cuteness is a stigma for men, but expected for women?

Are you willing to open your mind to accept that even if you don't like cute things, that it's totally valid for someone else to like it without getting bashed for it (especially if he's a guy)?

Exactly how much is masculinity tied to being forced into a rigid gender role?  Why should gamers (who are considered to be kind of counter culture in the first place) endorse this kind of social mainstream bilge anyway?

Be a man-embrace the cuteness! :D