For Cereal, Cute Overload?

A periodic feature in which we highlight some of the more ableist posts and comments in the blogosphere – the things that made us throw up our hands and ask “FOR CEREAL???”

I’m late on this one, but that doesn’t make me any less upset. Cute Overload is one of the best and most regular suppliers of the cuteness I so often need to take the edge off the day, but it’s becoming increasingly problematic. They have a continuing series called Cats n Racks, featuring photos of kittens placed in cleavage, usually cutting off the woman’s head. Recently the site posted a picture of a extremely wrinkled puppy with lots of excess skin and compared it to Eleanor Roosevelt (described here at Filthy Grandeur). She also points out a recent photo of a wallaby titled “The New Slave Girl, She Intrigues Me,” captioned with what sounds an awful lot like a rape fantasy.

Not content to settle for racist and sexist, the site went for a hat trick and added ableist to their list! In their post reviewing the ten most popular posts of 2009, number five is a photo of a bunny with a long forelock brushed over one eye, called “Emo Bun.”

a small grey bunny looking to the side, with a long forelock of fur falling over one blue eye.

The text reads “On June 18, Stephanie N. took a minute from cutting herself to send us this awesome shot, an emotional bunneh.” The alt-text for the photo of the bunny reads “No Mom I was NOT cutting myself!”

FOR CEREAL, CUTE OVERLOAD? I’ve written at length about my issues with the term “emo” elsewhere, but beyond that, the multiple references to cutting are 100% non-negotiably inappropriate. Having an undeniably cute bunny whine about cutting minimizes and dismisses the very real pain of people who do self-injure. It implies that self-injury is a choice as superficial and changeable as a trendy hairstyle and that it’s done to fit into a trend. It’s not funny. And it’s certainly not cute.

8 responses to “For Cereal, Cute Overload?”

  1. Adelaide Dupont

    I don’t really like the word ‘emo’: for music or for people. Talk about the specific feeling the music arouses. Like sad or happy or angry or fearful.

    Yes, the rabbit does look very punked-up and very pissed off.

    Trying to parse “for cereal”. It sounds, to me, like “surreal” or “so real”.

    Sheik of Wallaby doesn’t look like it’s there.

    And they would put into the alt-text?

  2. meloukhia

    Adelaide, “for cereal” is a slang term which could be roughly translated as “seriously?” or “for real?”

  3. KJ

    And the term ‘for cereal’ has roots in South Park, namely the ManBearPig episode with Al Gore. I’m not sure the term is problem-free (things featured on South Park rarely are) but it has been adopted by most folks as a cut way to say “REALLY?.”

    KJ

  4. Soft_Cat

    Hi. Longtime reader, first time commenter.
    I just wanted to say that I cut myself, and I like the emo bun. I saw it on Cute Overload, and I thought it was really funny.
    I know that one person who liked it or wasn’t offended doesn’t necessarily mean the joke was appropriate, but I wanted to share my experience.

  5. Erin H.

    I also remember a post on CO that was really ableist – talking about a “special” kid who rides the “short bus” and wears a helmet. It was supposed to be a joke or something. Not funny.

    Now I have learned to just look at the pictures.

  6. Adelaide Dupont

    Really appreciated the explanation.

    Another online word for that sort of thing is “O RLY?” and they show an owl or some creature like that, with its big peeping eyes.

    (And “cereal” came from a certain South Park episode?)

    What do you think about the phrase “equal opportunity offender” which is used to describe South Park and other satirical shows?

    And I do remember seeing the ManBearPig on the Imaginationland series, if nowhere else.

  7. The Bald Soprano

    “cereal/serial” for “serious” dates back farther than South Park…I first heard it in the M*A*S*H tv show, for one thing.

  8. meloukhia

    Thank you, The Bald Soprano! You have spared me an etymology hunt; I knew it predated South Park!

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