Curing Acquired Cuteness Disorder
Everything You Need to Know About This Annoying, Adorable and Completely Curable Disorder
Acquired Cuteness Disorder (ACD) is a disease that primarily affects (mostly female) children and adult females up to age 28. Because the disorder, or at least the primary behaviors associated with it, is often erroneously considered adorable by the uninformed, many sufferers are not even aware that they have it. But with proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment, ACD can be completely cured and the afflicted can go on to lead a normal and well-adjusted life.
The popularity of Shirley Temple illustrates the value our society places on cuteness in little girls. To many, the very utterance of the words "little girl" conjures up images of a blonde, chubby-cheeked cherub dressed in a frilly dress and black patent shoes. The children themselves eventually begin to appreciate the attention and affection bestowed upon them ("isn't she adorable"; "she's such a little darling") for looking and acting cue, and, as a result, they begin to embrace the role and relish its accompanying dysfunction.
While it is necessary to instill in our daughters the advantages of physical attractiveness and the importance of a pleasant demeanor, an inherent danger of the socialization process our society has outlined for little girls is teaching them, whether intentionally or not, that it is desirable to act babyish in order to get attention. Too many little girls are rewarded-by parents, teachers and other role models-for acting cute (i.e., speaking in an extremely high, often squeaky and unintelligible voice; acting passive and helpless; feigning overzealousness about everything; pouting; and other "feminine behaviors"). These behaviors are, to say the least, annoying and generally inappropriate...even for a child. However, the real problems arise when the child gets older and does not shift out of cute mode.
The girl that has been reinforced for acting cute and does not grow out of it is in danger of developing Gaggable Personality Type (GPT). The female with GPT usually wears big bows to hold her ponytail in place and is particularly fond of lace, flounces, ruffles, jumpers and basically any garment that looks like something a little girl would wear, especially in the most inappropriate situations (e.g., church, job interviews, when subpoenaed to testify in court). The most acute cases of ACD often lead to complications such as the development of the dreaded and incurable Obnoxious Personality Type (OPT).
The underlying problem with ACD sufferers is they are insecure, have an unmet need for attention, lack self-esteem and have a personality that thrives on the constant praise and adoration of others. One must keep in mind that individuals with ACD are not usually aware that they have a problem because they have been conditioned to believe that what they have is a good thing.
Fortunately, curing victims of ACD is quite simple after a definitive diagnosis has been made. The cure can be administered by a parent, a teacher, a friend or even a caring stranger who wants the victim to recover and lead a productive, non-annoying life. The first step is to tactfully inform the victim that she is not performing at the expected maturity level for her age. Next, gently provide concrete examples of ACD behavior that needs to be corrected. Finally, advise the patient about how to eliminate the offending behaviors-it would probably be helpful to model appropriate behaviors so the patient will know exactly what normal behavior should look like.
Early and aggressive treatment of ACD can help the victim fully recover.