Agentic cute (^.^): Pastiching East Asian cute in Influencer commerce | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 2, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 2051-7084
  • E-ISSN: 2051-7092



There has yet to be a definitive study of cute culture that is organically Singaporean. Drawing on existing work on East Asian cute culture and the regional popularity of commercial social media microcelebrities or ‘Influencers’ in Singapore, this article annotates three modes of agentic cute used to obscure the soft power that Influencers hold. Through the qualitative textual and visual analysis of content from three popular Singaporean Influencers, and their associated blogs and social media, this article examines how three tropes that I term ‘the Doll’, ‘the Darling’ and ‘the Dear’ are enacted as cute femininities among adult woman. It argues that the subversive power of this performative cuteness is obscured by the corresponding sensual delight, romantic docility and homosocial desire that the Influencers develop in tandem with their cute self-presentations. By continually emphasizing stereotypical gendered relationships with their male partners, and relations with their followers, these Influencers are able to position themselves as non-threatening and submissive, when they are in fact quietly subverting these hierarchies for personal gain.


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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): bloggers; coupling; cute; East Asia; Influencers; microcelebrity; Singapore; social media
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