Welcome to the Cute Economy – for Better, or for Worse

Ever encountered cat videos across YouTube, or maybe followed an improbably high number of Instagram accounts featuring adorable little pets that refer to themselves as doggos? Well then, you’re contributing to the phenomenon known as the Cute Economy.

Still not clear enough? Well, let’s give the term a proper definition: the cute economy refers to revenue being generated off of content that features cute and adorable things – typically cats, dogs, or babies; not to imply that I consider any of these three categories as “things”, but let’s keep moving on. With cat videos having more or less made over half of YouTube’s lifeblood back in the early-to-mid 2010’s, and Instagram full to the brim with dog accounts, there’s a lot of love to go around. Of course, where there’s attention being paid, there’s an investor looking to cash in. The cute economy truly formed after ad revenue became a more accessible and mainstream form of monetary gain. With nearly all social media platforms nowadays being venues via which users can make a living, Instagram accounts suddenly had more worth to them. With profiles focusing on cute entities rolling in followers and engagement, the ad revenue they raked in was amazing, and now everyone’s looking to get their pet celebrity famous.

It’s very easy to see why the cute economy’s doing so well nowadays: it’s entirely based upon people liking animals, and that’s honestly so easy to market. The Doge meme lasted for over half a decade, and still has some form of relevancy owing to the popular crypto namesake, DogeCoin. All users have to do is find a cute animal (or maybe even a snake, since I feel like they’re getting a lot of attention nowadays), put some clothes on them and bam! Sign up for AdSense ASAP, since there’s a real chance your pet can earn some of those big bucks. Of course, however, enjoying a nice thing while also ruining it a little just so we can have more of it is a classic move on our part. Accordingly, the cute economy has led to some serious discussion regarding animal abuse and safety developing.

When such an accessible avenue for earning money opens up, someone always gets greedy. More worryingly, said someone also ends up being completely inconsiderate. We often forget that animals are living, breathing creatures, and while they may not enjoy the complete autonomy that humans do, we cannot mistreat them in kind. Animals can’t just be bought on a whim; they all require love, care, attention, have feelings and can be hurt or even permanently damaged. The cute economy may be giving us our daily dose of aww, but it also comes at the cost of animals being intentionally or unintentionally mistreated in the process.

H/T: TC.

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