Teenagers or shojo can be defined as a young girl between ten to seventeen years old. It describes the transitional stage where girls undergo puberty and mature, thus entering another phase of life.
Young women can be loosely defined as females older than eighteen years old. The main important difference is that young women had already gone through the transitional period of growing up.
In modern Japanese society, majority of the youths, especially young girls partake in the Kawaii culture. Young girls are attracted to the cute merchandise, cute food and even cute handwriting. In addition, there is also a tendency for these young girls to act childish and cute. Many critics might feel that young people are going against traditional Japanese culture by reinventing the Japanese characters, however, I beg to differ. This is because I feel that as youngsters, most of them would like to have a sense of belonging, a sense of identity. By creating their own cute handwriting, they are merely distinguishing themselves from the general population of Japan. Young people are basically finding a niche for themselves in the hectic Japanese society.
An interesting point to note is that it is not only the young girls that take part in the Kawaii culture. Some young women also partake in it. Instead of behaving maturely, some female university students might exhibit childish behaviours such as babbling nonsensically, as a result of the Kawaii culture. Some young women might also act vulnerable and inexperienced in front of their male counterparts, which some males might find attractive. Although young women are supposedly marginalized from the society in terms of responsibilities and obligations to the working society in contrast to their male counterparts, these young women are possibly more oppressed than their male counterparts upon marriage. This could be because these married women would need to conform to societal expectations of being good wives and mothers. There would be a need for them to conform to traditional Japanese values. Thus, in these aspects, it can be seen why young women partake in Kawaii culture despite their age.
Although there are different reasons as to why shojo and young women partake in Kawaii culture. I suppose that the main reason for this phenomenon would be that these females are interested in the cute goods with cute appearances and emotional qualities. Thus, adding life to these goods. Although I would feel that it is relatively harmless that females are part of the Kawaii culture, I would hope that this would not lead to the eroding of the Japanese traditional values and that females do know when it would be appropriate to act cute and when to act mature.