The cupcake chain Crumbs closed abruptly on Monday. Not many are mourning its passage. In fact, there is a distinct edge of glee in response to the close. “Thank jebus, cupcakes are stupid,” a delighted BuzzFeed commenter crows. Gawker celebrates the demise of the cupcake, calling the dessert trend “a ridiculous testament to the power of marketing.”
The cupcake backlash has been going on for years. In 2013, the The Wire called cupcakes “prissy” and a “widely, vocally despised food.” Going further, a psychotherapist told the Washington Post in 2012 that cupcake lovers are narcissistic. “The popularity of cupcakes directly tracks the rise in cultural narcissism that has resulted from the Internet’s impact on our individual and cultural psyche,” Dr. Paul Hokemeyer said. A Jezebel writer simply wrote: “f*** cupcakes.”
That’s an extraordinary amount of vitriol for a pile of flour and sugar! What’s going on seems to be about more than just the confection, which, like any other, some people enjoy eating and others do not.
My theory: It’s about a dismissal and dislike of a certain kind of woman. (Hooooooold on, hear me out.) The kind of woman who watches Sex and the City (an important driver of the cupcake trend) and takes the bus tour to Magnolia Bakery. The kind of woman who gets excited about J. Crew catalogs and Instagrams her “glittery cupcake nail art.”
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Who knew cupcakes could be so controversial?