I’ve had a thought. The other day, when I was about to go to bed, I noticed a small grey moth darting around my bedroom. My immediate reaction was one of shock and irritation at the creature polluting my space.
It bothered me that I would soon go to bed and the thing might decide to land on me in my sleep, or buzz around my phone screen while I was watching videos. Then the creature landed on the wall and I had a confusing realization. It was cute… or at least it should have been. The moth was small, fuzzy, it had big eyes and what looked like toothbrushes growing out of it’s forehead.
Such a combination of natural features would normally make something adorable. We, as humans, like small fuzzy things. So, why, after realizing this, did I still find it off putting? It was a real mystery to me. Even less cute looking moths generally look like they’re made of folded paper or colourful feathers, which should at least be considered beautiful.
After careful consideration, here is my conclusion as to why moth’s are not cute. 1. They are crumbly. The scales on moths are delicate and can fall off or get dislodged giving them a crumbly appearance. I think this gives us the feeling that the creature is decaying which makes us feel that it is unclean. 2. They dart. Moth’s have very binary movement, meaning they are either completely motionless, or buzzing around your face.
My conclusion is that moths scare people because they represent a high probability of being startled. At any moment, the motionless creature can dive off its perch and start flying. Once in the air, their flight path is very unpredictable because they aren’t very good at flying. They will fumble and bounce off things like the light, your computer monitor, your head, etc. This makes them shocking, even if they are far less repulsive than a spider or centipede.
After all, if a rabbit could fly, would it still be cute? Yes it would, it would be a fruit bat and they are adorable. But you don’t want them hiding in your closet or doing laps around your desk light.
Remember to like and follow. Next up: why mantises are cute and why butterflies are awful.