Johnny Cupcakes operates stores that sell cupcake-themed merchandise—shirts and stickers bearing a skull-and-crossbones logo with a cupcake instead of a skull—but not cupcakes. Johnny Cupcakes sells the idea of cupcakes, a symbol of an uncomplicated, untouchable childhood pleasure, safe from the stresses of adult life, writes Jennie Yabroff.
“Cupcakism” extends to blogs that feature art inspired by the pastry, which have also found their way into the high-art world courtesy of Takashi Murakami. To recession-strapped Americans, cupcakism may be an attempt to recapture some of the rich frivolity that marked the early '00s. Yet “there's something pathetic about creating a world view around a child's treat,” writes Yabroff for Newsweek. “Let's look beyond the hype, and return cupcakes to their appropriate status—as a snack food, not a lifestyle choice.”