05/17/2010 02:46 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Hello Kitty's the Latest Victim of Ageism

Back in 2002, when Kitty was pushing 30, she lost her spot as Japan's top-grossing character and, in the words of the Times story, "has never recovered." Apparently the world of cartoon characters is as ageist as Hollywood, governed by an "out with the old, in with the new" mentality:

Sanrio has tried to keep Hello Kitty up to the times: sensing a move away from Japan's love affair with the cute, or "kawaii" aesthetic, it has pushed an edgier look for the cat in the last three years, using as much black as pink.

Still, a sense of crisis is evident at the Tokyo offices of Sanrio, where 30 designers, led by Ms. Yamaguchi, are charged with developing new characters. At periodic product meetings, each designer presents as many as 20 characters for consideration by Ms. Yamaguchi.

So what's a girl over 35 like Hello Kitty to do?

Hello Kitty Tombstone: Is an over-35 Hello Kitty as good as dead?

If you Google "women over 35," the results from the first few pages seem entirely focused on either the challenges of getting pregnant, the challenges of dating, the challenges of skincare, or the challenges of getting laid. It's basically challenges-challenges all over the place or worse--the most terrifying links that come up are about how women over 35 are "invisible" or "forgotten."

In other words, what Hello Kitty needs now is a diamond peel, a hot lay that turns into an uncomplicated pregnancy, and a quick marriage proposal from her baby daddy...or she's fucked and of no further value to society whatsoever.