I Rejected Cottagecore Before You Even Heard of It

In case you’re not picking up that this is self-deprecating humor, this is my version of that popular meme where a bespectacled hipster claims that he or she (or ze) was into some obscure thing long before it became a trend.

I’m not really this big of a jerk in real life. Quite.

But I am half-serious.

Eustacia made a lovely post recently, and it was there that I (for the first time actually) heard the term #cottagecore. Here is a BBC article about it. Since the article is by a major news organization, we can assume that it is late to the trend and gets a few things wrong. Still, this will be my source.

Basically (per the article) “cottagecore” is a visual aesthetic that became popular during the pandemic. It involves pictures of cottages, mushrooms, billowy dresses, rustic picnics, maybe gingham, maybe a gnome here or a fairy there. “It is the equal and opposite reaction to the contamination, helplessness and incoherence of our contemporary mise en scène,” says someone in the article. In other words, it’s sort of the exact opposite of a gritty urban fantasy.

As a lifestyle, cottagecore seems to involve things like gardening, sewing, crafting. Practicing self-sufficiency.

Correction: pretending to practice self-sufficiency.

I love the aesthetic. I do. I also love the idea of living self-sufficient. But it’s not really possible to do that in any thorough way, and if you do, you will be working so hard, and suffering so many privations, that your life will not look like a billowy, gingham-clad escapist fantasy. Hence, I can’t help feeling that anyone who takes this cottagecore thing as more than an interior decorating theme — anyone who tries to pretend it is somehow their lifestyle — is actually a poser. Let’s not fool ourselves, friends. I like mushrooms and sparkles as much as the next person, but they are not going to save us in the apocalypse.

I said as much here. Technically, this post was published before the pandemic started, so before cottagecore became a really big thing on Instagram. However, the article notes that cottagecore (as well as “faeriecore,” “farmcore,” and “grandmacore”) have been around since 2018. So I can’t really pull the hipster I-was-into-it-before-you-were move. Not to mention the Amish. And, you know, real subsistence farmers. They beat me to it a long time ago.

23 thoughts on “I Rejected Cottagecore Before You Even Heard of It

  1. ahester1

    It’s the first time I hear that term! You’re so right in making the clarification that it’s all pretend for cutesy pictures on Instagram, because real self-sufficiency is a hard non-instagramable life. Although I’m guilty of liking some of the activities, like crochet, knitting, gardening, keeping chickens (and Z got into mushrooms this year!), I do them because I like to and without deceiving myself or anyone into believing I live this self-sufficient life.
    Just thinking about it, even the pretend life would be exhausting. I’ve seen people post amazing pictures of all the homemade (absolutely from scratch) foods they prepared, in a spotless, perfectly decorated house while they were doing pandemic-school-at-home with three kids and managing their home business. I wonder what was the cost of those pictures, because I’m just exhausted thinking of the amount of work it required.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sounds like we are on the same page. 😉

      You are more craft-y and self-sufficient than many. I’ll bet you could put together a pretty decent fake self-sufficient Instagram account if called upon to do so.

      As for me, if I work really hard at it, I can keep my house …. not smelling too bad … and mostly mouse-free. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hurray for sarcasm.

    My brother, who is an electrician and hence in peoples houses all the time, overhears people talking about how they are “homeschooling” their kids. He vents to me so he doesn’t kill them. They have NO concept of what real homeschooling is and it drives him bonkers 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So, I had to look up dark academia before I answered, and I love it too!!! Even though it is so different from cottagecore!

      Answer: maybe, sort of? They are different in that cottagecore is meant to be wholesome, back to nature, whimsical, and escapist, whereas dark academia has more of the “I’m a serious person” vibe going on and possibly almost some feminist strivings. Also, cottagecore has sort of a peasant feel to it, and dark academia, since its setting is usually as far I can tell a prestigious girls’ boarding school in an ominous old building, brings us into a world that is aristocratic or at least wealthy.

      On the other hand, both aesthetics give kind of an old-world feel. They are alike in that way.

      My thought was more that cottagecore was “the opposite” of a gritty, nihilistic urban fantasy where you never see a tree for the entire book or game or picture. (That is how I imagine urban fantasy playing out. I don’t know much about it.)


  3. Em @ The Geeky Jock

    Ha ha, it seems like a permutation of “shabby chic” … but, instead of French-inspired decor (you can’t see it, but I’m using air quotes right now), it’s English-inspired.

    I get it … I like the quiet, cozy vibes. I like the idea of being a bit more back-to-nature and less-consumerist. Buttttttt … the moment I see videos of people going out and collecting moss for fun and decor ……….

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Personally I really like the cottagecore aesthetic, but I think that taking the lifestyle literally is too much. Anyone can appreciate the aesthetic, and incorporate some of it into their lives, such as spending more time knitting. However it shouldn’t be taken to the point where people really think that kind of life is “best”, it becomes a problem.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: A Very Exclusive Collection – Out of Babel

  6. I love the aesthetic too. I also love the recipes. And the puffy dresses. But it’s nearly impossible to make it a complete lifestyle… unless you’re live on the snowtop mountains and are kinda sorta rich…but whatever, I was into it before it became a label 😉

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s