The Rise of Cottagecore

Kaiden Bosses

During the mass quarantine in 2020 people online started to gravitate to the Cottagecore Aesthetic. The Guardian describes cottagecore as a “visual and lifestyle movement designed to fetishize the wholesome purity of the outdoors… Gardening, interacting with farm animals, and dancing with a loved one under the moonlight. These classic cottagecore themes eschew digital connectedness in favor of connectedness to nature.” 

But cottagecore is not a new concept, in fact, Marie Antoinette used to do something similar. In 1783 the Queen decided to extend part of the Trianon gardens to build a model village around a lake. When the court got to be too much, she would escape to her village to “play peasant with her ladies.” 

Today’s cottagecore has not changed very much since 1783, people wanting to get away from the hustle and bustle of the big cities and wanting to return to a simple life, even more so LGBTQ people. Cottagecore has become a subculture of LGBTQ particularly for lesbians and bisexual women. So why are so many young queer kids so entranced by this aesthetic? Well for some it can be a return to their home. “Unfortunately, my hometown (Arkansas), like many rural areas, is very anti-LGBTQ+,” says Reid to author Sarah Woolley. “Even now when I go back I can’t help but feel watched and judged all the time for how I look or dress.” It can also be an escape from the over-sexualization of lesbians and queer women in media and cottagecore, in contrast, views love as a “connection between souls”.

 There also seems to be a semi-political side to cottagecore. Quite a few of the people who embrace the cottagecore lifestyle are people who lean left and want to reject things like heteronormativity and unfettered capitalism, but others want to return to traditionalism AKA Trads. Trads or, also referred to as, Tradwifes are, as Shannon McNamara puts it “…21st century woman who embraces traditional and conventional gender roles, which include: “submitting” to her husband, not having a full time job, and staying at home to be a homemaker and raise children.” Now at first glance that does not seem too bad, but often the people practicing the trad life are trying to push it onto others, and most of the time these people are men. 

Cottagecore, as an aesthetic, is very wholesome. It is baking bread in a cottage with your partner. It is running through a field wearing a vintage wedding dress. It is foraging in the forest. People within this aesthetic just want to emulate simpler times. They want to forget the stress of the world for a moment and just be at peace with nature and her beauty. Whether that be by building an entire village, returning to traditional gender roles, or running away into the forest with their lesbian lover, cottagecore will always be there for people’s escapism dreams.

Photo Credit to @thefoxandtheivy on Instagram. Photos used with permission