Something interesting happened in 2020 when we experienced the lockdown. People started to find new hobbies, interests, and forms of escapism. And from there grew one of the most dominant of trends, cottagecore.
Cottagecore is an aesthetic centered around the idea of soft, countryside, woody, living. Related activities may include crotcheting, baking, flower pressing, berry picking. Think Winnie the Pooh's Hundred Acre Wood, or "Little Women."
The rise of this modern rural fantasy has seemingly been the comfort and chosen form of escapism for many. The trend has been able to resonate with a diverse audience. Here's how cottagecore has been embraced by Black folk, gay people, and plus-sized women.
While it's a trend that started a few years ago, it garnered much traction last year, during the coronavirus and because of influences like "Little Women" and Taylor Swift's album, Folklore.
When looking at cottagecore as a means to imagine a world of your own, one starts to have a deeper understanding as to white resonate so deeply with some marginalized people.
Not to be mistaken for a rejection of reality, but it can become a place of solace where one is free from homophobia, fatphobia, racism, and patriarchal standards.
It may be surprising to find the vast interest in cottagecore from Black folk. It's influences like "Pride and Prejudice" do primarily seem cis, white. However, for black people who participate in cottagecore culture, it goes beyond the trend.
In a way, it's a refusal to being erased. A lot of history based content and period dramas tends to overlook Black people or potray in stereotypical ways. Cottagecore opens the space to break stereotypes.
“The reason I wanted a vision board with Black women living the cottagecore aesthetic is that there’s almost a message in seeing images of people who don’t look like you enjoying the life you want and that message is: You don’t belong here.”
Plus-sized people are also embracing cottagecore as a form of escapism. It can be a place for one to feel accepted and beautiful despite society's standard.
"Fatphobia is so pervasive that writers only see fat people the way society writes us: lazy, bad, greedy etc," she explains. "I think that for us to be more visible in fantasy, that (completely false) narrative of fatness needs to be broken down."
The message of this trend is clear; cottagecore it is not only for the white, cis women, but it's for anyone to claim and find a safe space in.
Because the approach cottagecore is essentially a form of delicate escapism to which someone can add their own meaning, it opens up the realm of possibilities to let one's imagination run freely.
Equally, it can be a place to express your imagination and imagine a place where it's okay to be you because of the lack of expectation of perfection.