Now, excuse me while I bake my blueberry pie and listen to Hozier.
(@florence_wisdom / Instagram)
You ever want to just throw your phone against the wall? Just abandon all notions of capitalism and modern society, move to a cottage in the woods and frolic through some daisies?
T’is the season for cottagecore — an aesthetic that romanticizes rural life where slack notifications and Trump tweets do not exist. Its core essence is plant moms living in cottages in the forest, baking fresh bread and listening to Hozier on repeat.
The world’s kind of shithole right now. I mean we’re in a historic pandemic, kids are in cages, Black people are being murdered and the Artic is literally on fire. So, a lot of people are dipping into the cottagecore aesthetic as a form of escapism.
It’s the same kind of notion as Alice falling down the rabbit hole into Wonderland and Christopher Robin joining his animal friends for a tea party. Gen Z’ers aren’t looking to escape into an oversized mansion (how capitalistic); We’re looking for a quaint cottage in the woods and gardens of fresh fruits and vegetables.
While the aesthetic originally took form on Tumblr in 2017, TikTok has fully embraced the aesthetic to the point where it’s currently the top trending hashtag on the app with 1.1 billion views.
Scroll through the tag and you’ll find soft girls sporting vintage aprons and bandanas tied through her hair. Her cheeks are probably colored a soft rouge by an aggressive amount of blush and quirky earrings probably dangle from her ears. She might snack on fresh strawberries and sip lavender lemonade.
Sustainability and eco-friendly living are at its foundations (and if you don’t understand that, you’re not invited to the picnic. No exceptions.)
And the aesthetic has also become very, well, gay. Lesbians on TikTok have embraced the trend, dreaming of fantasy realities where they can run into the woods with their girlfriends unbothered by the patriarchal society.
Outside of TikTok, cis men are also starting to ride the cottagecore wave, too. Many are soft boys who play the ukulele and probably have curls spilling onto their forehead. Think Harry Styles in knitted sweaters. (I don’t know about you but just the thought makes my heart go !!!)
For the grandfather version of cottagecore, see David Beckham in wooly cardigans reportedly “leading the way as men flock to ‘cottagecore’ look.”
But also, do white people romanticizing foraging for plants smell fishy to you? Yeah, some people feel some kind of way, too.
Just like virtually anything on the internet these days, cottagecore has its caveats. Some are uncomfortable by how it may romanticize colonialism and trivialize Indigenous culture. It’s completely reasonable to fear this trend becoming white-washed. (So don’t leave my beautiful POC friends out of this trend! And recognize your privileges while you’re at it! )
After all, the bare foundations of the cottagecore aesthetic are what many in previous generations might call poverty. Gardening’s cute until your legs are covered in ant bites and your skin’s burnt.
For a generation surmounted in student debt, climate crises and national divide however, it’s not exactly surprising to want to fall into a fantasy world like the ones we grew up reading.
After all, we’ve spent the last few months in a quarantine surrounded by the same grimy walls 24/7. It’s pretty natural to want to shake things up and to escape into a world with fairies and sparkle emojis. Romanticism has become escapism.
Only, what happens when our doors open and the mammoth of society is there to greet us?
Lauren Rousseau is the Online Editor at Rowdy Magazine. She loves watching drug-store versions of The Bachelor and baking cookies at innapropriate hours. Find her on Instagram at @laurenxrousseau and email her pitches at firstname.lastname@example.org