The idea of escaping to a tiny cottage in the middle of nowhere sounds pretty great in 2020. Millions of people are leaving urban areas in favor of buying a house in the country. During the pandemic, more and more people have embraced the old-fashioned rural way of life. Hobbies like baking, knitting, crafting, and farming have become incredibly popular nowadays. Obviously, this is because most people are staying at home instead of shopping, traveling, partying or going to bars. It’s a callback to an old-fashioned way of life, and it brings comfort to a lot of people in an otherwise uncertain world. Maybe you can relate to the phenomenon that is cottagecore.
What is Cottagecore?
Cottagecore is both an aesthetic and a subculture. It celebrates traditional rural home making, and a simple way of life. The phrase first became popular on TikTok. Young people would use “#cottage” to describe videos of themselves enjoying nature by filming and photographing flowers, mushrooms, and insects. Many more are also teaching themselves traditional skills like baking, knitting, and pottery. This growth of interest in country living eventually grew into tagging videos by the aesthetic #cottagecore. Now, the phrase “cottagecore” can be used to describe a certain aesthetic of home decor and clothing.
More often than not, people who embrace cottagecore are trying to practice a bit of escapism in their urban environment. For many people, they have a dream of living in the countryside. Imagine waking up with the sunrise to the sound of the rooster. You can eat the food straight from the garden, or forage in the forest. In this tiny cottage, you’re a self-sustaining homestead. When you’re living in the middle of nowhere, you don’t have to worry about any judgement from society. This is a magical place where you can be your true self.
For a lot of cottagecore fans, they grew up watching anime, which became a huge inspiration for this dreamy life. Studio Ghibili is famous for depicting rural life as something magical. Movies like Kiki’s Delivery Service, My Neighbor Totoro, and The Secret World of Arriety all depict a cottagecore lifestyle. Even if someone has never watched anime before, this idea of the perfect country life is a culmination of all of those fairytales we grew up watching where a beautiful woman lives in a cottage in the European countryside.
This trend is nothing new. Even Marie Antoinette loved to play with baby goats while pretending to be a milk maid when she visited her French country home. She owned a country home called Hameau de la Reine, and would host cottagecore parties for her friends. While women have been pining for this simple life for quite some time, there wasn’t really a name to encapsulate the aesthetic and ambiance of this lifestyle. That’s why “cottagecore” just works, and we’re here to embrace it.
What Are The Sub-Genres of Cottagecore?
Beyond cottagecore, there are other aesthetics called “grandmacore”, “farmcore”, “goblincore”, “faeriecore”, and “witchcore”. These aesthetics and subcultures are often intertwined. Many wiccans subscribe to the cottagecore lifestyle, especially since they are in tune with nature. Items of clothing that were once considered to be too old-fashioned for young people are now being called “grandmacore”. For example, you wouldn’t expect to find a 16-year old girl in 2020 wearing knitted sweaters while she does a cross-stitch. But she most likely finds comfort in this “grandmacore” lifestyle. Farmcore focuses on the idea of farming and creating a homestead. Goblincore celebrates the cuteness of ugly creatures like snails and frogs. Then, of course, faeries are self-explanatory.
Who Uses The Phrase “Cottagecore”?
For a lot of people, the phrase “cottagecore” may not seem necessary. After all, we’ve have publications like Country Living Magazine and Cottage Journal already glorifying this lifestyle for the past few decades. However, the young LGBTQ+ community has completely embraced this phrase, because it helps them to define their aesthetic. Since these hobbies have traditionally been associated with cisgendered straight females, members of the LGBTQ+ community want to let everyone know that they’re a “cottagecore lesbian” who just so happens to be into traditionally feminine things.
Members of the LGBTQ+ community also see cottagecore as a way to express a desire for non-sexual intimacy. Pretty much every Jane Austen novel out there depict a life that was as simple as going on picnics and inquiring after one’s health. In these stories, love can be sweet and simple process of courtship where two souls are getting to know one another. According to some fans of the genre, they also use cottagecore to help parse through their emotions of trauma they experienced in their small towns. It’s a way to experience and enjoy country life in a way that removes external threats from a cis-gendered world.
I’m Straight and Cis-Gendered. Can I Still Enjoy Cottagecore?
Yes. Even though the catchphrase was created by the LGBTQ+ community, anyone can enjoy watching cottagecore content. For the most part, people who enjoy watching these TikToks and Instagram posts are allies of the community. They are anti-homophobic and anti-transphobic, because by definition, they will encounter LGBTQ+ people creating the majority of the content online.
Watching cottagecore content has become a form of therapy and stress-relief for many people from all walks of life. Instead of worrying about all of the problems going on in the world, they can focus their mental energy on tasks like kitting or baking. Many young people are struggling with their mental health while quarantining at home. So to imagine a simple, pastoral life gives them a lot of comfort.
How Can I Get Cottagecore Decor in My Own Home?
Funny that you ask, because we’ve already gone ahead and compiled a list on how to achieve the aesthetic. Now that you know what Cottagecore is, check out our list of 10 Ways to Decorate Your Home in a Cottagecore Aesthetic