I know what you’re asking. What the heck is “cottagecore”? In the language of the kids, this hashtag sprung up on TikTok and other social media platforms to describe nostalgia for feminine arts including baking, wearing romantic gowns, gardening, sewing, knitting, quilting, and basically everything your grandmother did over her lifetime. In conservative circles, this is called “trad wives” or “trad fem” or just “every day of our lives.” Traditional femininity has been practiced for generations by conservative (and especially religious) women. But “cottagecore” is here to put an end to that.
As usual, the left is busy redefining everything to suit their purposes, including appropriating conservative women’s’ lifestyles and pretending they invented it. Wikipedia describes it like this.
Cottagecore has become a subculture of the queer and particularly the lesbian community, stemming from the drive for escape from a heteronormative society. Cottagecore videos of lesbians performing tasks like baking bread, embroidering, and thrifting to calming music have gone viral on social media app TikTok. Some cottagecore aficionados report wishing to reclaim non-sexual ideas and images of intimacy and togetherness – as one Reddit user explains, “cottagecore sees love as a connection between two souls.”
Others see cottagecore as a way to disentangle and reclaim traditional rural pleasures and surroundings from the homophobia and transphobia they experienced growing up in small towns. One cottagecore fan told i-D magazine, “Even now when I go back [to my hometown] I can’t help but feel watched and judged all the time for how I look or dress. It especially makes me feel like the things I loved in childhood, like having farm animals and picking blackberries in the fields and getting lost in the woods, are cis– and hetero-coded. So for me, cottagecore is an ideal where I can be visibly queer in rural spaces.”
If you’re not quite following that, here’s a recap: baking bread, embroidering, thrifting, and enjoying nice music is “heteronormative” and so was rejected by the LGBTQWTF crowd until they realized they could have it all back on TikTok or something. I had no idea that picking blackberries or having farm animals was something only hetero people could do. You learn something every day.
Cottagecore came to my attention when I was driving around in my rural town listening to NPR, something I still highly recommend because they’re so darn funny when they pretend they’re not completely biased. Whatever show it was had a guest from Vox, Rebecca Jennings, who had blogged about the “cottagecore” aesthetic and was waxing poetic about the “bucolic” proliferation of baby goats and teacups for the queer community on social media.
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“Cottagecore” is just one of dozens of iterations of movements fetishizing the countryside and coziness over the past few hundred years, and yet the glaringly obvious irony is that it is the first that has existed almost exclusively online, posted and participated in through a smartphone from cluttered apartments or suburban bedrooms.
I don’t know if I’d call it irony as much as I’d call it LARPing (Live Action Role Play). Country living is great, but you have to actually go there to know that. Playing country in a congested and loud city for your fans on Instagram isn’t the same thing.
The interview caught my attention because this was a theme I enjoy: living in the country, raising farm animals, growing my own food, baking bread, crocheting, sewing, foraging for herbs, making concoctions in my kitchen, growing flowers and arranging gorgeous bouquets are all things I do every day. But the confusing part was that Jennings had somehow tied these interests to leftist politics.
Excuse me? Since when do lefty feminists fetishize traditional femininity? This is new. For the last decade or so, feminists have been encouraging women to be as ugly, lazy, and fat as possible, and to have no skills that would be helpful in the kitchen. Feminism has all been focused on getting more women to give up life at home to go to college and get jobs in cubicles. I guess they finally figured out that that lifestyle sucks.
And while I welcome any woman to reconnect with her feminine roots, I don’t like being told that I’m not welcome in the culture I helped preserve. There would be nothing to look back on with a softly lit filter without women like my mother, my sisters, my grandmothers, and me paving the way and keeping the feminine arts alive. And none of us are “progressives.”
What separates cottagecore from other nostalgia-based subcultures, too, is that despite its reverence for stories about and images of heterosexual white people, it’s become nearly synonymous with queer people and progressive politics. There are mini signifiers; “cottagecore lesbian” is now a popular identifier online, while goblincore is a favorite among nonbinary people (frogs are also, canonically, lesbians). A significant portion of cottagecore accounts on Instagram, Tumblr, and TikTok also include bios with “Black Lives Matter” or other social justice causes.
“Unlike reactionary movements like ‘trad wives’ — essentially right-wing mommy bloggers who advocate a return to regressive gender roles — cottagecore offers a vision of domestic bliss without servitude in the traditional binary framework,” writes Isabel Slone in the New York Times. “Cottagecore offers a vision of the world where men are not consciously excluded; they are simply an afterthought.” As one might imagine, very few men show up in searches for cottagecore hashtags.
I’ve researched the “cottagecore” hashtag. It’s whiter than a Jane Austen novel. The fact that these women (who are almost exclusively white) have to defend posting photos of stuff they like because it’s just too white is classic snake-eats-tail hilarity. But you won’t believe what they do to erase the original sin of “stuff white people like.” The NPR interviewer asked Jennings directly about all this sickening white nostalgia harkening back to a time that “wasn’t great for everyone.” Her answer almost sent me off the road in convulsive fits of laughter. I’m paraphrasing because I wasn’t taking notes while driving, but it went something like this: “Many of the cottagecore community will embroider BLM onto their quilts or projects and have BLM in their profiles,” she said.
I know you’ve all been wondering what it would take to earn a “get out of white privilege free” card and it appears we have the answer. White people can have their culture as long as they slap an artistically rendered BLM somewhere in their posts. The interviewer actually let Jennings get away with that terrible answer and did not press her for anything more substantial.
Holding Jennings to her own “progressive” philosophy, fetishizing every Anglophiliac’s dream of life, and how it should be, could only be considered a hate crime according to the woke brigade. They’re not allowed to love beautiful white women in fancy dresses baking pies in their bare feet. That’s explicitly “white supremacy” according to the insane maniacs calling the shots these days. I’m used to being called a “white supremacist” for enjoying caring for my family and being a housewife. I’ve had to put up with this kind of namecalling for most of the last twenty years. Why do they get a pass? They’re holding up white culture as superior and idyllic, are they not? White farm girls running around in fields of poppies with chickens and goats and freshly baked goods is their idea of hell, not heaven!
But apparently, if you’re a lesbian, then all the problematic white stuff just goes away. In order to avoid being called a “reactionary mommy blogger,” you just have to be gay. Isn’t it interesting that gay people can appropriate whatever culture they want and get away with it?
I object to this LARP of my lifestyle and culture. I came by it honestly. I actually moved to a rural farming town in order to build my American dream that looks exactly like what these posers are trying to recreate in their dirty cities. I have skills that I learned at the feet of my mother as we sweated in a hot kitchen during canning season. I have a box of handed-down recipes that I’ve practiced to perfection over and over again. I have sewn clothes for my children out of sheets and pillowcases, I can make a butter crust without a recipe, and I take meticulous care of my dozen chickens so we can have fresh food every day (a chore that is NOT easy and requires serious physical labor). Sorry, ladies, but the real thing exists out here in real America. I would have more respect for you if you moved out of the cities and actually made a go of it in the forest. It’s rough out here. There are predators. You have to shoot things to protect your flock. It’s wild and wonderful and scary and peaceful all at the same time. I highly doubt bloggers at Vox could handle it for more than a week without a glamping tent and a barista who delivers.
Cottagecore is markedly less dreamy when you consider the realities of a life alone in the woods. “The thing about the English countryside is so many people are desperate to leave it but also so many people are being priced out of it, because people are buying second homes there,” explains Quinn, the director of the Chichester fairy tale center. Indeed, cottagecore ignores the fact that rural areas have always been unattainable for some and inescapable for others. “Taylor Swift is wearing a chunky knit on the cover of her album, but that’s Irish, and most people can’t wait to get off the island,” he adds. “These rural settings, you want to go to them, but then you want to leave.”
Here is the truth of it finally admitted. None of these women can hack the real country life–they would immediately want to leave and run away to the comforts of a high-rise and all-night delivery. And thank God for that!
Not all leftist women are phonies (unless they work at Vox) and the smart ones aren’t silly enough to put it on social media, as if they hung the moon because they can bake a pie. One of my beloved aunts is a lifelong Democrat and she taught me how to quilt. She’s a wonder. And passing on the traditional feminine arts is one of those things that all women should be able to bond over–and not exclude one another over political divisions. So much for women supporting women! What a bunch of hypocrites. Here, finally, was something we could agree on and now they go out of their way to insult and exclude us, yet again.
I decided that I would create my own sub-genre of #cottagecore that I call #MAGAcore, if only to just annoy them. I think I nailed it. Welcome to my real life. My husband and I built this and no amount of progressive Looney-Tunes LARPers can take it away.