What’s Wrong with Cottagecore? Debunking the Idealistic Trend

Cottagecore is an alluring and romantic aesthetic that has taken over social media in recent times. While it has received substantial praise for its cozy and peaceful vibe, it’s not free of criticisms. The problem with cottagecore is that it has been accused of being Eurocentric and heteronormative, which is not inclusive of everyone in the community. It has been noted that the community doesn’t promote people of color, queer and disabled artists with the same level of enthusiasm as it does for the former. Below are some of the issues with the cottagecore aesthetic:
  • It focuses on a Eurocentric ideal of the countryside, neglecting other cultures’ rural aesthetics.
  • The ideals of femininity, domesticity, and simplicity are quite limiting to the inclusive community.
  • Some feel that the aesthetic overlooks the historical realities of rural life for women and marginalized communities, painting an overly simplistic and idyllic picture of living in the countryside.
  • The notion of homesteading, appreciated within the cottagecore community, has its roots in American colonialism, which is uncomfortable for some individuals.
  • The representation of queer individuals and people of color within the aesthetic is limited.
  • The cottagecore community should aim to become more inclusive, making sure they celebrate diversity and all its facets. As much as the aesthetic is about a fantasy of rural escapism, the community should reflect the reality of life for everyone, regardless of race, gender, or ability. Inclusivity means supporting and promoting artists and creators from all backgrounds and walks of life. In summary, it is essential to recognize that while cottagecore is charming, it’s critical for the community to address the problematic associations and embrace a more diverse, inclusive community.

    The controversy surrounding cottagecore

    Cottagecore has taken the internet by storm, attracting thousands of followers who are captivated by the aesthetic of rural living, fresh produce, and artisanal crafts. However, this trend has also come under scrutiny because of its alleged exclusiveness and lack of diversity. Critics argue that the cottagecore aesthetic promotes a particular ideal of rural living that is inherently white, heteronormative, and ableist.
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    The controversy surrounding cottagecore is not new, and it is not limited to this trend alone. Several other aesthetic movements, from bohemianism to minimalism, have been criticized for similar reasons. However, the cottagecore community is now facing increasing pressure to address these concerns and to promote a more inclusive and diverse ideology.

    An exclusive aesthetic: Eurocentrism in cottagecore

    Cottagecore is often associated with the aesthetic of the English countryside, with its idyllic cottages, lush gardens, and quaint farming traditions. However, this idealized vision of rural living is not necessarily representative of all cultures and geographies. By promoting an ideal that is heavily influenced by European traditions, cottagecore may reinforce Eurocentric values and marginalize other perspectives. Some of the ways in which Eurocentrism manifests in cottagecore include:
    • A fixation on certain European countries, such as England, France, and Italy, while ignoring cultural diversity within those regions.
    • The romanticization of rural lifestyles in Europe while ignoring the struggles of migrant farmworkers and other marginalized groups who work in agriculture.
    • The appropriation of non-European styles and traditions, such as the use of Native American motifs.
    It is essential to remember that the cottagecore aesthetic is not inherently Eurocentric. However, the way it is currently portrayed in social media and popular culture may perpetuate harmful stereotypes and ideas.

    Heteronormativity in the cottagecore community

    Another criticism of cottagecore is that it reinforces heteronormative values and excludes queer identities. Many of the images and narratives associated with the trend reinforce traditional gender roles and present a limited view of what constitutes a “happy” family. For example, a cottagecore home is often portrayed as a place where a heterosexual couple and their children live a peaceful and wholesome life, with the woman as the primary caregiver and the man as the provider.
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    Some of the ways in which heteronormativity manifests in cottagecore include:
    • A focus on traditional gender roles, such as women as homemakers and men as outdoorsmen and breadwinners.
    • An absence of queer couples or non-traditional family structures in cottagecore images and narratives.
    • The use of language that reinforces heteronormative ideals, such as “husband” and “wife” rather than “partner” or “spouse.”
    It is crucial to recognize that the cottagecore community is not inherently exclusionary. However, by promoting a narrow view of what constitutes a “normal” family, cottagecore may alienate queer and gender-nonconforming people and reinforce harmful stereotypes.

    Lack of representation: The absence of POC, queer, and disabled artists in cottagecore

    One of the most significant criticisms of cottagecore is that it lacks diversity and fails to promote artists from underrepresented communities. Many people have pointed out that cottagecore imagery and narratives typically feature white, able-bodied people, which perpetuates the erasure of marginalized identities. The cottagecore community has been accused of promoting a “whitewashed” ideal of rural living that ignores the experiences of people of color, queer people, and disabled people. Some of the ways in which cottagecore lacks representation include:
    • A lack of POC, queer, and disabled artists, influencers, and creators in cottagecore media and channels.
    • An over-reliance on traditional gender roles and the exclusion of non-traditional family structures.
    • An insistence on “natural” beauty standards that often exclude people who do not conform to Western ideals.
    The cottagecore community has a responsibility to promote diversity and inclusion and to give a platform to artists from diverse backgrounds.

    The rise of the homesteading concept in cottagecore

    Homesteading is an essential aspect of the cottagecore aesthetic, and it has attracted many people who are interested in living a more sustainable lifestyle. Homesteading involves growing one’s food, raising animals, and living off the land, which is seen as a way to reconnect with nature and reduce our carbon footprint. However, like many other aspects of cottagecore, homesteading is not without its controversies.
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    Some of the criticisms of homesteading within the cottagecore community include:
    • An oversimplification of the realities of rural living, leading to romanticization and a lack of preparation for the challenges of living off the land.
    • An over-reliance on traditional gender roles, with women doing the majority of the farming and homemaking labor.
    • The promotion of a homesteading ideal that is not accessible to everyone, either because of financial constraints or physical limitations.
    Homesteading is not without its challenges, and it is important to recognize the realities of rural living and to promote a more inclusive approach to sustainable living.

    The romanticization of the 19th century in cottagecore

    Finally, the cottagecore community is often associated with a romanticized vision of the 19th century, with its Victorian dresses, heirloom vegetables, and handcrafted goods. While this nostalgia is understandable, it is essential to recognize that the 19th century was not a utopia, and many people suffered under the harsh realities of life during that time. By focusing exclusively on the aesthetics of this era, cottagecore may erase the struggles and experiences of marginalized groups who lived during that time. Some of the ways in which the 19th century is romanticized in cottagecore include:
    • The use of Victorian aesthetics and clothing, which can be seen as a form of cultural appropriation.
    • The promotion of a DIY culture that can exclude people who do not have access to the resources or educational opportunities needed to learn new skills.
    • An over-glorification of the past that ignores the progress and achievements made by marginalized communities in the present day.
    While it is understandable to appreciate the aesthetics and traditions of the past, it is important to recognize the limitations and injustices of that time and to promote a more inclusive vision of rural living that embraces modernity and diversity.

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