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Cottagecore: Concept Evolution or Revolution?

While cottagecore may seem more of a TitkTok trend, its essence stretches back decades through literature, art, and societal movements. From the romanticized landscapes of pastoral poetry to prairies depicted in old paintings, the ideals of cottagecore have long captured the human imagination.

It’s undeniable that platforms like Tumblr, Instagram, and TikTok, have pioneered the most recent take on the lifestyle that celebrates nature, simplicity, and community. In this article, we’ll explore the concept from its historical roots, its resurgence in contemporary culture, and how the queer scene is reshaping its narrative.

Cottagecore: The Evolution of a Revolution

While the term “cottagecore” may not have been coined until more recently, the aesthetic and lifestyle it represents have roots that stretch back decades.

Early Cottagecore Aesthetics

Forget baby boomers, the origins of this concept go way back to pastoral literature and art from centuries ago. Romantic poets and painters idealized rural life, depicting serene landscapes, humble cottages, and the harmony between humans and nature. Works like William Wordsworth‘s poetry and the paintings of the Hudson River School capture the essence of early aesthetics.

Icons like the Carpenters and Donovan represented this dreamy, prairie-inspired style, tinting their sound with innocence and whimsy.

Cottagecore Between Wars

Between World War I and II there was a new wave of interest in rural life and craftsmanship as a reaction to the rapid industrialization and urbanization of the early 20th century. The Arts and Crafts movement emphasized handmade goods and simple living, while the Great Depression prompted a return to self-sufficiency and community reliance.

Nostalgic Cottagecore

In the post-World War II era, there was a nostalgic longing for the pastoral ideal amidst the rise of consumer culture and suburbanization. This was reflected in literature, films, and music of the time, with works like The Andy Griffith Show (1960) portraying small-town life as idyllic and wholesome.

Back to Cottagecore Values

The back-to-the-land movement of the 1970s echoed cottagecore values, with many individuals seeking to live off the grid, grow their food, and embrace a simpler lifestyle. This era also saw the rise of environmentalism -sorry Greta-, and a growing interest in sustainable living, which aligns with contemporary ideals.

In music, cottagecore saw a spot in the soft rock scene, with bands like Fleetwood Mac playing a pivotal role in shaping the genre’s sound in the 70s. Throughout the 1980s, the revival of baroque pop within post-punk circles helped introduce this genre to artists like Shelleyan Orphan and Virginia Astley contributing to its ethereal allure.

Even as the decades progressed and musical trends evolved this concept persisted, subtly influencing dream pop and indie rock movements of the late 1980s and early 1990s.

1990s – 2000s

While the 1990s and early 2000s were characterized by rapid technological advancement and globalization, there was still a romanticization of rural life evident in popular culture. Films like The Secret Garden (1993) and Anne of Green Gables (1985) continued to captivate audiences with their depictions of bucolic settings and close connections to nature.

2010s – Present

Enter social media and platforms like Tumblr, Instagram, and TikTok which helped cottagecore flourish as a subculture. In the late 2010s and then well into the 2020s, it gained traction among younger generations seeking an escape from the pressures of modern life and a return to simplicity, nature, and community.

Throughout, it has adapted to reflect changing cultural values and societal norms while maintaining its core themes of nature, nostalgia, and craftsmanship. To this day, we can still see the same patterns among individuals seeking solace, connection, and beauty in an increasingly chaotic world.

Today this concept continues to captivate audiences, finding expression in a wide variety of musical styles, including pseudo-indie rock and pop. While these contemporary interpretations may incorporate elements of dark folk and other genres, they’re still connected to pastoral landscapes and rustic charm.

Or, are they?

Cottagacore Revolution

Through a lens of puritanical and heteronormative ideals has now become a canvas for diverse voices to challenge and subvert those very notions. Lesbians, in particular, have taken this concept to reclaim a space within the indie music scene. How? By redefining its narrative and dismantling preconceived stereotypes.

Cottagecore New Synonyms

Cottagecore, once synonymous with a quaint, nostalgic portrayal of rural life, has undergone a metamorphosis. Let’s face it, although we’ve described it using adjectives such as “simple”, “rural”, “pastoral”, and “ideal”, have you asked yourself what was considered to be “ideal”? It doesn’t matter anymore as this concept is now finding new synonyms.

Authenticity

According to LGBTQ+ individuals – especially lesbians – music spaces have neglected them forcing them to conform to societal expectations or risk ostracization. Cottagecore, with its emphasis on authenticity and connection to nature, provides a platform for genuine self-expression, transcending the limitations imposed by mainstream culture.

Empowerment

In many ways, this concept has served as a refuge where lesbians can explore their identities free from the constraints of traditional gender roles and expectations. Through music, art, and community, they can celebrate their queerness openly and unapologetically, creating an inclusive space, empowering, and authentically their own.

Nonconformity

Historically, indie music has been a bastion of alternative culture, a space where nonconformity is celebrated. Yet, even within these progressive circles, LGBTQ+ representation has often been lacking, with mainstream narratives overshadowing those of marginalized communities.

L Community

Moreover, this movement is a testament to the power of community. Lesbians within the indie music scene are building networks of support and solidarity, forging connections that transcend geographic boundaries. They’re creating spaces to amplify their thoughts and empower one another in a world they believe has silenced them.

They’re challenging the status quo, not just with their music, but with their very presence, asserting their right to exist and thrive within a scene that’s long been dominated by cisgender, heterosexual narratives.

The Future of Cottagecore

The journey of cottagecore from its historical origins to its modern-day resurgence reflects a longing for simplicity and connection to nature in this century. LGBTQ+ have found a space in this very term to express authenticity, empowerment, and nonconformity, and reshape their narrative.

As we envision the future, one thing is clear: this revolution is ongoing. Cottagecore, once a quaint portrayal of rural life, now stands as a beacon of authenticity, empowerment, and the enduring beauty of the natural world. In music, we find hope, inspiration, and a future where we all fit; like in our playlists.

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