Cottagecore often conjures images of rolling fields, meadows, fresh bread, small homes, and floral dresses… in a European landscape, with European individuals and European aesthetics. For some people it’s almost impossible to separate the image of Cottagecore from whiteness. So impossible that the sight of Black people engaging in this aesthetic can be jarring for many. Especially for other Black people on the outside of this aesthetic.
In fact the word slavecore derived from Black people on the outside of the cottagecore aesthetic condemning those within for engaging in it. As a community leader in the Black cottagecore space it can be easy for me to hear things like this and simply proclaim that they are lost or ignorant and move on. However I have sympathy for members of the Black community that see cottagecore as slavecore because I know it comes from a place of trauma not ignorance.
The last few hundred years of Black history have been littered with incomprehensible horrors which have funded the wealth and prosperity of the last few hundred years of European history. In the same way that growing up neurodivergent in a neurotypical society can be inherently traumatic I need people to understand that growing up Black in white society IS inherently traumatic. It is not surprising but expectant that so many Black people would look at these eras of European prosperity and only see it as eras of Black suffering.
However I challenge Black folks to ask themselves “Why is it that you can only see our people as simply victims of their times?” While all other parts of our history outside of slavery may have been erased that doesn’t mean it didn’t exist. There were black scientists, black merchants, black explorers, black artists, black royalty that all existed during the era of black slavery. Wealth and propensity may have been monopolized by whiteness but it has never been exclusive to whiteness.
Our ancestors were not just victims of their era, they were not just numbers on a ship, they were not just cattle led to slaughter. They were people with wishes, dreams and aspirations just like you, me and your cousin sitting next to you. Some of them wanted to be kings, some of them wanted to travel the world, some of them wanted to open a shop and some just wanted to live a peaceful life in a cabin on a sprawling meadow.
By reclaiming these eras and reimagining them in a more romantic light we aim not to erase the horrors of history but to paint a more complete picture. Like Black people the cottagecore aesthetic is not monolithic. You can be cottagecore as an islander weaving baskets and climbing coconut trees. You can be cottagecore as a city person growing basil on your tiny windowsill and getting groceries from the farmers market. You can be cottagecore in a desert catching water from the sky and raising animals that trust you. Cottagecore isn’t a romanticization of a European pastoral life it is the romanticization of pastoral life.
Simply put, that means Cottagecore is for everyone. Look to your roots. Look to the beginning of your culture, no matter where you are from, you will find cottagecore.