By: Dominique (@fearlessdom) she/her
Cottagecore. Maybe you’ve heard of it, but if not, the Urban Dictionary defines it as “a niche aesthetic based around the visual culture of an idealized life on a Western farm. Common themes include sustainability, gardens, farm animals, rural living, and nature.”
I stumbled upon this aesthetic after seeing pictures of Paula from Hill House Vintage on Twitter. She mostly caught my eye because I had never seen a black woman portrayed in a delicate, beautiful way, living a delicate, beautiful life. She was trending on Twitter because a white woman who considered herself a “true” member of the cottagecore community was upset by her carefree joy and pretty lifestyle. It became evident that the only thing that bothered her was Paula’s skin color.
Paula, thankfully, received an outpouring of love from Black Twitter and only gained popularity. (Take that Karen!), but the experience piqued my interest in the cottagecore community. As a lifelong fan of Pride & Prejudice, teatime, and dresses that make me feel like a princess, Cottagecore was right up my alley.
As I got more into Cottagecore, I hit a roadblock. My Pinterest searches, my TikTok queries, and Instagram hunts all led to pictures of women who looked nothing like me. This was a frustrating, but familiar occurrence. My whole life I’ve had to watch romantic period dramas with all-white casts, shop for pretty dresses worn by stick-thin white models and save photos of picnics attended by only white women to my Pinterest account. And if I wanted to see any people of color at all, I had to specifically mention it in my search. (My Pinterest history: cute outfits for black girls, Cottagecore black women, dainty dresses black women). As you can see above, when I created the Cottagecore mood board, I was not able to find any pictures featuring black women.
Before Cottagecore was even a concept, my love for delicate, pretty things was dampened by the fact that black women were not allowed to partake in the joy. In fact, I was sometimes ridiculed for wanting to be seen as delicate, romantic, or valuable (all aspects of the Cottagecore aesthetic). It wasn’t until I became an adult that I was able to name the tight restrictions placed on black women.
We are not meant to be seen as beautiful or delicate. That role has been reserved strictly for white women.
Black women are supposed to be angry, strong, aggressive, and difficult. Throughout high school and college, I struggled to meet these standards because it just wasn’t my personality. I, like pretty much every black woman, wanted to dress up, host lavish dinners with friends, garden, and be swept off my feet. And I never understood why those things were reserved for white people only.
I have started to see a significant societal change, thanks to the Black Lives Matter Movement. Black women are definitely breaking down the stereotypical boxes we are constantly being put in and I’ve seen a growing community of black women in the Cottagecore world. I am so excited about this, but I truly think the disparity is only a symptom of a larger illness, which is racism. Until we actively attack the real illness, symptoms will continue to pop up.
I pray that one-day, black women can be seen as the complicated, intricate, beautiful human beings we are and feel comfortable to let our interests and hobbies run wild. While I am not sure I am an “official” member of the Cottagecore community, I am so excited to watch more female Black content creators discover the joy of Cottagecore. We deserve to partake in the joy of beautiful, delicate living too.
Originally posted on fearlessandfavoured.com